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Revision as of 12:19, 11 June 2019

Welcome to The Traditional Tune Archive
    The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish
 traditional instrumental music with annotations, formerly known as
                          The Fiddler's Companion.

40,883 Tunes by title with Annotations


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December 8 2019  Featured tune:           TEXAS BARBED WIRE
December 8 2019  Featured tune:           TEXAS BARBED WIRE

A 1927 newspaper cartoon lampooned Henry Ford’s championing of “old-time” music and dance

A spectacularly successful tune in American fiddle tradition. Bayard (1981) suggests that a Scottish tune called "(Bonny) The Black Eagle" (also called "Way to Edinburgh (The)" by Oswald) resembles "Turkey in the Straw" in in both parts. Besides Samuel Bayard, Alan Jabbour, Winston Wilkinson, George Pullen Jackson and others think that a tune with an even stronger resemblance in the first part to the first part of Turkey is "The Rose Tree (1)" (Maureen ni Cullenaun). Their apparent conclusion is that the Turkey tune is a composite of two older Scottish tunes, the 'A' part of "The Rose Tree" and the 'B' part of "The (Bonny) Black Eagle." There are other speculations: Nathan ("Dan Emmett," pg. 168) gives an Irish reel which seems to bear close resemblance to the 'A' part of Turkey, while Dreamer (in the Oxford Book of Carols, pg. 252) gives a "little known Scottish melody" with a second section equivlent to that of Turkey (Bayard wonders if this particular strain has long been a floater). According to Linscott (1939) the tune is based on the old song "My Grandmother Loved on Yonder Little Green." Michael Cooney lists a number of fiddle tunes to which "Turkey in the Straw" is supposed to have been related, including "Glasgow Hornpipe" (Irish), "Haymaker's Dance" (English), "The Post Office" (Irish), "Lady Shaftsbury's Reel" (Scottish), "Rose Tree in Full Bearing" (Irish), "Old Mother Oxford" (a morris dance tune known in England and Scotland), and "Kinnegad Slashers" (Irish). Captain Francis O’Neill, in Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody suggested the latter was the original source of “Turkey,” although most reviewers dismiss this as an incidental resemblance only based on some similarities in the first part.

Whatever its origins, it was "undoubtedly in American folk tradition before the 19th century," says Bronner (1987), and that popular theater and minstrel groups during the 19th century helped consolidate and spread its popularity (it was often called "Old Zip Coon" in minstrel tradition). Fuld reports the title "Turkey in de Straw" appeared in 1861 attached to the tune through new song lyrics, copyrighted by one Dan Bryant, the melody labelled only an "old melody," presumably referring to “Old Zip Coon.” Lyrics set to the tune usually go something like the following:

As I went down the new cut road,
I met Miss Possum and I met Mr. Toad.
And every time the toad would sing,
The possum cut the pigeon wing.

Chorus:
Turkey in the straw, haw! haw! haw!
Turkey in the hay, hey! hey! hey!
The bull frog danced with his mother in law,
And they played 'em up a tune called turkey in the straw. .....[Ford]




...more at Turkey in the straw - full Score(s) and Annotations
Past Featured Tunes


Turkey in the Straw





X:1 T:Turkeys in the Straw M:C| L:1/8 B:O'Neill's Music of Ireland. 1850 Melodies, 1903, p. 281, no. 1520 Z:François-Emmanuel de Wasseige K:G (BA)|GE2F EDB,C|DEDB, DEGA|(TBA)Bc dBGA|BA2G AcBA| GE2F EDB,C|DEDB, DEGA|Bd2e dBGA|BGAF G2|| GA|Bd2e dBGA|Bdde dcBA|Bdef gfed|BA (3Bcd e2 ef| Tgfge dged|BdAG E2 GA|BdAG EDB,D|EG2A G2|]

Who Builds The Archive
Who Builds The Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.
This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.
Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni

Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.

Latest Tunes
Latest Tunes

Help Getting started

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Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditional Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the top right, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word. See Search help pages
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Archive” on the SideBar on the left is “All Tunes”. Click on “All Tunes” to open up the list of tune titles in the TTA arranged in alphabetical order, 200 titles to a page. At the top of the page is an alphabetical breakdown that serves as a shortcut to pages. Clicking on any title will bring one to the music and tune fields. Once the tune appears, clicking “Tune Discussion” at the bottom of the page (below the notation) will open up the narrative information on the tune.
  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Archive” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Publications” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.