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Fire on the Mountain [music transcription]

Fire on the Mountain [music transcription]



Meter: 4/4
Transcribed by Alan Jabbour, from a performance by Henry Reed.
Key: A
Strains: 2 (high-low, 4-2)
Compass: 9
Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-2r-1r-2r
Title change: This tune is transcribed after the continuation of "Hog-Eyed Man" on the page.
Phrase Structure: ABAC QR (abac ab'de dqd'e)
Handwritten: Played 3 times thru. 2nd time transcribed. Note frequently (always to some degree) raised 4th degree (D), & corresponding raised 7th only on D string--i.e., both 3rd finger. G# not always very high.--Only a few variants are recorded below. [before 1st mea
Henry Reed's "Fire on the Mountain" is a fine set of a tune that is well-documented from early America down to the present, yet seems not traceable to the British Isles. It is thus (along with a number of other tunes in this collection) evidence that by the late eighteenth century there was already a distinctly American repertory of fiddle tunes. The tune seems to be associated with a cluster of playful rhymes and jingles used in children's songs, play-party songs, and courting songs across the early frontier. The jingles in turn give rise to many of the bewildering array of titles that have turned up for this tune. Some representative examples are "A. Shattuck's Book [ca. 1801]," p. 59 "I Betty Martin--tipto fine"; Riley's Flute Melodies (ca. 1814), p. 87 "Free on the Mountains"; Winner's Choice Gems, p. 66 "Granny Will Your Dog Bite. (Jig.)"; Brown, The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore vol. 5, 119 (#158) "Chicken in the Bread Tray"; Wilkinson, "Virginia Dance Tunes," p. 9 "Fire on the Mountains," played by J. H. Chisholm, Greenwood, Virginia; Ford, Traditional Music of America, p. 58 "Tip Toe, Pretty Betty Martin"; Adam, Old Time Fidders' Favorite Barn Dance Tunes #62 "The Butchers' Dog"; Moser, "Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians," pp. 5-6 "Old Daddy Bowback (Fire on the Mountain)," played by Marcus Martin, Swannanoa, North Carolina. As in Henry Reed's case, Southern sets are inclined to begin with the high strain, while Northern or Midwestern sets (and hence most printed sets) begin with the low strain.





Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)




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