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Notated Music Forked Deer [music transcription]

About this Item


  • Forked Deer [music transcription]


  • Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)

Created / Published

  • [Between 1966 and 1968]


  • -  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


  • -  Key: D
  • -  Meter: 4/4
  • -  Transcribed by Alan Jabbour, from a performance by Henry Reed.
  • -  Compass: 17
  • -  Title change: This tune is transcribed after the continuation of "Old Joe Clark" on the page.
  • -  Strains: 3 (high-low-high octave, 4-4)
  • -  Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-3-1-2
  • -  Phrase Structure: ABA'C QRQ'S Q"R"Q"S" (abac ab'de qrqs qtue--Q"R"Q"S": octave higher)
  • -  Stylistic features: Low strain repeated in upper octave, requiring third position on E-string.
  • -  Handwritten: 1st str. repeated. Then: Recorded: aabbaab'b'ab. The b'b' strain contains several parentheses ( ), indicating the note intended, tho' the shift of position caused serious faults of intonation. The high C#'s and D's were reached simply by pushing the 4th f
  • -  "Forked Deer" is a quintessential fiddle tune of the old frontier. It is old and widely distributed, yet it cannot be traced to the Old World or the northern United States. "Forked Deer" begins with and gives greatest emphasis to the high strain of the tune. And it is fiddled with a fluid bowing style using slurs to create complicated rhythmic patterns, in the manner of the old Upper South. Its title both evokes the forest and (though few fiddlers in the Appalachians realize this) names a river in West Tennessee. An 1839 printed set from Southside Virginia (Knauff, Virginia Reels, vol. 1, #4 "Forked Deer") establishes the tune's longevity under that title in Virginia.It found its way onto the nineteenth-century stage and into tune collections as a "jig": see Brother Jonathan's Collection of Violin Tunes (1862), p. 26 "Gas Light Jig"; Coes, George H. Coes' Album of Music, p. 6 "Forkedair Jig," pp. 34-35 "Come and Kiss Me." But that did not give it circulation beyond its home region in the Upper South, where it turned up in many twentieth-century sets; see Thomas, Devil's Ditties, pp. 131-133 (compare Victor 21407B, played by Jilson Setters (James Day)); Ford, Traditional Music of America, p. 45 "Old Pork Bosom"; Morris, Old Time Violin Melodies, #31 "Forkadair"; Thede, The Fiddle Book, p. 135 (Oklahoma).Henry Reed plays a third strain, as do some other fiddlers, composed of the low strain recast an octave higher. He once mentioned that another old title for "Forked Deer" was "Hounds in the Thorn Bush," but he considered "Forked Deer" its proper name. He also mentioned it as one of the tunes in Quince Dillion's repertory.


  • manuscript; 2 pages

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1967/007: Notebook 3: p. 21b-22a

Source Collection

  • Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 1


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • image

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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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. Forked Deer music transcription. [Between 1966 and 1968, 1966] Notated Music.

APA citation style:

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

MLA citation style:

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