Soldier’s Joy

This is an online fiddle lesson for the fiddle tune "Soldier's Joy." is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Old Time, Bluegrass
Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Key of D

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Video #1: Here is a video of me playing the fiddle tune "Soldier's Joy." I play the beginner break first, then the two intermediate breaks.

Soldier's Joy - online fiddle lessons

Soldier's Joy - Online Fiddle Lessons

Soldier's Joy - Online Fiddle Lessons

"Soldier's Joy" is a fiddle tune, classified as a reel or country dance. It is popular in the American fiddle canon but traces its origin to Scottish fiddling traditions. It has been played in Scotland for over 200 years, and Robert Burns used it for the first song of his cantata 'The Jolly Beggars'. According to documentation at the United States Library of Congress, it is "one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes" and is rated in the top ten most-played Old Time Fiddle tune. According to the Illinois Humanities Center, the tune dates as early as the 1760s. In spite of its upbeat tempo and catchy melody, the term "soldier's joy" has a much darker meaning than is portrayed by the tune. This term eventually came to refer to the combination of whiskey, beer, and morphine used by Civil War soldiers.

Like many pure tunes with ancient pedigree, the melody of Soldier's Joy has been used as a basis for construction of songs, which, unlike pure tunes, have lyrics. Robert Burns wrote lyrics for the tune in which a dismembered, homeless veteran sarcastically recounts his delight with battle. The tune came to represent pain killers during the Civil War.

Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy, you know what I mean
I don’t want to hurt no more my leg is turnin’ green
Twenty-five cents for whiskey, twenty-five cents for beer
Twenty-five cents for morphine, get me out of here.

From wikipedia

Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Soldier's Joy

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #37050

    Thanks John! That s one of those classic tunes that’s been on my “must learn” list for far too long. I’m on it


    <p>That’s a good one!  I like it.  I’ve been stuck playing it kinda the same way since I started playing the fiddle…I just haven’t known what to do with it.  This lesson gives it a little kick!  Nice!</p>


    John , thank you so much for putting this up , and with lyrics too :O) I love the 3 versions and sum , I had learned this one from one of your Johns youtube fiddle lessons some time ago , and now this really allows me to spice it up a bit and LOOOOve the Mp3 back up for practice AWESOME ,
    MERCI :O)

    John (BGD)

    Thank you! This is definitely a “must learn” tune. Hope you like the variations!


    <p>John, Thank you for all the heart in your music. Can’t wait to start practicing ! Rheba</p>


    Been working on the beginner’s part of Soldier’s Joy and and seem to have a bit of a handle on it now.   Will begin the intermediate one soon.  Love this melody!   Practice Ashoken Farewell at least once or more daily as well as Edelweiss even though I’ve nearly gotten them fairly well memorized.  What a pleasure to “polish up” a song after getting it into  shape!

    John (BGD)

    Ralph, that’s great news! I’m looking forward to having you in the compilation.


    I’m really enjoying this one. I have a long way to go. Playing that second part smoothly/ fluidly all the way through is proving a real challenge for me. Kind of see where the word “reel” comes from…….

    John (BGD)

    This is going to be a “reely” fun compilation. 🙂

    Thanks you all for working hard on this tune.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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