Cotton-Eyed Joe Harmony
Fiddle Level Three
Cotton-Eyed Joe — “Cotton-Eyed Joe” has remained one of the most popular fiddle tunes of all time, and it roots go well back into the early nineteenth century. It was a standard in early minstrelsy, Southern string bands all played it, and it still lives on as the most famous of the Texas dance hall fiddle tunes. An African American folk tale tells of a slave named Joe, who, upon the losing his only son in an accident, grieved to the point where his hair and eyes both turned solid white. After a few months had passed, Joe witnessed his dead son’s body and the tree trunk from which his casket was made as they morphed together and magically became a fiddle. When Joe played the fiddle, he could hear the voice of his deceased son singing, and he was able to face his grief and begin to live again.