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Audio Recording Shady Grove

Shady Grove

About this Item


  • Shady Grove


  • 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, June 18, 1966


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


  • Ethnography
  • Music
  • Field recordings


  • -  Meter: 4/4
  • -  Strains: 2 (high-low, 4-4)
  • -  Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-2
  • -  Key: A
  • -  Phrase Structure: ABCD QRC'D (abac a'def d'd"qr a'def )
  • -  Compass: 9
  • -  Stylistic features: Lively pace; Oscar Wright played it slower and more plaintively.
  • -  Related Tune(s): Boyne Water
  • -  Related Tune(s): Barbara Allen
  • -  Related Tune(s): The Foggy Dew
  • -  "Shady Grove" is usually known in the Upper South as a song with a floating assemblage of lyrics. But Henry Reed's "Shady Grove" is not just a instrumental version of a song; it is a classic instrumental tune. Its first strain is a variant of an old and widespread British and American air, showing up in such disparate places as the British "Boyne Water" march and some Appalachian variants of the ballad "Barbara Allen." "Boyne Water" refers to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and the tune appears in America as early as 1786, in "Henry Beck's Flute Book," a manuscript tunebook in the Library of Congress. For typical sets, see Johnson, Scots Musical Museum (1853 edition), vol. 2, 363 (#351) and vol. 4, 325; Joyce, Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909), #377; O'Neill's Music of Ireland, #260. A related set in Old Irish Folk Music and Songs, #58, "The Foggy Dew," may offer a clue to the "Shady Grove" connection, for a set fiddled by J. H. Chisholm of Greenwood, Virginia, is shaped more like Henry Reed's set and is entitled "The Foggy Dew." Henry Reed's second strain is also an old air and corresponds to the usual Appalachian song "Shady Grove," though his instrumental set does not begin the low strain on the tonic as the song normally does. A notable feature of Henry Reed's set is its beginning with the high strain (which is also true of Chisholm's "Foggy Dew"). The British "Boyne Water" march typically begins with a low strain and goes on to the high strain corresponding to Henry Reed's. But Henry Reed begins with the high strain, a stylistic choice that is particularly characteristic of the old Upper South frontier.
  • -  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
  • -  Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds
  • -  Spoken: HENRY REED: Do you know that?/ALAN JABBOUR: Yeah, I sure do. My grandmother from East Tennessee used to sing that to me./HENRY REED: "Shady Grove."/ALAN JABBOUR: "Shady Grove."/HENRY REED: [Laughs]
  • -  Recording chronology: 036


  • Audio tape

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1967/007: AFS 13033B28

Source Collection

  • Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 1


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

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, Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour, and Henry Reed. Shady Grove. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1966. Audio.

APA citation style:

Jabbour, A., Jabbour, A., Jabbour, K. S. & Reed, H. (1966) Shady Grove. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Jabbour, Alan, et al. Shady Grove. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1966. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.