A Collection of Ancient Scots Music for the violin, harpsichord or German flute: Never before printed consisting of ports, salutations, marches and pibrachs & c.
(c. 1778)

by Daniel Dow

Daniel or Donald Dow[1] was born around 1732; probably in the Perthshire parish of Monzie. He died aged 51 in Edinburgh where he had lived since 1765 and was buried in the Canongate Kirkyard in January 1783.

His early training is uncertain but he had been publishing his own music since 1773 and was one of the professional musicians regularly employed by the Musical Society of Edinburgh for their concerts. Most of his publications seem to have been printed purely by subscription and none of them are dated, although this work appears to post date 1776 and exists in at least two versions. Unlike his other works which consist of Scottish dance music, this collection has a wider sweep and shows signs of coming from more than one source. It includes four pipe tunes which appear to have been written down by a musically literate piper or by someone with a very close practical knowledge of piping.

It is certainly one of the important sources of traditional Scottish music. A full background study of the collection and Dow’s sources including his probable links to Angus Cumming (died 1780), of Grantown.

Images from Daniel Dow’s Collection linked from this page have been reproduced through the courtesy of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

[1] Both forenames had become interchangeable due to the practice of Church of Scotland Ministers substituting the Biblical name in preference to the Gaelic Donald in their baptismal records.

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