Today I have played some tunes from Butch Baldassari’s book 30 Fiddle Tunes for Mandolin Taught by Butch Baldassari – including a tune named “Sugar in the Gourd” which was fun to play.
I have looked for some youtube videos and found some great performances of this tune as well as some very old recordings like the following recorded in 1930:
SUGAR IN THE GOURD by Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers with Riley Puckett and Clayton McMichen. Recorded in 1930. Good, old timey foot stompin’ hillbilly music. Enjoy!
Sugar in the Gourd is an oldtime tune, but it is also a tune that can be played in a bluegrass style. It is mostly played by the fiddle, the other instruments are mostly playing the acompaniment.
I recommend that you listen to my playlist and select your favorite version of the tune. The tune is a fast tune, a good tune to practice speed.
Sugar in the gourd was the song of the week in the Mandolin Cafe in May 2012 – in the thread about this tune you can find more information and other videos with mandolins.
Playlist “Sugar in the Gourd”
I can recommend the Butch Baldassari book – the tunes are all great to play and the CD that comes with the book helps to play the tunes properly.
You can find some free sheet music links for Sugar in the Gourd in my link collection sugar in the gourd
“30 Fiddle Tunes for Mandolin Taught by Butch Baldassari” (amazon partnerlink)
I have recently started working on a new tune with my student – Dargason.
This tune goes back to John Playfords book about dancing – it just one line of music with instructions how to dance to the tune.
On the abc notation website you can find this tune as well:
This tune is related to the very popular tune Irish Washerwoman which has a very similar melody in the first part.
Dargason is a great example what you can do with a simple tune when you work with it creatively. Swedish composer Gustav Holst who is best known for his “Planets” suite has composed the St. Paul’s Suite for String Orchestra. The Finale from this suite is based on Dargason which is played over and over while the other instruments play chords, accompaniment or counterpoint – including the usage of another famous melody – Greensleeves. A fascinating piece which was invented by working creatively with this one-line melody from the 17th century.
As this composition belongs to the public domain ther are no restrictions for arrangements. I was happy to find the following version played by the San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra:
San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra – Dargason
Including versions for String Orchestra, lute, harp ensemple, maqrching band, percussion ensemble, recorder and more:
Sheet music – Dargason – The Dancing Master
In the Petrucci Library you can find the original source “The Dancing Master” by John Playford in several editions:
John Playford – The Dancing Master:
You can find the St. Paul’s Suite in the original version for string orchestra and in an arrangement for 15 saxophones.
Gustav Holst – St. Paul’s Suite: