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The Double File, correct chords and Melody! (as Doc & Gaither played it)

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Sep 9, 2019 - 4:11:21 PM
8 posts since 9/9/2019

I listen to dock and Gaither Carlton play this tune at the Ash Grove and Doc was playing with his brother and with Gaither. the tune has been misinterpreted by many people as having a seventh chord in the early part of the tune it doesn't go from a A note to a G, the note is closer to a g sharp and the cord the Doc used to accompany that part of the melody was not a chord with a G in it, but a to 2minor, which in this case would make it a B minor in the key of A!!! The 1st 3 notes then are: A, C# (NOT C), B, and the B is accompanied by a Bminor chord (which is what Doc did!).
Doc also said that this was a very old tune and that got me to thinking I used to go to a folk dance Cafe run by Greek people and the first part of the tune comes from a Greek tune I heard there! That's a common chord change in Greek music to go from a 1 to a 2 minor. Doc was really insightful when he said it was a really old tune! The Fuzzy MTN bunch really BUTCHERED the tune by changing the 2nd note to a C, that completely destroys the original feel of the tune, I guess their hearing was really fuzzy!

Sep 9, 2019 - 4:15:30 PM

Thinman

USA

8 posts since 9/9/2019

sorry I started off wrong by saying it goes from an A note to a G, I was thinking chords but I corrected myself later in the post as you'll see, I should have said it goes from an A
note to a C sharp or close to a C sharp!

Sep 9, 2019 - 4:33:30 PM

Thinman

USA

8 posts since 9/9/2019

I was referring to this archived topic on the double file, fiddlehangout.com/archive/36960

Sep 9, 2019 - 7:38:04 PM

DougD

USA

9203 posts since 12/2/2007
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Did you mean to post an audio file of you playing this tune this way? That's what this forum is for, and I'd like to hear it. Makes it easier to understand what you mean.
Also, I didn't know Doc ever performed with his brothers, or that they even played music. Do you know who it was? And when?
Thanks.

Edited by - DougD on 09/09/2019 19:42:32

Sep 9, 2019 - 8:07:41 PM

205 posts since 12/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Thinman

I was referring to this archived topic on the double file, fiddlehangout.com/archive/36960


these chords used are   A  A2  G

Sep 9, 2019 - 8:16:30 PM
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4204 posts since 9/26/2008

Here is Doc and Gaither

https://youtu.be/J7LX6SpClAc

Sep 9, 2019 - 9:38:18 PM

Thinman

USA

8 posts since 9/9/2019

quote:Originally posted by DougDDid you mean to post an audio file of you playing this tune this way? That's what this forum is for, and I'd like to hear it. Makes it easier to understand what you mean.
Also, I didn't know Doc ever performed with his brothers, or that they even played music. Do you know who it was? And when?
Thanks.

Sep 9, 2019 - 9:44:42 PM

Thinman

USA

8 posts since 9/9/2019

Actually another replied after you did and posted a link to Doc backing up Gaither, you will see and hear, the 2nd cord he plays is Bminor (2m), in the key of A! He played with Gaither and his brother Arnold (harmonica) at the Ashgrove circa 1965, as a trio. Somewhere I have a reel to reel tape of it.

Sep 9, 2019 - 9:47:02 PM

Thinman

USA

8 posts since 9/9/2019

The link to Doc playing it was posted just before yours

Sep 11, 2019 - 9:47:02 AM
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131 posts since 1/3/2019

The melody begins on an E note and the next not is a sharpened G, not quite G#. The chord Doc plays for these is A.

His progression goes A Bm E A on the high part And A E A on the low. Nothing too fancy, but the Bm is nice.

These slight sharp or flat notes (especially third intervals)  are pretty common in traditional fiddling and players now (and then) made choices about what chords to play based on what they heard. On a different "note"... I notice more often modern fiddlers struggling with catching the sharpened 4ths many of the old players used.

As far as "butchered"... I think that's just what most guitar players have historically done to old time tunes ;)

Edited by - ShawnCraver on 09/11/2019 09:50:57

Sep 13, 2019 - 1:54:50 AM
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2344 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Thinman

 

The Fuzzy MTN bunch really BUTCHERED the tune by changing the 2nd note to a C, that completely destroys the original feel of the tune, I guess their hearing was really fuzzy!


