Listen to the Mocking Bird

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LISTEN TO THE MOCKINGBIRD. AKA - "Mocking Bird (1)." Texas Style, Bluegrass; Contest piece. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Sweet): AABB (Brody, Ford). A once-popular minstrel-era song composed by Septimus Winner [1] (under the pseudonym 'Alice Hawthorne', the maiden name of his mother) that has proved extremely popular as a contest tune among fiddlers. It is heard sometimes as square dances as a singing call. Actually, the sheet music, published in 1855 by Winner and Schuster, credits the music to a Richard Milburn, with the song written and arranged by 'Alice Hawthorne', although Winner later seems to have taken credit under his own name.

Septimus Winner (1827-1902)



The melody has developed into a fiddler's showcase tune, popularized by gifted show fiddlers such as Curly Fox and Tommy Magness. Many fiddlers have their own version of the tune, and it continues to be a popular contest tune today. In fact, it is so ubiquitous that it is occasionally banned from competition to promote variety among the contestants.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 170. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 45. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1965/1981; p. 72.

Recorded sources: Bluebird 5843, Arthur Smith. Mercury SRM-1-1022, "Vasser Clements." Gusto 104, Fiddlin' Red Herron- "30 Fiddler's Greatest Hits." Briar 4202, The Kentucky Colonels- "Living in the Past." CMH 6237, Paul Warren- "America's Greatest Breakdown Fiddle Player." County 747, Clark Kessinger- "Sweet Bunch of Daisies." Decca 5213 (78 RPM), Curly Fox (1936). Fretless 101, "The Campbell Family: Champion Fiddlers." June Appal 024, Luke Smathers String Band- "Mountain Swing." Rebel 1528, Buck Ryan- "Fiddler on the Rocks." Chubby Wise- "Fiddles Around."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]




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