Cotton-Eyed Joe

FIDDLE LEVEL TWO

Welcome to Cotton-Eyed Joe Fiddle Lesson Level Two.  In this lesson we will introduce the Nashville Shuffle!  Before you start the lesson, please watch your instructor, Jim Wood perform the song so you understand what you should be able to play at completion of this song level.  Also, ensure you have a firm understanding of Cotton-Eyed Joe Fiddle Lesson Level One and be sure to watch the Essential Technique Lesson – Shuffle Patterns.

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02:01

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.

 

Below you may download the sheet music that Jim is playing on the fiddle.  Just click the Sheet Music Icon and print.  You can also download the guitar chords and piano accompaniment by selecting the appropriate icon and print.

Cotton-Eyed Joe

Sheet Music

Cotton-Eyed Joe

Guitar Chords

Cotton-Eyed Joe

Piano Accompaniment

In this video Jim will provide step by step instructions to play this song.  Play the video in small pieces and follow along with your fiddle per Jim’s instruction.  Use the sheet music as a reference as this is good practice in improving your reading skills.  After memorizing as small section of the song, continue this process until completing the lesson!  Remember to use the video AB looping feature to repeat any sections of the song and refer to the sheet music!

Lesson

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05:13

The below fiddle track is the song played by Jim to so you can now play along with Jim. Remember, you can slow the tempo in the lower left side to progress slowly and build up speed.  We suggest starting with a tempo of 0.5x or half speed.  If 0.5x is too fast to play with, you have the option to slow the tempo as low as 0.25x.  Also, when playing along with Jim, be sure the notes are in tune with his notes in the recording.  This is called intonation.  You may have to adjust your finger postion on the fingerboard to get exactly in tune.  Reminder to be sure to reset the speed to 1X when leaving the video.  The music is displayed and scrolls as need, so maximize your screen for best visibility.  You are now on your way to fiddling!

Fiddle Track

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You are now ready to play along with Jim backing you up on the instruments!  Again, slow the speed to get started.  When you can play along with Jim cleanly and in tune at the speed of 1X, you are ready to proceed to the next lesson!  Congratulations.  Remember to set the speed back to 1X prior to leaving the lesson.

Backing Track

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01:57

Congratulations!  You have successfully completed the Level Two Lesson!  With our exclusive Helix Learning System, you’ll continue with the same song but progress to a new skill. Keep going with Cotton-Eyed Joe Level Three where you will learn the slurred bowing, triplets, and adding sixteenth notes to the melody!

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