As far as the Fuzzy Mtn... I don't recall really hearing any chords in their version, just fiddle and banjo. nothing that sounds like a G chord. Nor any C note anywhere. Been a while since I listened. I also don't recall being much disturbed by the sound, or it being "butchered". 

But for comparison - https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/double-file  a field recording of Gaither Carlton. from  Tom Carter (Fuzzy); IIRC one of the Owen's (fellow Fuzzy) have another field recording playing with Gaither.

 

quote:
Originally posted by ShawnCraver


As far as "butchered"... I think that's just what most guitar players have historically done to old time tunes ;)

 


As per the title of the post - Correct chords?

Sometimes, no chords are a good choice (or more just I/V dyad). The Guitar chords (esp equal tempered) themselves can change the feel of the tune. And there are some options that are not as chord or major/minor based. There is not a single "correct" that sounds good - just different choices. Not that some are probably bad choices, that don't fit the melodic flavor at all. 

As far as Doc's guitar accompaniment, certainly there is no VII (G) chord; but I'm not sure that he is really playing a Bm triad chord; as it doesn't have the feel of that minor triad. It would probably work, but creates a little different feel.  The B note is also fifth of the V; many folks might find more of a V chord (no third) works well, perhaps with an added note, - often tonic or pentatonic note.  For example, 2 chord (capo 2) x02200; or x02230.  Many guitarists use these devices, inversions, suspensions, or from moving/walking notes, create tension or a directional flow; from say I to V. As well, might put fills to contour the melody, which would sound like an altered chord.

quote:
Originally posted by ShawnCraver


These slight sharp or flat notes (especially third intervals)  are pretty common in traditional fiddling and players now (and then) made choices about what chords to play based on what they heard. On a different "note"... I notice more often modern fiddlers struggling with catching the sharpened 4ths many of the old players used.

 

That is part of the issue. For many players, esp major/minor chord players... it's the idea of only 12 equal tempered notes. If they notice a note that is sharper or flatter than they expect, might overcorrect to next ET spot; and/or rationalize the possible chord.  The question of G or G# for the seventh, is that it sits in spot between, and there is more than one spot. (and old fiddlers didn't always clearly hit it). But there is sweet spot that works best, gives context; are not in isolation, but how they fit, relate to the rest of the notes in the note.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/13/2019 01:57:20

Sep 13, 2019 - 11:34:56 AM

Thinman

USA

8 posts since 9/9/2019

I don't have the fuzzy Mountain recording but when doc accompanies Gaither he plays it as a B minor chord for the second note and if if he heard more of a flatted note (C) he might not have played a minor he would probably have played a G chord but he didn't because he felt that wasn't the right feeling for the tune as I said it probably has Greek origins doc said it was a very old tune Doc has a pretty good feeling for traditional music and that's why he put a B minor in it. It's kind of like playing st. Anne's reel and in the second part using a G for the 2nd chord instead of the traditional Em, it Americanizes (I'd guess that it's Celtic) the tune. We live in a supposedly free country but I prefer traditional music myself and I like to try and to keep to the original traditions to save the flavor those things and not lose them. I don't particularly care for a american cheese for instance! It's all about taste, some have and some......

quote:Originally posted by alaskafiddlerquote:Originally posted by Thinman

The Fuzzy MTN bunch really BUTCHERED the tune by changing the 2nd note to a C, that completely destroys the original feel of the tune, I guess their hearing was really fuzzy!As far as the Fuzzy Mtn... I don't recall really hearing any chords in their version, just fiddle and banjo. nothing that sounds like a G chord. Nor any C note anywhere. Been a while since I listened. I also don't recall being much disturbed by the sound, or it being "butchered".

But for comparison - slippery-hill.com/recording/double-file a field recording of Gaither Carlton. from Tom Carter (Fuzzy); IIRC one of the Owen's (fellow Fuzzy) have another field recording playing with Gaither.

quote:Originally posted by ShawnCraver
As far as "butchered"... I think that's just what most guitar players have historically done to old time tunes ;)

As per the title of the post - Correct chords?

