Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Jabbour, Alan
Jabbour, Karen Singer
Reed, Henry
Dates 1967
Location Giles County
Glen Lyn
United States
Virginia
Language English
Subjects Appalachian Region
Breakdowns
Ethnography
Fiddle Tunes
Field Recordings
Folk Music
Instrumental Music
Music
Reels
Title
Mississippi Sawyer
Contributor Names
Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)
Jabbour, Alan (Collector)
Jabbour, Karen Singer (Collector)
Reed, Henry, 1884-1968 (Performer)
Created / Published
Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, July 17, 1967
Subject Headings
-  Instrumental music
-  Fiddle tunes
-  Folk music--Appalachian Region
-  Breakdowns
-  Reels
-  Ethnography
-  Music
-  Field recordings
-  United States -- Virginia -- Giles County -- Glen Lyn
Genre
Ethnography
Music
Field recordings
Notes
-  Key: D
-  Meter: 4/4
-  Compass: 12
-  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
-  Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds
-  Strains: 3 (high-low-lower octave, 4-4-4)
-  Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-2r-3r-2
-  Phrase Structure: ABCD QRQS (aa'bb' cdef qq'rr' qq'ef)
-  Stylistic features: Plays a strain an octave lower for variation. Henry Reed's comments about the fourth part indicate that after playing the first strain an octave lower (comprising the third strain), he should have gone on to play the second strain an octave lower as well,
-  Spoken: [before tune]/ALAN JABBOUR: Go ahead.[after tune]/ALAN JABBOUR: That's it./HENRY REED: I never got--never got that fourth part just like it ought to be. But you can get--you can finish that./ALAN JABBOUR: Oh yeah.
-  Recording chronology: 137
-  Related Tune(s): The Downfall of Paris
-  "Mississippi Sawyer" is one of the most widely distributed Southern fiddle tunes in America, being known today not just in the South but in all regions of the country. It appears in Knauff, Virginia Reels (1839), vol. 4, #4, entitled "Love from the Heart." Curiously, the same collection has the earliest appearance of the title "Mississippi Sawyer," but it is to a quite different tune. The title refers to a frightening phenomenon during floods on the Mississippi. Great trees would be wrenched from the bank by flood waters and would be dragged underwater in the raging torrent, only to impale themselves in the bottom and rise like monsters from the deep to threaten the paths of boats struggling to navigate the flood. This was the dread Mississippi sawyer. Folklorist Roger Welsch once suggested that the rocking of the fiddle bow required to play this tune simulated bobbing along in a Mississippi river flood.Sets of "Mississippi Sawyer" may be found in Ford, Traditional Music of America, p. 32; Brown, The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore vol. 5, 413-414 "Mississippi Lawyer"; Adam, Old Time Fiddlers' Favorite Barn Dance Tunes #8; Ruth, Pioneer Western Folk Tunes, p. 13. A related tune is "Downfall of Paris," for which see O'Neill's Music of Ireland #1562, Thomas and Leeder, Singin' Gatherin', p. 59.
Medium
Audio tape
Call Number
AFC 1969/008: AFS 13705A42
Source Collection
Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2
Repository
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/afcreed.13705a42


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 and Privacy and Publicity Rights for additional information and restrictions.

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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

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