Fiddling in Scotland was primarily a social activity. Most towns and villages had a fiddler who performed for dances and other social occasions. Frequently, clan chiefs took fiddlers under their patronage. William Marshal, who composed a great many fiddle tunes, thrived under the patronage of the Duke of Gordon, and Neil Gow enjoyed the support of the Dukes of Atholl.
Following the 1745 Rising, the same proscriptions that banned the wearing of the kilt, also forbade the playing of bagpipes. During this time, it was the fiddle that saved much of Scotland’s musical heritage from extinction. It was also the fiddle that came with the Scottish immigrants to the mountains of the Eastern United States, and one can readily hear the Scottish jigs and reels in much of the mountain bluegrass and old-time music of today.