Lady of the Lake (6)

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X:2 T:Lady of the Lake [6] M:2/4 L:1/8 R:reel B:George P. Knauff - Virginia Reels, vol. III (Baltimore, 1839, p. 5) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Ador Ae (e/^f/e/d/)|e^f g>e|dG BG/B/|(dG) G>B| Ae (e/^f/e/d/)|e^f g>a|(b>a) ge/d/|BA Az:| |:ae (a/b/c'/b/)|ae e>^f|gd (g/a/b/a/)|gd dz| g>a (b/a/g/^f/)|(g/^f/g/a/) b>a|ge ed/B/|BA Az:||



LADY OF THE LAKE [6]. AKA and see "Ducks on the Pond." American, Reel (cut time). USA, Virginia. D Major/A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Phillips, Songer, Wilkinson): AA'B (Silberberg).The melody appears under this title in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume III [1] (Baltimore, 1839) and was played by J.H. Chisholm in the Wilkinson Manuscript collection of Virginia Tunes, and indeed, the melody has had associations with Virginia fiddlers to this day. A distinct and unusual version of was collected from Parley Parsons of Galax, Va., by Paul Brown, Alice Gerard and Andy Cahan. Hillsville, southwest Virginia, fiddler Norman Edwards (1889-1976) also played a version. Researcher Alan Jabbour learned the tune from Joe Anglin, in Martinsburg, Virginia, in the 1960's, and he considers Henry Reed's "Ducks on the Pond" a variant. In fact, as with many American old-time tunes there are many variants in circulation, some differing widely, and although it has Virginia associations it was a fairly common tune in fiddle repertory in the Upland South. John Hartford points out that Sir Walter Scott's epic poem "Lady of the Lake" (1810) was popular on the American frontier, and broad familiarity with that title may have aided dissemination. "Scott's Favorite" is the tune that shares the page in Knauff's 1839 volume, which may lend support for this theory; at the least, points out researcher Chris Goertzen [1] even if "Scott's Favorite" referred to another person, the association was made in editor Knauff's mind. The tonality of this tune varies: different versions emphasize either the A mixolydian or D major chordal underpinning for the tune.

There is an interesting progression in the tune traceable through the version printed in Knauff (1839), through Uncle Jim Chisholm (early 20th century) and Norman Edmonds (mid-20th century). Knauf's and Chisholm's parts generally correspond, while Edmonds has his parts reversed from the other two.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Pete Sutherland (Vt.) [Phillips]; Greg Canote (Seattle) [Silberberg].

Printed sources : - Knauff (Virginia Reels, vol. 3), 1839; p. 5. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 135. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 87 (two versions). Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 122. Wilkinson (Southern Folklore Quarterly), vi, I, p. 10.

Recorded sources : - Epact Music, Pete Sutherland - "Eight Miles from Town" (1982). Flying Fish 415, Bruce Molsky - "A. Robic and the Exertions" (learned from Norman Edwards). Rounder CD 0392, John Hartford - "Wild Hog in the Red Brush and a Bunch of Others You Might Not Have Heard" (1996. Learned from J. H. Chisholm in the Wilkinson Manuscript collection of Virginia Tunes). Voyager VRCD 354, Hart & Blech - "Build Me a Boat" (2001. Parley Parson's version).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear Norman Edmond's recording of "Lady of the Lake" at Slippery Hill [3] and on youtube.com [4]
See another standard notation transcription of Edmonds' version at Taterjoes.com [5]



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  1. Chris Goertzen, George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels and the History of American Fiddling, 2017, p. 65.