Click on the button below to get the PDF download for this tab delivered to you, and get 2 new tunes and tabs sent to you every week!
Big Sciota. Or Scioto. Or Scioti. Or Scioty….
The only point over which everyone seems to agree is that the “c” should be silent. I think.
Regardless of what trisyllabic moniker you choose to refer to it by, it remains a 231-mile stretch of river in Ohio, one that was important to many Native American cultures (from which the orthographically contentious name for it was derived)
“Big Sciota” began life as an instrumental fiddle tune, credited to Burl Hammons. Somewhere along the way a lyrical tributary was added. My research indicates that Ritchie Stearns was the first to attach words to this melody. Later on, the song was covered by Old Crow Medicine Show, sending it semi-mainstream (ahh, wordplay).
As such, these days you may hear it in multiple circles. It’s a staple in bluegrass jams, but is equally at home amongst those with old-time, folk, and Americana-ish tendencies.
The melody for the sung version differs slightly from how it’s typically rendered on fiddle. Here, I’ve kept the banjo solos more in line with the fiddle melody, in hopes of keeping the best of both worlds.
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 3-4
Notes on the Tab
In the tab above, you’ll note I’ve tabbed out both a “lead break” (something to play in between verses) and the “vocal backup” (what I play while I’m singing).
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes – to learn more about skips and syncopated skips, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
PRIOR SONG OF THE WEEK EPISODES
- Episode 1: “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
- Episode 2: “Gumtree Canoe”
- Episode 3: “Crawdad Hole”
- Episode 4: “Oh Susanna”
- Episode 5: “Freight Train”
- Episode 6: “Grandfather’s Clock”
- Episode 7: “Hop High Lulu”
- Episode 8: “Been All Around This World”
- Episode 9: “I’ll Fly Away”
- Episode 10: “Leaving Home”
- Episode 11: “Poor Orphan Child”
- Episode 12: “Mr. Tambourine Man”
- Episode 13: “Swanee River”
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.