The Complete Repository, Part 3
by Gow, Niel & Sons

Full title: Part third of The complete repository of original Scots slow strathspeys & dances (the dances arranged as medleys) for the harp, piano-forte, violin and violoncello &c. / humbly dedicated to the Right Honble. the Countess of Loudoun & Moira by Niel Gow & Son's.

Publisher: Edinburgh: Gow & Shepherd

Date: [1799-1813]


The Complete Repository was published in four parts by Nathaniel Gow in partnership initially (1799-1813) with William Shepherd in Edinburgh, and also sold by Nathaniel’s brother John in London after c.1805. Around this time they published a second edition of the first part, when the title was extended to advertise “the dances arranged in medley’s [sic] in their respective keys”. William Shepherd ceased trading in 1813; Gow subsequently had it engraved and printed by Walker and Anderson (1815-1816), then entered partnership with Robert Purdie at some stage until the early 1820s. He published with J M Galbraith in 1826-1828, and Alexander Robertson in the 1830s. (See SBTI and Kidson.)
The first part ran to four editions, and the subsequent parts to three, with some slight changes in titles. Notably, Part 2 was entitled Complete Repository of original Scots tunes, strathspeys, jigs and dances, until Purdie’s early 1820s editions, corrected and improved by Nathaniel Gow, when the ‘jigs’ were dropped from the title. The music was re-engraved for Purdie’s third edition, but looks almost identical – see extant copies and IMSLP digitisation. At the same time, some copies were now designated as for ‘piano-forte or harp’, rather than the earlier ‘harp [or] piano-forte, violin and violoncello.'
There are in excess of 60 copies in Copac alone, and many more in WorldCat.


Starts with piano arrangement of 'Drunk at Night'. The accompaniments to slow tunes are more pianistic, but revert to simpler style for dances. 'Lady Betty Boyle's Reel' has an attribution to Mackintosh, but is a different version of the tune. Kidson's copy of 1st edn. in Mitchell [8785, signed by Agnes Hope 2d. October 1809]: Edinburgh: Gow & Shepherd. titlepage includes: "Part First and Second to be had as above 7/6 each. Also the Second Edition of all their other Works, improved." 1st edition otherwise looks identical to later ones (having checked page 1)
Editorial attempt at uniformity evidenced in 3rd edition dedication:- '[…] it was our wish to conciliate and procure an conformity in the stile and manner of playing those National tunes and Dances. […] we humbly trust our Endeavours to conciliate in uniformity in playing those tunes will soon be Established in every part of the Island.'

RISM: G3258(3)

Gore: G11-2

Link: IMSLP (Purdie - third edition, 'Selected and improved by Nath. Gow'.)

Biographical info: Niel Gow (1727-1807), father of the famous Gow family, lived in Inver near Dunkeld. (Glen 2, viii-xiv; Grove; Alburger; Murdoch, 41-48) Gow's fourth son Nathaniel (1763-1831), violinist and Edinburgh publisher, was perhaps the most famous of the siblings; but his brothers William, John and Andrew also traded in music (John and Andrew in London). Nathaniel's son, Niel Junr., lived 1795-1823.


Aberdeen University Library
Birmingham University Library
Cambridge University Library
University Library, Durham
Dundee Central Library (Wighton Collection)
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Edinburgh City Library
Edinburgh University Library
Mitchell Library, Glasgow
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
University of Glasgow Library
Royal Academy of Music, London
British Library, London
Royal College of Music, London
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London
Manchester Public Library
Manchester University Library
Newcastle University Library
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
A K Bell Library, Perth
Saint Andrews University Library
Sheffield University Library
National Library of Ireland, Dublin
Trinity College Dublin

GB-A [1806]
GB-Gm M8785
GB-Gu Ca11-y.30 [1805?]
GB-Gu Ca12-y.37 (3rd edition, Purdie)
GB-Gu Ca12-y.39 [1806?]
GB-Gu Ca12-40 (3rd edition, Purdie)
GB-Gu Farmer Add f33 (3rd edition, Purdie)
GB-P Af38
GB-P Af24 (Gow & Shepherd)
GB-P Af39 (Purdie)
GB-SA Finzi Collection 119 (Gow & Shepherd)

further copies in COPAC and WorldCat

    Digitised items

    This source has not been digitised.