TTA

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search
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.
The fiddler
48,210 Tunes by title


Crystal Clear app xmag.svg Find everytune 1rightarrow.png  Subscribe Subscribe 1rightarrow.png Insta.png Find us


Cumberland-gap.jpg
Cumberland Gap

Played by : Rising Appalachia
Source : Youtube
Image : Union soldiers passing through Cumberland Gap, 1863

Cumberland Gap

The Cumberland Gap is a pass in the Appalachians between upper Tennessee and Kentucky. It is through this passage in the mountains that Daniel Boone in 1773 led a group of pioneers into Kentucky along his famous Wilderness Road, an event famous in American history that association with may have helped to popularize the melody (or, rather, populaize the title for a fiddle tune, as there are several different tunes that are called "Cumberland Gap"). The tune is very wide-spread throughout the upland South and many variants exist, along with some unrelated tunes that bear the same title. Alan Jabbour has written that it dates "well back" in the 19th century, and, while it bears melodic resemblance to some Irish reels in part, its derivation is yet to be determined. Mike Yates (2002) says that Bascom Lamar Lunsford maintained that "Cumberland Gap" was a speeded-up version of the ballad "Bonny James Campbell" (also rendered as a southern fiddle tune) while Yates finds the Niel Gow's "Skye Air" carries a "faint suggestion" of the Appalachian standard. Still, Yates admits there seems to be no early printings of the tune.

Various couplets have been set to the tune. The Carolina Ramblers sang on a test pressing in 1932:

Me and my wife and my wife's Pap,
Walked all the way through the Cumberland Gap.

Lay down boys, take a little nap,
Forty-nine miles of the Cumberland Gap.

My and my wife, several little chaps,
We built a home on the Cumberland Gap.

The Cumberland Gap's an awful place,
Can't get the water for to wash your face.

Similarly, forty years later banjo player Dent Wimmer of Floyd, Floyd County, Virginia, sang:

My and my wife and seventeen chaps,
Walked all the way to Cumberland gap.

Cumberland Gap's an awful dry place,
You can't get water to wash your face.

Jabbour found 32 recordings of tunes with the title "Cumberland Gap" in the Library of Congress sound archives, while Bruce Greene and John Harrod's field recordings of Kentucky fiddlers alone yielded fifty-two performances of the title. One of the earliest versions was recorded on an Edison Bell cylinder by Allen Sisson.

The tune was played by Rock Ridge, Alabama, fiddlers c. 1920 (Devil's Box, vol. 17, #2, p. 20). It was in the repertoires of Fiddlin' Cowan Powers 1877-1952? (Russell County, southwest Va.) who recorded it in 1924 for Victor {though it was unissued}, and African-American fiddler Cuje Bertram of Kentucky's Cumberland Plateau region (Bertram recorded it on a 1970 home recording made for his family, see "Cumberland Gap (4)").

...more at: Cumberland Gap - full Score(s) and Annotations


X:1 T:Cumberland Gap [1] S:Uncle Am Stuart (1853-1926, Morristown, Tennessee) M:C| L:1/8 D:Vocalion 14839 (78 RPM), Uncle Am Stuart (1924) F:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74O2Yl-DwSw F:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/cumberland-gap-0 Z:Andrew Kuntz K:G ((3ABc||d2) (3cBA GBAc|Be2f e2((3ABc|d2) BA GBAG|EG2A G3B| dedB GBeB|edef efge|dedB GBAG|EG2A G3B| dedB GBeB|edef efge|dedB GBAG|EG2A G4|| d2ga bgag|eaab (3aba ge|dgga bgag|(eg)ga g2(3age| dega bgag|eaab (3aba ge|dgga bgag|(eg)ga g2e2||

Latest Tunes

Latest Tunes

Who Builds the TTA

Who Builds the TTA

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.

Help Getting started

Collection1.preview.gif

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 “The Index”. Click on it 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.