Sometimes, no chords are a good choice (or more just I/V dyad). The Guitar chords (esp equal tempered) themselves can change the feel of the tune. And there are some options that are not as chord or major/minor based. There is not a single "correct" that sounds good - just different choices. Not that some are probably bad choices, that don't fit the melodic flavor at all.

As far as Doc's guitar accompaniment, certainly there is no VII (G) chord; but I'm not sure that he is really playing a Bm triad chord; as it doesn't have the feel of that minor triad. It would probably work, but creates a little different feel. The B note is also fifth of the V; many folks might find more of a V chord (no third) works well, perhaps with an added note, - often tonic or pentatonic note. For example, 2 chord (capo 2) x02200; or x02230. Many guitarists use these devices, inversions, suspensions, or from moving/walking notes, create tension or a directional flow; from say I to V. As well, might put fills to contour the melody, which would sound like an altered chord.quote:Originally posted by ShawnCraver
These slight sharp or flat notes (especially third intervals) are pretty common in traditional fiddling and players now (and then) made choices about what chords to play based on what they heard. On a different "note"... I notice more often modern fiddlers struggling with catching the sharpened 4ths many of the old players used. That is part of the issue. For many players, esp major/minor chord players... it's the idea of only 12 equal tempered notes. If they notice a note that is sharper or flatter than they expect, might overcorrect to next ET spot; and/or rationalize the possible chord. The question of G or G# for the seventh, is that it sits in spot between, and there is more than one spot. (and old fiddlers didn't always clearly hit it). But there is sweet spot that works best, gives context; are not in isolation, but how they fit, relate to the rest of the notes in the note.

Sep 14, 2019 - 10:36:30 AM
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26 posts since 12/16/2016

My take is that you can discuss the approach of the tune as taken by a given artist, or band, and even compare that version to other recordings, but labeling this instance as "definitive" and any other versions as "butchered" is unwarranted. Let's bear in mind our sources themselves are a result of the traditional folk process. Imagine that earlier versions of Double File were played by solo fiddle, solo fretless banjo, or duet of both fretless instruments. At what semi tone does that second note occur? What affect did the addition of the guitar have on the position of that second note? Milliner and Koken avoided the "correct chord" debate by not providing them in their "Collection of American Fiddle Tunes".

I enjoyed hearing fiddler Dave Bing's take on sources and tune versions in the recent documentary now available on Prime Video, "The Crooked Tune" and I'll leave that to the rest of you to enjoy, too. Steve

Sep 14, 2019 - 4:04:21 PM

131 posts since 1/3/2019

I kind of lost track of the conversation. I don't like homogenization. I'm a mountain fiddler who learned from mountain fiddlers and one thing I learned is that a fiddler's music is his music and the guitar player needs to fit with that. I haven't analyzedDoc's Bm too closely. I was thinking it might be a form of Bm7. I haven't heard the Fuzzy Mountain version. I learned the tune from Dick Kimmel and I like the way he recorded it with Bob Bovee and Gail Heil. It's different than Doc and Gaither's, but I like it a lot.  By the way, I happened to play guitar on that album for the title track, "Fishing Creek Blues" which has some terrific clawhammer banjo from Dick. I agree...Milliner and Kokonen did the right thing by leaving out chords.

I like Dave Bing. Where is this doc available at?

Edited by - ShawnCraver on 09/14/2019 16:06:19

Sep 14, 2019 - 7:53:47 PM
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140 posts since 7/31/2018

Shawn, John Salyer referred to the the slightly sharp or flat notes you mention as "wild notes." I rather like that term/description.

Sep 14, 2019 - 10:43:18 PM

4204 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by ShawnCraver

I kind of lost track of the conversation. I don't like homogenization. 

I like Dave Bing. Where is this doc available at?


I lament homogenization too.

I'm watching the movie right now. It is on Amazon prime if you have that. If not, I'm unsure but you Prineville can buy it from Amazon too. It's pretty good - some Lester McCumbers, Frank George (I think - it liked like him but I was out of earshot when that scene opened), Sherman Hammonds... I watched half before playing a dance an hour away, and not finishing it after midnight with a big smile on my face. 

Sep 15, 2019 - 8:05:26 AM

4204 posts since 9/26/2008

Prineville = probably. Late night posting....

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