Marching Through Georgia

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MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA. AKA and see "Marcha de los Novios," "Sherman's March." American, Song Tune and March (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "Marching Through Georgia" [1] is a post-1864 Union Civil War song by Connecticut songwriter Henry Clay Work [2] (1832-1884) commemorating Union General William T. Sherman's [3] infamous "March to the Sea". The melody rapidly entered both the martial band tradition and fiddling tradition—at least north of the Mason-Dixon line. Fuld (The Book of World Famous Music) called it "the most hated song in the South," and playing the melody in parts of the South provoked considerable ire for many decades after the war. Despite this, it is occasionally heard in Southern old-time repertoire. Ironically, Sherman came to loath the tune as well, as it was played at nearly every public appearance he attended.

William Tecumsah Sherman (1820-1891)
Henry Clay Work (1832-1884)

The tune was in the repertories of Buffalo Valley, Pa., region dance fiddlers Ralph Sauers and Harry Daddario, and Bronner (1987) notes it was a common dance tune for New York state dances. "Marching to Georgia" was one of the first tunes learned on the fiddle by a young Clark Kessinger (West Virginia).

Sources for notated versions: Clyde Lloyd (fifer from Indiana County, Pa., 1952) and Marion Yoders (fifer and fiddler from Greene County, Pa., 1960) [Bayard]; Art Coss (Woodland Valley, Catskill Mtns., New York) [Cazden].

Printed sources: Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 262A-B, pp. 223-224. Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1945; p. 11. Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1955; p. 9. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 16.

Recorded sources: Smithsonian Folkways SFW40115, "Masters of Old-time Country Autoharp" (2006. Various artists). Voyager VRCD-354, Hart & Blech – "Build Me a Boat." Voyager CD368, "Allen Hart: Old Time Banjo".

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [4]
Hear Ernest Stoneman's autoharp version on youtube.com [5]




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