5 Fiddle Tunes Every Fiddler Needs to Know

5 Fiddle Tunes Every Fiddler Needs to Know

”Old Joe Clark" is one of our most beloved and widely known fiddle tunes. The lyrics are about Joseph Clark, a Kentucky mountaineer born in 1839. The first printed version of the sheet music came in 1918. Nowadays we often hear this tune in different jam sessions all over the United States.
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1. Old Joe Clark

Here in a version with some extra finesse.

”Old Joe Clark" is one of our most beloved and widely known fiddle tunes. The lyrics are about Joseph Clark, a Kentucky mountaineer born in 1839. The first printed version of the sheet music came in 1918. Nowadays we often hear this tune in different jam sessions all over the United States.

Sheet music for violin | Download
Sheet music for violin with double stops | Download

Learn to play, "Old Joe Clark" on the fiddle/violin.

2. Bilem Cabbage Down

This recording claims to be the best ever made, with a very cool trumpet solo!

Most people know this folk tune as ”Bilem Cabbage Down” but the right name is ”Boil Them Cabbage Down”. Yes, you guessed right. It has to do with making cabbage soup! It was first recorded in 1924 and since then has been recorded with endless variations and lyrics. This piece is often used to teach musicians how to play the fiddle and banjo.

Sheet music for violin | Download

3. Orange Blossom Special

This fiddle tune is also called the fiddle player’s National Anthem. It was written in 1938 by Ervin Rouse, a man who lived in the Everglades, Florida, not far from Fiddlershop! Orange Blossom Special is a name of a luxury train that ran between New York City and Miami, 1926-1953. Legend says that Ervin Rouse was so impressed by this train that he wrote a song about it. It’s certainly a train imitation piece, with breakneck tempos. This is a crowd pleaser, if any.

This classic is a must see.

Sheet music for violin | Download

4. The Devil Went Down to Georgia

With good old Charlie Daniels.

The tune was written by violinist/singer Charlie Daniels himself and released by his band in 1979. This is Charlie’s biggest hit and the lyrics are about a violin duel between the devil and a young man named Johnny. The devil challenges the fiddle player to a fiddling contest, promising Johnny a violin made of gold if he wins. If he loses? Then the devil takes his soul.

Sheet music for violin | Download

5. Ashokan Farewell

Maybe the most beloved fiddle tune of them all. Here in a string quartet version with our own Fiddlershop quartet:

Ashokan Farewell was composed in 1982 by folk musician Jay Ungar. It’s actually a waltz in D major that is written in the style of the Scottish lament, meaning that the tune is expressing grief or sorrow.

Sheet music for violin | Download

10 comments

Asa

Hi and thanks for your kind response! Very nice to hear about your weekly jams. We need more of that! Also, a big thanks for being a part of our Fiddlershop family.

Hi and thanks for your kind response! Very nice to hear about your weekly jams. We need more of that! Also, a big thanks for being a part of our Fiddlershop family.

Asa

So sorry, Jane. Orange Blossom Special is one of Fiddlerman’s favorites…

So sorry, Jane. Orange Blossom Special is one of Fiddlerman’s favorites…

Asa

Awww, thanks, Scott! That means a lot! 😍

Awww, thanks, Scott! That means a lot! 😍

Asa

Thanks for your feedback, Susan! 😃

Thanks for your feedback, Susan! 😃

Asa

Thanks for reading, Luis!

Thanks for reading, Luis!

Jane

Oh, please! Not Orange Blossom Special!

Oh, please! Not Orange Blossom Special!

Susan Call Hutchison

Excellent roundup of fiddle tunes! Mark Connor’s performance of “Boil Them Cabbage Down” is proof positive that you don’t need a complicated composition to make great music – when you are a great musician.

Excellent roundup of fiddle tunes! Mark Connor’s performance of “Boil Them Cabbage Down” is proof positive that you don’t need a complicated composition to make great music – when you are a great musician.

Scott Sabo

Just another reason you guys are so great…Ty for being so much more than an (instrument) store.

Just another reason you guys are so great…Ty for being so much more than an (instrument) store.

Luis

Very nice…Thank you

Very nice…Thank you

Paul

I play fiddle (Soloist) in a weekly jam with mountain dulcimers, guitars, banjos and mandolins. We do play Old Joe, Bile and Ashokan, along with many other old time, Celtic and other tunes. Your rendition of Ashokan Farewell is very unique. The drone part really brings out the Scottish aspect of the tune.

I play fiddle (Soloist) in a weekly jam with mountain dulcimers, guitars, banjos and mandolins. We do play Old Joe, Bile and Ashokan, along with many other old time, Celtic and other tunes. Your rendition of Ashokan Farewell is very unique. The drone part really brings out the Scottish aspect of the tune.

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