Paddy on the Turnpike

As played by Clark Kessinger from the West Virginia region

Reel or Breakdown in C

From the Clark Kessinger Collection

3 files for this tune:

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


78rpm Record


This tune from West Virginia fiddler Clark Kessinger isn’t what most fiddlers would think of as Paddy on the Turnpike. I don’t know if it is even related to those mixolydian tunes. Kessinger’s tune is a pleasant little breakdown nonetheless. The recording included some dance calls, some of which seemed nonsensical to me. (“Home litle gal and don't you know that I like sugar and coffee-o.” “When you meet her, pat her on the head. If she don't like biscuits, feed her cornbread.” At least I’ve never heard square or contra dance calls such as these.)

The B part goes up to a high C. Kessinger probably went up to second or third position, which seems to have given him intonation problems. He played some notes flatted on occasion that I believe he meant to be natural. I have notated them as played. Also look out for double-stops requiring both an E and a G. This shows up with an E on the fourth string and a G on the third string, and also an octave higher with an E on the second string and a G on the first string.

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Paddy on the Turnpike

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