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Nov 29, 2021 - 8:53:39 PM
328 posts since 2/10/2020

I'm trying to learn the tune, The Cuckoo (not the song, The Cuckoo's Nest). There are several youtube videos from various artists, and most of them seem to be playing it in the same way, more or less, and I don't think it's in a standard tuning. Here's a version for example:

youtube.com/watch?v=pauF12hJjLM

Can anyone figure out the tuning here, or know off the top of their heads the traditional alt tuning for this song?

Thanks.

Nov 30, 2021 - 5:23:17 AM

RobBob

USA

2832 posts since 6/26/2007

Probably cross tuned AEAE or GDGD or some iteration of that. You could easily play it in standard tuning as well.

Nov 30, 2021 - 6:17:29 AM

DougD

USA

10648 posts since 12/2/2007

I guess this song was fairly widespread, but most modern versions come from the 1920's recording by Clarence "Tom" Ashley, which was included in Harry Smith's "Anthology of American Folk Music."
The people you're listening to "seem to be playing it in the same way" because they're just mimicing the melody from the banjo, as Rhiannon is doing in that video. I don't think there's a "traditional alt tuning tuning" for it because it wasn't usually played on the fiddle.
Here's a great YouTube of Tom Ashley playing and singing the song - you'll notice that Fred Price is just standing there listening. youtu.be/VwlOO8RG-og
Good luck!

Edited by - DougD on 11/30/2021 06:20:02

Nov 30, 2021 - 8:51:37 AM

doryman

USA

328 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

I guess this song was fairly widespread, but most modern versions come from the 1920's recording by Clarence "Tom" Ashley, which was included in Harry Smith's "Anthology of American Folk Music."
The people you're listening to "seem to be playing it in the same way" because they're just mimicing the melody from the banjo, as Rhiannon is doing in that video. I don't think there's a "traditional alt tuning tuning" for it because it wasn't usually played on the fiddle.
Here's a great YouTube of Tom Ashley playing and singing the song - you'll notice that Fred Price is just standing there listening. youtu.be/VwlOO8RG-og
Good luck!


And Mr. Ashley is playing that in Sawmill tuning!

Nov 30, 2021 - 9:32 AM

DougD

USA

10648 posts since 12/2/2007

Yes, which he also calls "lassy makin" tuning because he sang songs like this during the nghts when people tended the fire while they boiled down sorghum to make molasses.
I thought you were looking for a fiddle tuning, and I don't think there is one because its not traditionally a fiddle tune, at least around here. I don't think its very interesting on the fiddle but I'm not against playing it on other instruments. Just for fun I'm attaching a ukulele version I recorded some years ago.


Nov 30, 2021 - 12:12:29 PM

doryman

USA

328 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Yes, which he also calls "lassy makin" tuning because he sang songs like this during the nghts when people tended the fire while they boiled down sorghum to make molasses.
I thought you were looking for a fiddle tuning, and I don't think there is one because its not traditionally a fiddle tune, at least around here. I don't think its very interesting on the fiddle but I'm not against playing it on other instruments. Just for fun I'm attaching a ukulele version I recorded some years ago.


It's not interesting to you on the fiddle because you can play the fiddle.  I'm a banjo player learning to play the fiddle.  When I hear a song that seems playable to me now (that's not twinkle twinkle little star or boil em down cabbage) it's automatically interesting to me.  Along similar lines, for me, the Cuckoo is not all that interesting to play on the banjo!

Specifically, I just want to know what tuning Ms Giddens is using in the clip I posted.  I will try the tunings Robert suggested, above. 

Nov 30, 2021 - 12:33:19 PM

DougD

USA

10648 posts since 12/2/2007

Looks like she's using her pinkie to get the high note so its probably an A type scale, but they're in G, so she's probably tuned GDgd. As Bob said, you could probably play it in standard too.
I don't think its too interesting because it only really has two phrases. What I like on the banjo is that Flamenco guitar technique that Tom Ashley used. Do you do that?

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