Notes on the Tunes

3 play 4 5
previous track play sample next track tracklist

8. Old Sledge

Many West Virginia fiddlers play a version of this tune, but Melvin Wine’s setting is a combination of his father and Jack McElwain. The Hammons, Carpenters, Wines, Ed Haley and many other fiddlers all made the pilgrimage to learn tunes from “Uncle Jack.” A “sledge” is an old English name for a horse-drawn “sleigh.” (Webster’s Dictionary 1852) “Old Sledge” was also a card game played on the frontier. The unusual tuning is one of many “scordatura” tunings common to fiddlers of the Upper South, though this one seems confined to West Virginia. Melvin called it the “discord key.”

Chris’ fiddle AEAD (low-high)