Uncle Pen

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Uncle Pen." BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Bluegrass
Skill Level: Intermediate
Key of A

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To learn "Jenny Lynn," which is played near the end of Bill Monroe's "Uncle Pen," follow this link.

Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the fiddle tune "Uncle Pen."

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Uncle Pen." BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Uncle Pen." BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Uncle Pen." BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

 

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Uncle Pen." BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!


James Pendleton Vandiver (1869–1932) was a Kentucky fiddler, born shortly after the American Civil War. He was uncle to bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, who immortalized him in a song, Uncle Pen.

Monroe used to hear his uncle playing fiddle on the hilltop where he lived, while Monroe put away his mules at night. He later said that Vandiver was "the fellow that I learned how to play from." Vandiver played fiddle at local square dances and social events, and his nephew backed him up, playing mandolin. Monroe's parents had both died by the time he was 16, and he lived part of the time with his Uncle Pen, in his two-room hilltop house in Rosine, Kentucky. Vandiver had been crippled earlier, and he made some money with his music. Bill Monroe's biographer, Richard D. Smith writes, "Pen gave Bill more: a repertoire of tunes that sank into Bill's aurally trained memory and a sense of rhythm that seeped into his bones. Sometimes Bill played guitar behind his uncle, sometimes the mandolin." On September 13, 1973, a monument in honor of Uncle Pen was unveiled by Monroe at the Rosine Cemetery.

Source: wikibooks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_TbkUo66IU

Bill Monroe left Vandiver another memorial, in the words of his song about his uncle:


Uncle Pen

Oh, the people would come from far away
They'd dance all night till the break of day
When the caller hollered do-se-do
You knew Uncle Pen was ready to go

Late in the evening about sundown
High on the hill above the town
Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord, how it would ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing

He played an old piece, he called 'Soldier's Joy'
And the one called 'The Boston Boy'
The greatest of all was 'Jenny Lynn'
To me that's where the fiddle begins

Late in the evening about sundown
High on the hill above the town
Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord, how it would ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing

I'll never forget that mournful day
When Uncle Pen was called away
They hung up his fiddle, they hung up his bow
They knew it was time for him to go

Late in the evening about sundown
High on the hill above the town
Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord, how it would ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing

Late in the evening about sundown
High on the hill above the town
Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord, how it would ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing

Posted in Bluegrass, Intermediate Tagged with:

This topic contains 25 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  John Cockman 1 year ago.

Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)
  • Author
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  • #9138

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune “Uncle Pen.”

    https://bluegrassdaddy.com/uncle-pen-fiddle-lesson/

    #9139

    Anonymous

    Mr. Cockman I would like to thank you for what you are doing for the young folks and even the older ones like me, My name is Jason Holland and I have been teaching myself fiddle and the only beneficial online site has been you on you tube and this site , just wanted to say thank you, jdh979@hotmail.com

    #9140

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thank you Jason! I really appreciate you being here. 🙂 I’m so glad that I’ve been a help to your fiddling. That’s all I want to do!

    #9273

    donnab
    Member

    Hi John. I am jumping around to different lessons instead of trying to master any of them. This one, Uncle Pen, is really hard. Also I don’t see a measure to measure video to open. Just checking on this…i may have missed something. But i wanted to try this one because my brother who is quite a good musician has asked to to try it. I also listened to your new lesson on Hurricane and i like it. Yes…i want it all it seems. But i am just hanging in there and having fun. Thanks for your time and talent. Donna

    #9371

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Hi Donna,
    Thank you for letting me know about the lesson video. This has been a problem with WordPress but it is fixed now. I’m glad to know that you are enjoying sampling so many of the tunes. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

    #32518
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Hello Dr. John,

    Listening to this and reading about the history  makes me want to visit the monument now.   Bill Monroe did some marvelous things with Bluegrass and I didn’t know that Uncle Pen was his uncle.   Touching story!  Thank you.

