Key of A modal – aEADE
Modal melody per Mel Durham and Henry Reed
Yes! It is probably “cold and frosty” where you are and even out here in sunny Southern Arizona where Dan spends most of his winters there have been a few of those days. So, he thought what better way to spend those cold frosty days than to be inside warm and practicing this one.
It is in the key that is referred to as A modal so your C and G notes are natural instead of sharp as in the key of A major. (Please don’t ask us to explain modes of music. There is more than one mode. Get a music theory book if you want to understand this any better). This is what gives this tune – and other so called modal tunes their minor, dark sound.
The melody of this version is based upon the tune as it was collected from both Henry Reed and Mel Durham. You can hear it on their recordings. Another great recording of this tune on fiddle is Chirps Smith from his Home Recordings Volume 4. It is clean and clear and easy to get the melody from.
When you play this tune with other folks you may find that in the beginning of the B part many people play an A major chord. Why? Who knows, that is just the way most of the folks we've heard play it played it. And, yes, we like the A major chord there. You can choose. Want to keep the modal sound all the way through, just use the Am. Like always, that choice remains up to you and the folks you play with.