Notated Music Fire on the Mountain [music transcription]

About this Item


  • Fire on the Mountain [music transcription]

Contributor Names

  • Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)

Created / Published

  • [Between 1966 and 1968]

Subject Headings

  • -  Instrumental music
  • -  Fiddle tunes
  • -  Folk music--Appalachian Region
  • -  Breakdowns
  • -  Reels
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Sheet Music
  • -  Music score
  • -  United States -- Virginia -- Giles County -- Glen Lyn


  • Ethnography
  • Sheet Music
  • Music score


  • -  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.


  • manuscript; 1 page

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1967/007: Notebook 3: p. 17b

Source Collection

  • Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 1


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • image

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Jabbour, Alan. Fire on the Mountain music transcription. [Between 1966 and 1968, 1966] Notated Music.

APA citation style:

Jabbour, A. (1966) Fire on the Mountain music transcription. [Between 1966 and 1968] [Notated Music] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Jabbour, Alan. Fire on the Mountain music transcription. [Between 1966 and 1968, 1966] Notated Music. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.