In the second week of the Trad Academy ‘Play Folk Tunes’ course, we covered two American old-time fiddle tunes (dance tunes in 4/4 time from the southern states of America, usually Appalachia). ‘Cumberland Gap’ is a well-known standard. There are many different versions around, we did a 3-part version in D. It’s also a tune that is often sung to – I wouldn’t call it a song as the singing is only in one small part of the tune. We also did another well-known tune ‘Rock the Cradle Joe’, a 2-part tune in D.
Here’s a video of me playing the tunes:
I play ‘potatoes’ (a long-short-short shuffle rhythm on one note) to start each tune. ‘Cumberland Gap’ is first up to speed, then a bit slower at 1.38 (with a bit of singing – not warmed up, and I haven’t mastered playing the tune and singing the slightly different tune at the same time!). ‘Rock the Cradle Joe’ is at 4.30 up to speed and then slower at 5.55.
The chords are open to interpretation. You will rarely hear an old-time guitarist play any chords apart from D, G and A when playing in D, but the changes could be put in different places.
Enjoy playing tunes!