Arkansaw (Arkansas) Traveler

As played by Gid Tanner from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in D

From the Skillet Lickers 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.

Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett recorded this version of Arkansaw Traveler [sic] in 1924. They recorded it as a skit, with spoken dialogue between interludes of fiddling. This is actually how Arkansas Traveler was originally performed, with the spoken sections as a dialogue between a traveler and a hillbilly farmer. The traveler is the straight man, while the farmer acts incredibly dense, intentionally misunderstanding everything the traveler says.

When looking at this transcription, it is important to remember that Gid Tanner was first and foremost an entertainer, not a fiddler. His fiddling was a means to an end, not an end in itself. When he was in fine minstrel fettle, he ignored such fiddling trivialities as rhythm and timing. So this transcription, like many others of Gid Tanner’s fiddling, is rather crooked. You will notice a well-defined A part and a B part, but never complete in a single interlude. Most instances of the B part are short one beat. The A parts in the intro and fourteenth interlude are short one beat, while the A part in the second interlude is short two beats.


This tune is a member of the following groups:

Arkansas Traveler

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