The Fiddler’s Companion

© 1996-2010 Andrew Kuntz







Notation Note: The tunes below are recorded in what is called “abc notation.” They can easily be converted to standard musical notation via highlighting with your cursor starting at “X:1” through to the end of the abc’s, then “cutting-and-pasting” the highlighted notation into one of the many abc conversion programs available, or at’s incredibly handy “ABC Convert-A-Matic” at 


**Please note that the abc’s in the Fiddler’s Companion work fine in most abc conversion programs. For example, I use abc2win and abcNavigator 2 with no problems whatsoever with direct cut-and-pasting. However, due to an anomaly of the html, pasting the abc’s into the converter results in double-spacing. For’s conversion program to work you must remove the spaces between all the lines of abc notation, so that they are single-spaced, with no intervening blank lines. This being done, the F/C abc’s will convert to standard notation nicely. Or, get a copy of abcNavigator 2 – its well worth it.   [AK]




ZACK FROM TACKUS. Old‑Time. The title appears in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954.


ZACK WHEAT’S PIECE. Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA, Missouri. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB. “Zack Wheat’s Piece” is one of the ‘100 essential Missouri fiddle tunes’ according to Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden. According to Christeson (1973) the fiddler named in the title, Zack Wheat, was an earlier musician of some renown who lived near Argyle, Missouri. Interestingly, there was a baseball player named Zack Wheat whose career spanned the years 1909 to 1927. He was born in the north Missouri town of Hamilton in 1888. Wheat played primarily for the Brooklyn Dodgers and was proficient enough to have been elected to the Hall of Fame in 1959. His batting was prodigious: he won the National League batting title in 1918 (.335) and batted over .300 a total of fourteen times compiling a lifetime average of .317. It is unknown whether there is any connection between the ballplayer and the tune, however, there is a small state park dedicated to Zack Wheat (the ballplayer) in the Camden/Morgan County area of Missouri, not far from Osage County, Missouri, where the town of Argyle (the home of Christeson’s fiddler) is located; a strange coincidence. The second part resembles the second part of a Pennsylvania‑collected schottische in Bayard (1981; No. 401, pgs. 381‑382). The Galbraith family’s (Missouri) “Rocky Mountain Hornpipe [1]” is a similar tune. Source for notated version: George Helton (Maries County, Missouri) [Christeson]; Ike Helton (1907-1983, Maries County, Misssour) [Beisswenger & McCann]. Beisswenger & McCann (Ozark Fiddle Music), 2008; pg. 190. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddler’s Repertory, vol. 1), 1973; pg. 65. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 172.

See also listing at:

Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources


T:Zack Wheat’s Piece




D/F/|AA/B/ AA/d/|f/d/e/d/ ff/e/|dA/B/c/ d/B/A/G/|F/D/F/D/ EF/G/|

AA/B/ AA/d/|f/d/e/d/ ff/e/|d/A/B/c/ d/B/A/G/|F/D/E/F/ D:|

|:f/g/|af/g/ ab/a/|g/f/e/f/ gf/e/|d/A/B/c/ d/B/A/G/|F/D/F/D/ E f/g/|

af/g/ ab/a/|g/f/ef/ gf/e/|d/A/B/c/ d/B/A/G/|F/D/E/F/ D:|


ZAKYNTHOS. Irish, Jig. A Minor. Standard tuning. Composed by Roger Wilson. The title refers to one of the Greek islands.






D:Eliza Carthy


a2a gag|e2a a2g|ecc BcB|AFF F3|EAB cBA|FAB cBA|B2B edB|Bcd cBA:||

|:EAB cBA|FAB cBA|B2B edB|1Bcd cBA:|2c2B2A2||

|:d2d3c|dc2 B2A|d2d2cd|1B3A3:|2e3e3||


ZARA JIG. American, Jig. A Major ('A' part) & E Major ('B' part). Standard tuning. AABB. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pg. 99.


ZEAK WALTZ. English, Reel. B Flat Major. Standard tuning. AABB. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; pg. 179.


T:Zeak Waltz





F2|BABc B2 dc|BABc B2 cd|edcB ABcB|AGF=E F2F2|

BABc B2 dc|BABc B2 cd|edcB ABcA|B2 BB B2:|

|:d2|e2c2 cece|d2B2 BdBd|cdcB AGF=E|F2FF F2 cd|

e2c2 cece|d2B2 BdBd|cdcB ABcA|B2 BB B2:|


ZEALAND. English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning. AABB. The tune dates to c. 1727. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986.


ZEEK BACKUS REEL. American, Reel. G Dorian. Standard tuning. AA’BB. Zeek Backus, or Zeke Backus, was a contributor to several of the tunes in the Howe and Ryan publications from the mid-to-latter 19th century. Many of those Howe collected tunes from were New England and New York musicians, bandleaders and minstrel performers, and Backus was among them (he was both a bandleader and a minstrel performer). While little is known about him, apparently he spent some time in San Francisco as well. (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; pg. 52.


