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(NOTE: I’ll be teaching a live, step by step “tab walk-through” for this tune for Breakthrough Banjo members on Feb. 9. Click here to learn more, and see the full schedule.)
So how did a song about a Native American woman who’s lost her beloved warrior in battle become a standard part of the old time and bluegrass fiddling repertoire?
I’d bet that composer Kerry Mills, who published it back in 1907, didn’t see that coming.
Yet, that’s not an unusual backstory for many of the tunes in the traditional fiddling canon. And why not?
If you’re a fiddler (or banjo player) in the early 20th century looking for good material, why not just play something catchy from the radio?
Strangely, doing such a thing nowadays would be viewed as anathema. Nobody would dare calling out the latest Maroon 5 hit single at their local old time jam, yet one could make a compelling argument that doing such a thing would be preserving a time-honored tradition.
gDGBD 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.