For years fiddlers and folklorists have prized the old-time fiddle
tunes from Kentucky. Many of the most outstanding country music
artists hail from the state, including Bill Monroe, widely regarded as
the founder of bluegrass music. Even Aaron Copland lifted, note-for-note,
a Kentucky fiddler’s performance of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” for
the “Hoedown” section of his ballet Rodeo.
That tune and nearly 200 others are transcribed here, most for the
first time. They are taken from recordings of Kentucky fiddlers, many
of whom were born before 1900, practitioners of a style of playing
now extremely rare. Jeff Todd Titon places the tunes in their historical
context, provides biographical sketches of the performers, and
offers suggestions for contemporary fiddlers who want to use the
book for performance. A compact disc of recordings is also included.
- Jeff Todd Titon, professor of music and
director of the Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology at Brown University,
is the author of numerous books on American music, including "Early