T:Zeek Backus Reel




S:Howe – 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867)

Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion


c>F || B/G/F/E/ D/C/{D}C/B,/ | D/G/{A}G/F/ G/A/B/c/ | d/B/c/A/ B/G/A/F/ |1 D/G/{A}G/F/ G/B/d/B/ :|2 D/G/{A}G/F/ G || d/c/ |

Bd/f/ b/d/f/d/ | {d}c/B/d/f/ g/d/f/d/ | Bd/f/ b/d/f/d/ | c/B/d/c/ B/G/G/B/ |

Bd/f/ b/d/f/d/ | c/B/d/f/ g/d/f/d/ | b/b/b/f/ f/f/f/d/ | c/B/d/c/ B/G/G/B/ :|


ZENDA WALTZ. AKA and see "La Zenda Waltz," "Lucenda Waltz," "Zender Waltz," "Zinder Waltz." Canadian, Waltz. A Major ('A' part) & D Major ('B' part). Standard tuning. AB (Phillips): ABB (Messer). Frank Nims writes that the “Zenda Waltz” was “composed by Frank M. Witmark around 1896. It was written as incidental music for a stage version of the hit novel The Prisoner of Zenda (1894), an adventure set in the imaginary Balkan kingdom of Zenda. Anyhow, I know it as the theme song of magician Howard Thurston, a very big star in his time (~1910-1930).  For decades after his passing, at magicians' gatherings, if somebody was demonstrating an especially show-bizzy sort of trick one of the onlookers was sure to start humming "Zenda Waltzes". I'm guessing it became known among traditional musicians via Thurston, who toured the country on a grand scale (ten freight cars worth of props & scenery in his prime).  Although obviously it stands on its own merits now.  Might be interesting to see how the folk process has changed it over the years.” Source for notated version: Jana Jae Greif [Phillips]. Messer (Anthology of Favorite Fiddle Tunes), 1980; No. 170, pgs. 114‑115. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 330. Voyager 340, Jim Herd - "Old Time Ozark Fiddling" (appears as "Zender's Waltz").


ZENDER('S) WALTZ. See "Zenda Waltz."


ZEPHYR BREEZES.  English, Waltz. G Major (‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ parts) & C Major (‘D’ part). Standard tuning. ABBCCDD. Kennedy (Fiddler’s Tune-Book: Slip Jigs and Waltzes), 1999; No. 181, pg. 48.


ZEPHYRS AND FLORA. English, New England; Country Dance Tune (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning. AABB. The tune appears in Henry Playford's English Dancing Master, vol. II, 4th Ed., 1713, though Barnes dates it to 1728. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Johnson (Twenty‑Eight Country Dances as Done at the New Boston Fair), Vol. 8, 1988; pg. 10. Front Hall Records 03, Dudley Laufman, "Swinging on a Gate."


ZEPPELIN, THE. Scottish, Hornpipe. A Major. Standard tuning.

T:The Zeppelin

C:J. Scott Skinner

S:The Monekie Series no.3 "The Laird o' Thrums"

B:NLS Scop.2.4

N:Humorous Hornpipe

N:* The Audience clap their hands in imitation of

N:  the Allied Shots bringing down the Monster.

Z:Jack Campin, Oct 2000

N:I added the natural marking in bar 10





{B}A>GA>B c>de>c  |d>cd>e    f>ga>f|e>a(g>a)   e>cA>c   |   B2"*"e2"*"e2  E2 |

A>GA>B c>de>c  |d>cd>e    f>ga>f|e>(ag>)f   e>cd>B   |{B}c2"*"A2"*"A2    :|


a>ga>f g>^^fg>e|f>^ef>^d =e>de>c|d>cd>B     c>^Bc>A  |   B2"*"e2"*"e2 .E2

{B}A>GA>B c>de>c  |d>cd>e    f>ga>f|e>(ag>)f (3efe (3dcB|{B}c2"*"A2"*"A2  z2||


ZINDER WALTZ. AKA and see "Zenda Waltz."


ZIG-ZAG HORNPIPE/CLOG. AKA and see "Fred Wilson's Clog," "Cincinatti Hornpipe [1]," "Harvest Home [1]," "Dundee Hornpipe," "Standard Hornpipe," "Cork Hornpipe," "Kildare Fancy," "Cliff Hornpipe," "Ruby Lip," "Higgins' Hornpipe," "Kephart's Clog" (Pa.), "Snyder's Jig" (Pa.). Scottish, Old‑Time; Hornpipe. USA; Arkansas, Missouri. G Major (Kerr): D Major (Sweet): F Major. Standard tuning. AABB. The title appears in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. “Zig-Zag Hornpipe” is one of the ‘100 essential Missouri fiddle tunes’ according to Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden. The Company of Fifers and Drummers, '76, 1974; pg. 21. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 3; No. 345, pg. 37. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; pg. 44. Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association 001, Pete McMahan (Mo.) ‑ "Ozark Mountain Waltz."


