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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tune Of The Week (01/07/11) - Westphalia Waltz

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

banjo_brad - Posted - 01/06/2011:  18:42:14

Westphalia Waltz. Not really a very common tune on Clawhammer banjo, but one I've enjoyed working out.

The history I've been able to piece together (and I noticed some links I've saved have disappeared from the web) leads me to believe it is possibly Polish in origin, where the title is "Pytala Sie Panni," which translates to "Why are you sad, Lady?"

It possibly immigrated into Province, France in the 13th century, or possibly into Germany, where it was learned by Cotton Collins, a fiddle player for the legendary Lone Star Playboys, while he was stationed there in 1946.

I've heard that the name came from dancers in Westphalia, Texas.

There is also information on Fiddlers Companion about the tune (The entry from Fiddlers Companion is also on the notes page of the tab).

Lyrics were added by Mickey Newbury, apparently after the tune came to America:

Westphalia Texas Waltz
Lyrics by: Mickey Newbury

"He said to her "My little darlin',
You're as lovely as I did recall,
and her eyes brightly sparkled like diamonds,
as her tears started slowly to fall.

Oh yes I can clearly remember,
he said with a slow Texas drawl,
and she smiled as she softly surrendered,
to the strains of the Westphalia Waltz.

Instrumental till key change up:

He stood as the sun in the mornin',
rose up on Wichita Falls,
and there in the dim light she watched,
as he sauntered on off down the hall,

Oh yes I can clearly remember,
he said with a slow Texas drawl,
and she smiled as she softly surrendered,
to the strains of the Westphalia Waltz,

Instrumental till final verse:

Oh yes I can clearly remember,
that night and San Antone Rose,
she smiled as she softly surrendered,
to the strains of the Westphalia Waltz."

It seems this might be a slightly different version, since the tune I play and have tabbed doesn't change keys.

Anyway, here is my tab:

Westphalia Waltz in Tabledit (.tef).

And a very rough recording (I'm working with a split on the end of my thumb, and had to use my index finger, since I broke the nail to the quick on my usual frazzling finger). I did attempt to add a little rhythm guitar track, also.

Westphalia Waltz

I know Bluesage Music has (or had) a tab, and it is quite different from the one I worked up, I'm not sure if there are other CH tabs or recordings about.


frailin - Posted - 01/07/2011:  05:32:39

Excellent selection, Brad. And here it is again... masterfully played by our own David Brooks.

This rendition remains my favorite waltz of all, here at the Hangout. David plays it with such meaning. I LOVE it!!

Edited by - frailin on 01/07/2011 05:37:26

DonAbq - Posted - 01/07/2011:  06:17:48

Check out Mike Iverson's version on his site.


banjo_brad - Posted - 01/07/2011:  12:40:11

Craig - That's a really nice version.

I might add here that I first heard the tune back around 2003 when I picked up a CD at Crackerbarrel, "Old Time Gathering." I started a thread on ezFolk that lead me to the on-line info I have, then found notes in a Craig Duncan fiddle method book. I picked out the melody on guitar, and spent the next few years attempting to work up a CH version based on that tune. So, it took me something like 7 years, but I finally got something that works for me (except when I try to record it [;(] ).

When I get my fingernail and thumb back into playing order, I'll try to get a better recording up.


dbrooks - Posted - 01/07/2011:  14:59:52


Thank you once again for that compliment about Westphalia Waltz. It's been 4 years since I posted that tune, and I still remember your first encouraging words about my version. All of us have insecurities about our playing, and your encouragement at that time meant so much to me and I still get a glow when I think about it. Your positive energy has boosted many others as well, I'm sure. In my own small way, I have tried to be as encouraging to others as you have been to so many. I doubt I come close, but I do believe in the power of an encouraging word and positive energy.



Tamarack - Posted - 01/08/2011:  05:21:12

Thanks Banjo Brad! Ain't nothin' like a waltz!

tom elder - Posted - 01/08/2011:  06:58:53

I do this 3 finger ,on the 2nd. part some folks do a nice guitar walk down going to major 7 flatted 7,i usually don't care for a major 7 but it sounds good here, to me.

banjo_brad - Posted - 01/08/2011:  12:06:30

When I play guitar back-up, I start each part with a chord walk-down G-Bm-Em-G, with the first Chord an E shape barred at the 3rd fret.


Karen Kruske - Posted - 01/08/2011:  19:23:25

Brad, that's a really nice version, very soothing. Great job. Thanks.

kingfisher500 - Posted - 01/09/2011:  06:28:08

Nice tune and a good tab. Enjoyed playing it.

u k sandra - Posted - 01/09/2011:  13:22:13

Mary Z Cox does a nice version.

u k sandra - Posted - 01/09/2011:  13:22:14

Mary Z Cox does a nice version.

strokestyle - Posted - 01/10/2011:  12:39:01

Nice choice! Love hearing waltzes on the banjo. Nice playing.

Dave Douglass - Posted - 01/20/2011:  08:37:04

My friend Joe Weed has spent a lot of time and effort digging up the history of the Westphalia Waltz. He's made a documentary about his detective work. I still haven't seen it but I want to. Go to: and clilck on "documentaries" to see photos and info about it.


banjo_brad - Posted - 01/20/2011:  10:00:16

Thanks, Dave. Interesting information.


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