Black Mountain Rag

This is an online fiddle lesson for the fiddle tune "Black Mountain Rag."  This tune is by special request for Chuck Ryan.

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Genre: Old Time, Bluegrass
Skill Level: Intermediate
Key of A

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

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Black Mountain Rag - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Black Mountain Rag - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Black Mountain Rag - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Black Mountain Rag - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Black Mountain Rag - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

 

The Black Mountain Rag is one of the most recorded tunes in fiddle repertoire, most famously by Doc & Merle Watson in the 1980s. The Black Mountain is supposedly a particular stretch of mountains in North Carolina. A Rag is a type of music now most common in Jazz that is based on elaborately syncopated rhythm with a steadily accented accompaniment.

Leslie Keith, a fiddle player with the Stanley Brothers, supposedly wrote the tune in the late 1930's.  (wikipedia.org)

The piece became popular in the late 1930's. It was claimed by fiddler Leslie Keith (who is featured on the very first recordings of the Stanley Brothers), who said he wrote it in the late 1930's after taking "a little bit of" 'The Lost Child', and " a little of two or three of the Carter Family's tunes." He named it "Black Mountain Blues" after the name of a mountain in Cumberland County, Tenn., however, "The Lost Child" is the basic melody for the tune. Curly Fox changed the name from "Black Mountain Blues" to "Black Mountain Rag" on his 1947 recording for King, which eventually sold over 600,000 copies. Several ‘black mountains’ have been suggested as the one referred to in the title, including one of the tallest peaks east of the Mississippi, Mount Mitchell. Mitchell was apparently called by various names in the past, beginning with Grey Eagle (due to a rock formation on its side). Later it became known as Black Mountain because of the dark appearance of the balsams at the top. The tune appears in a list of "traditional" fiddle tunes common to the Ozark Mountains, compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph in 1954. It was also a favorite "trick" fiddling tune in the Texas tradition. (The Fiddler's Companion)

Posted in Bluegrass, Intermediate, OldTime Tagged with:

Best Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Black Mountain Rag

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  John Cockman 2 months ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #9531

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    This is an online fiddle lesson for the fiddle tune “Black Mountain Rag.”  This tune is by special request for Chuck Ryan.

    Black Mountain Rag

    #9565
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    Thanks! You are keeping me busy!!! So glad I joined this site!

    #9579

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thank you Cricket! It is keeping me busy too 🙂

    #9604
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    I know these detailed lessons must be a lot of work…I sure appreciate them! My playing has improved quite a bit since I’ve been here, too. I guess we’re all staying good and busy, and outta trouble! Good for us!!! If only the rest if the world would join us

    #11572
    kevinj
    kevinj
    Participant

    Hi John,

    Question 1, am I missing something, or is there no performance version of the rag showing what it sounds like? All the MP3s are jam tracks (no fiddle), and none of the videos show you playing it at speed…

    Question 2, is it possible to play the song in standard tuning (even if you can’t do the notes you show with the calico tuning). I’m thinking I don’t really want to mess with the tuning on my fiddle, just for one song.

    #11576

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    This lesson is incomplete as of 11/8/14.

    #51670

    tylerdean
    Participant

    Hi John

    I am most interested in seeing this lesson in standard tuning. It’s one of the songs I heard that inspired to to play. Thank you.

    #51697

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the reminder!

    #52509

    Sandra Lefenfeld
    Participant

    Hello.  I am new to the site and was delighted to find Black Mountain Rag being taught. I would love to hear the version you are teaching (in the calico tuning) at speed, but can’t seem to find it on the site.  Where would I find it? Thank you!

     

    #52530

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Hi Sandra, I updated the lesson to include Buddy Spicher playing the break that I teach below. I need to finish off the lesson in standard tuning!

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