T:Zig-Zag Clog




Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion


A/F/ | D/F/A/F/ E/G/B/G/ | F/A/d/e/ f/d/A/F/ | Gg/f/ e/d/c/d/ | e/d/c/B/ A/G/F/E/ |

D/F/A/F/ E/G/B/G/ | F/A/d/e/ f/d/A/F/ | Ge/d/ d/A/B/c/ | dfd :: c/d/ |

e/A/A/A/ f/A/A/A/ | g/A/f/A/ e/A/A/A/ | e/A/f/A/ g/A/f/A/ | e/d/c/B/ A/G/F/E/ |

D/F/A/F/ E/G/B/G/ | F/A/d/e/ f/d/A/F/ | Ge/d/ c/A/B/c/ | dfd :|


ZINGER. Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA, Nebraska. A Major. Standard tuning . AABBCC. “Zinger” is one of the ‘100 essential Missouri fiddle tunes’ according to Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden. Source for notated version: Bob Walters (Burt County, Nebraska) [Christeson]. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddler’s Repertory, vol. 2), 1984; pg. 8. Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers' Association, Bob Walters (1889-1960) - "Drunken Wagoneer."


ZIP COON. See "Old Zip Coon."


ZIP COON STOMP. Old‑Time. The title appears in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954.


ZODIAC.  English, Waltz. G Major. Standard tuning. AABBCCDD. Gibbons originally set the tune in the key of B flat in his ms. The melody also appears in the music manuscript of fiddler John Burk, dated 1821, set also in B flat albeit in the time signature of 6/8. Source for notated version: the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner]. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; pg. 82.


ZOLLIE'S RETREAT. AKA - “Zolly’s Retreat.” Old‑Time, Breakdown. DDad tuning. Source: Clyde Davenport (Monticello, Ky.). Tune commemorates the death of Confederate General Felix Zollicoffer at the Battle of Mill Springs, fought in January, 1862, near the Davenport home in Monticello, Ky. The General, formerly a near-sighted newspaperman, had become disoriented in the close fight in the pouring rain and, in the process of reconnoitring, came upon some troops he took to be his own men. They were not. A colonel of the Union troops realized the nearsighted general's mistake and, in plain view of Zollicoffer's men, killed him with a point-blank pistol shot to the chest. That was the turning point of the battle.


The death of General Zollicoffer. Harpers Weekly.


Augusta Heritage, AHR-014 – “Folk Music & Lore of the Civil War” (1994). County 786, "Traditional Music From the Cumberland Plateau, vol. 1."


ZONEY'S RANT. AKA and see "Cotillon (Youth's the Season)," "Tony's Rant." English, Air. The tune appears in the third volume of Playford's Dancing Master c. 1726. It also appears in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera of 1728, under the title "Youth's the season made for joys." Kidson (1922) identifies the tune as a French cotillion.


ZORINKSI.  English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). E Minor. Standard tuning. AABB. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; pg. 148.


ZOUAVE QUICK STEP.  American, Quickstep (2/4 time). D Major (‘A’ part) & G Major (‘B’ and ‘C’ parts). Standard tuning. AABBCC. From the manuscripts of Setauket, Long Island, painter and fiddler William Sidney Mount, on a page headed by the note “From Anderson Hood – his band – June.”  The year is probably 1863, as a tune at the bottom of the page, written at a different (presumably later) time, is dated August, 1863. A zouave in this context was a Civil War era soldier whose unit was patterned after the French zouaves, a name derived from the Zouaoua, a fiercely independent Kabyli tribe living in the rocky hills of Alegeria and Morroco.  Although the original colonial units were comprised of members of this tribe and other North Africans, the zouaves became increasingly comprised of native Frenchmen.  However, the distinctive uniform was retained, patterned after traditional North African dress. The zouaves were a well-trained and a spectacularly effective fighting force, which (along with the lure of those natty uniforms!) is why they were imitated by American units prior to and during the beginning of the Civil War. 


T:Zouave Quick Step



S:William Sidney Mount manuscripts, dated August, 1863.

Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion


A2B2 | Ad d2 | cBAG | FG A2 A2B2 | Ad d2 | eABc | d2d2 :||


e2e2 | f2f2 | gf ge | fg a2 | e2e2 | f2f2 | gf ge | d2d2 :||

d2d2 | dc B2 | cB cA | Bc d2 | d2e2 | dc B2 | cB cA| G2 G2 :|


ZWEITRITT. German. The second strain of this tune has long been in international currency and appears in the English "Three Meet" and "The Pleasures of the Town [2]," and the American "Little Shoes" (2nd part), "The Muses" (1st part), "Casey's Hornpipe" (1st part), and an untitled breakdown in Christeson (1973; No. 61, pg. 46 {1st part}). A folk‑dance dated between 1820 and 1850. Boehme, No. 273 (2nd part).


ZYDECO EST PAS SALE. Cajun/Zydeco. From Clifton Chernier. See "(Les) Haricots Sont Pas Sales."





© 1996-2010 Andrew Kuntz

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