Chattanooga (Old Chattanooga)

As played by Blaine Smith from the Tennessee region

Reel or Breakdown in G

From the Cumberlands Collection

3 files for this tune:

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


1977 field recording released on the album A Bottle of Wine and Gingercake: Traditional Music from Southeast Tennessee


Chattanooga is a city situated on the Tennessee River, near where Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia meet. Indians of various tribes lived on the site of the modern city, with the origins of the name Chattanooga being variously attributed to the Cherokee and Creek languages. Chattanooga was probably the closest city of any considerable size to Flat Top, Tennessee, where fiddler Blaine Smith resided. Smith reported that he had learned this tune from the father of well-known fiddler Bob Douglas.

This tune is simple and catchy, with little or no ornamentation. The A part is much longer than the B part (six or eight lines vs. two lines) but interest is held by varying the syncopation. The second measure of every line in the A part contains a slide up to B; really drag this slide out over two beats to give it a somewhat bluesy feel.


This tune is a member of the following groups:

Dr. Fiddle's Favorite Breakdowns and Reels

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