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Audio Recording Over the Waterfall

Over the Waterfall

About this Item


  • Over the Waterfall


  • 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


  • -  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


  • -  Key: D
  • -  Meter: 4/4
  • -  Strains: 2 (high-low, 4-4)
  • -  Compass: 11
  • -  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
  • -  Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds
  • -  Phrase Structure: ABAC QRQ'S (abac abde qrsc qr'tu)
  • -  Related Tune(s): Chinchbug (Bedbug Has No Wings at All, But He Gets There Just the Same)
  • -  Rendition: 1-(pause)-r-2-1r-2r-1
  • -  Spoken: [beginning of tune]/ALAN JABBOUR: Well, go ahead. I'd like to hear it again./HENRY REED: [Laughs][after tune]/HENRY REED: I, I like that old piece, too./ALAN JABBOUR: I do too./HENRY REED: That's "Over the Waterfall."/ALAN JABBOUR: "Over the Waterfall."
  • -  Recording chronology: 140
  • -  Henry Reed distinctly calls this "Over the Waterfalls" on microphone on another occasion (AFS 13703b08), but he used the singular here, and that is how the fieldnotes from both of his performances record it. He said he learned it when he was a young boy from performers in a traveling show, Teets's Show (probably a circus or medicine show).The tune has a long history on both sides of the Atlantic as an instrumental tune. It is also used as a melody for the widespread British and American song "Eggs and Marrowbones" (see Laws, American Balladry from British Broadsides, Q2). This humorous song involves an old man pushing his old wife into the water, so the title "Over the Waterfall" may show a close link between the song and the instrumental tune. Fuller notes on the song and on other instrumental versions appear under "Mercian Tittery-Ary-A" in The Hammons Family (Library of Congress, AFS L65-66).The fiddle tune was recorded under this name (in the singular) by the Hollow Rock String Band (Kanawha 311). Through that recording, and in parallel radiation through live performances and tapes, Henry Reed's tune has been widely recirculated across the country, appearing now in the repertories of perhaps thousands of musicians. This is only the most dramatic example of the direct influence of Henry Reed's repertory on the old-time music revival in the later twentieth century. Henry Reed plays another tune, "Chinchbug," that has a similar first strain to "Over the Waterfall."


  • Audio tape

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1969/008: AFS 13705A45

Source Collection

  • Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2


  • 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. Over the Waterfall. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1967. Audio.

APA citation style:

Jabbour, A., Jabbour, A., Jabbour, K. S. & Reed, H. (1967) Over the Waterfall. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Jabbour, Alan, et al. Over the Waterfall. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1967. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.