Audio Recordings The Girl I Left behind Me

Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Jabbour, Alan
Reed, Gene
Reed, Henry
Dates 1967
Location Giles County
Glen Lyn
United States
Language English
Subjects Appalachian Region
Fiddle Tunes
Field Recordings
Folk Music
Guitar Music
Instrumental Music
The Girl I Left behind Me
Contributor Names
Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)
Jabbour, Alan (Collector)
Reed, Henry, 1884-1968 (Performer)
Reed, Gene, 1929-2012 (Performer)
Created / Published
Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, May 6, 1967
Subject Headings
-  Marches
-  Instrumental music
-  Fiddle tunes
-  Folk music--Appalachian Region
-  Breakdowns
-  Reels
-  Guitar music
-  Ethnography
-  Music
-  Field recordings
-  United States -- Virginia -- Giles County -- Glen Lyn
Field recordings
-  Meter: 4/4
-  Key: G
-  Compass: 11
-  Related Tune(s): I've Got to Leave You
-  Related Tune(s): I'm Going Away to Leave You, Going to Tennessee
-  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
-  Duration: 58 seconds
-  Performed by Gene Reed, guitar.
-  Strains: 2 (low-high, 4-5)
-  Rendition: (1)-2r-1-2
-  Phrase Structure: ABAC QQ'RBRC (abcd abef qrqr' sbcd sbcd)
-  Spoken: HENRY REED: That's "The Girl I Left behind Me."
-  Recording chronology: 120
-  "The Girl I Left behind Me" has a history in both the British Isles and America as a song and a march, but it has become an item of general repertory for many fiddlers. For typical examples on both sides of the Atlantic, see "A. Shattuck's Book [ca. 1801]," p. 18; Howe, Leviathan Collection, p. 10; Fillmore, American Veteran Fifer, #64; Linscott, Folk Songs of Old New England, pp. 79-80; Ford, Traditional Music of America, p. 116; Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 3, 352; Ruth, Pioneer Western Folk Tunes, p. 2. For sets with different titles but some similarity, see Joyce, Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909), #443, #648.Henry Reed played "The Girl I Left behind Me" on one occasion (AFS 13037a05) in the usual melodic form for the tune. But on this occasion, he played a very unusual version of the tune with an irregular phrase structure. The sequence of tune associations that called forth this unusual version from Henry Reed's imagination is fascinating. The preceding song, "I've Got to Leave You," though quite different melodically, has an almost identical phrase within it that may have been the musical bridge or trigger leading to the unusual set of "The Girl I Left behind Me." Compare a different title in this collection, "I'm Going Away to Leave You, Going to Tennessee," which seems to be yet another scion of this cluster of musical ideas. Though we think of Henry Reed's tradition as a memory-based tradition that retains tunes as separate artifacts preserved in their entirety, examples such as this remind us of the musical flux that underlies tunes in the imagination and the capacity of the artist, either involuntarily or at will, to conflate or creatively reassemble the musical building blocks. Henry Reed's children, though in awe of his memory and his vast repertory, also believe that he made periodic alterations in tunes, sometimes from forgetting and sometimes from a conscious impulse to recast a tune in a fresh way.
Audio tape
Call Number
AFC 1969/008: AFS 13703B20
Source Collection
Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2
American Folklife Center
Digital Id

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the material in this collection, except as noted below. Users should keep in mind that the Library of Congress is providing access to these materials strictly for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other holders of rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. See our Legal Notices for additional information and restrictions.

The Center asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here. Researchers are also reminded that privacy and publicity rights may pertain to certain uses of this material.

Photographs in this collection produced by Carl Fleischhauer, Karen Singer Jabbour, and Kit Olson are reproduced here with their permission. Mr. Fleischhauer does not object to additional use of the photos he created provided he is credited as the photographer. Persons contemplating other kinds of uses or use of the other photographers' work should contact the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 1 (AFC 1967/007), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2 (AFC 1969/008), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Fiddle tunes of the old frontier: the Henry Reed collection online presentation (AFC 1999/016), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.