Cotton-Eyed Joe

As played by Eck Robertson from the Texas region

Reel or Breakdown in G

From the Eck Robertson Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)


Field Recording of Eck Robertson


I have to say that as much as I admire Eck Robertson, I can't stand his version of Cotton-Eyed Joe.  I think this version is most useful for frightening small children.  It just sounds creepy.  Most of the F#s were played natural, and some of the Es were played a little sharp, giving it a spooky feeling.  (If Stephen King were to write a horror story about a fiddler, that fiddler would be playing this.)  If you want a more traditional-sounding version, play all Fs as F#s and play all the Es at correct pitch.

For you bowing pattern buffs, note that Robertson used Georgia Shuffle bowing pattern for first two beats of first and third measures of both lines in B part.  (The pattern starts in the previous measures.)

Tune to DDAD, with the lowest D an octave below the next D.

This tune is a member of the following groups:


Texas Fiddle

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