Cotton Eyed Joe

As played by John Carson from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in A mixolydian

From the Deep South Collection

3 files for this tune:

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


78rpm Record


This transcription is sponsored by Dr. Fiddle contributor Patrick Towell.

When he recorded Cotton Eyed Joe, Georgia fiddler Carson apparently ignored such trivial concepts such as rhythm and timing. As a result, the recording is a bit of a mess, especially in the vicinity of the squaredance calls. I struggled with it for hours, trying to produce a full transcription that made sense. I eventually gave up, and decided instead to produce a workable arrangement of the tune in the spirit of Carson’s recording. Note that the ending features Spicatto bow strokes (feel free to substitute staccato if you don’t want to bother with Spicatto.)

Cross-tune to AEAE.


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