    #32519
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Yeeehaw ! Great tune , reminds me a little a forked deer and gold rush isms there if i can call them that similar lines :O) This one goes to my list :O)Just LOOOOve that key of A !
    John , Thanks for resetting my membership ! I can join the forum again ! There still seems to be a small problem with the request a song page, and WordPress or however the site is supported has changed for me, I used to have a window that could come and go at the top left of the screen , and my log out at the top right, those features are not there anymore…For example , I used to go there, to see things like,” topics with no reply “or …”new topics since last visit … it s just not there anymore.
    Not complaining as I still can get all the lessons !
    have a great day everyone!
    Gu

    #32535

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Ralph, you are in charge of organizing the BGD field trip!

    Gu, I’m not sure what happened to your top menu… I’ll check into it! Glad you’re back on. 🙂

    #32560
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Wonder if I might have to download wordpress.org maybe… :o(
    It s ok, I can still have fun without the top menu :O)
    Gu

    #32564

    Angela
    Participant

    Maybe try clearing your cookies and cache Gu.

    #32573
    lucy pevensie
    lucy pevensie
    Participant

    For what it’s worth, I think I’m having the same experience Gu is.  I didn’t even notice until he mentioned it, but I now have to page up to the top of the page to see my profile, log out, etc.. Before (I don’t know how long it’s been now) there was a black menu bar that stayed at the top of the screen with a tab at the far right that would pop down to show all those options.  Everything else is functioning normally, so far as I can tell.

    #32595

    Kaeleigh
    Participant

    Would Uncle Pen be considered a difficult intermediate tune? I’m wondering if I’d be biting off more than I could chew! I just really love this song and Bill Monroe!
    Now that I see it mentioned, I have the same problem as Lucy and Gu. It’s not inconvenient though. This really is a pretty flawless website 🙂

    #32603

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Uncle Pen is definitely not out of your reach, Kaeleigh!

    I still see the black menu bar at the top… I’ll try to figure out why it’s not showing up for you all!

    #32610
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    It’s back , it s back ! Whatever you did ,it worked ! thank you, Merci .
    Gu

    #32616
    lucy pevensie
    lucy pevensie
    Participant

    It’s back for me too – Thanks! 🙂

    #32635

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Yep I fixed it! 🙂 Had to write some extra code to my functions.php file in order to show the admin bar with the Woocommerce plugin activated. Success!

    #32644

    Joe
    Participant

    Just got back from a Byron Berline Band concert here at hometown. He played Bob Wills version of Uncle Pen and it was awesome. That guy can really fiddle. Thats such a good song, thanks John for puttin the lesson on.

    #32645

    Joe
    Participant

    Dang I dont know why I said Bob Wills version it was Bill Monroes version of uncle Pen The Byron Berline band performed. Too many names with B in it  haha.

    #32659
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    ‘Mornin’ again,Dr. J,

    Might want to reconsider having me organize the BGD field trip!    Drove to my old home town for a funeral last Wed. and went 35 miles out of the way.  Little Bride caught that and I’ll be trying to live that down…maybe forever!  Almost was late for the services.

    #32759

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Hahaha Ralph, OK, Joe is now in charge of the field trips. Hopefully we’ll get a group together the next time Byron Berline is in town! He is definitely one of the bluegrass greats, and one of my personal heroes.

    #32765

    Joe
    Participant

    Ok now that I am in charge  ha, Everyone come on over first weekend in October to the Oklahoma International Bluegrass festival.  Here is the link

    http://www.oibf.com/

    I have never been, but plan on it this year.

     

    #32772

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the link! It looks like a great festival. I know it’s a long way off, but keep us posted on it!

    #32774

    Joe
    Participant

    Will do John. At the concert I went to Byron said he had ppl from England, Japan, an Norway was supposed to show to perform. And he had to throw in there even a group from Texas, haha Bryon being from Oklahoma and such a rivalry with texas football.

    #32920

    Kaeleigh
    Participant

    Hmmm… I just started working on this song. Right now my double stops sound just a little like a fire-engine’s sirens 🙂 I think I might need to work on that first. Is Golden Slippers easier?

    #34761

    Angela
    Participant

    I’m working on this lesson and was watching some you tubes of various versions. I really like 3rd tyme out. But I got a kick out of this video. It’s an amazing glimpse into a genius mind:

    http://youtu.be/YHImvZoNIUw

    #34784

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Haha wow that was an awesome video! Thanks for linking it here, Angela.

Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)

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