Under the Double Eagle

As played by Clark Kessinger from the West Virginia region

March in C and F

From the Clark Kessinger Collection

3 files for this tune:

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


78rpm Record


I always thought that the double eagle in the title of this march referred to a $20 gold coin, but the Fiddler’s Companion reveals that it actually refers to the double-headed eagle emblem of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. The tune was written by a military bandleader in that empire; how it came into the old time repertoire (and thence into the bluegrass repertoire) is anyone’s guess. The double-headed eagle is also the symbol of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (in which I hold the 32nd degree), and the symbol actually predates both the Rite and the Empire.

Kessinger played it very well and fairly straightforward. He played it twice through, always playing the A part twice and the B part once. The A part is in the key of A, while the B part is in the key of F. He used an awful lot of vibrato, which is denoted in the transcription by squiggly lines to the left of notes to be played vibrato. Be careful of the high C in the A part; at least we get to slide up to it.

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