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“Ducks in the millpond, Geese in the ocean;
Hug them pretty girls, If I take a notion.”
So begin the words that are occasionally sung to today’s installment of the Tune of the Week, “Ducks on the Millpond.”
Understandably, this tune is sometimes confused with the fiddle tune “Ducks on the Pond.” So if you find yourself in the company of other old-time-fiddle-tune-loving musicians and want to offer this one up as a selection, make sure you know the pond to which you’re referring.
Most versions of this tune are traced back to fiddler Emmett Lundy of Grayson County, VA (1865-1953), who was recorded playing it by Alan Lomax in 1941. Lundy reportedly learned most of this tunes from local fiddler Greenbury Leonard, who fellow musicians referred to as “the best there ever was.”
Leonard was born sometime in the early 19th Century. Where he picked up “Ducks on the Millpond” – if he is indeed Lundy’s source – is unknown.
So more than likely, it’s a tune that’s survived two centuries, at the least. I say we keep it around for many more!
Playing Notes: The “Galax lick” appears in this tune in the 10th measure, as indicated by the up arrow. For those unfamiliar with the technique, you’ll find a playlist of videos demonstrating this and other techniques in this article all about reading the tabs.
Ducks on the Millpond
aDADE tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
[RELATED: Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.
Click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault