The song of the week is 'Forked Deer' in the key of D.
Jeff Autry, Wayne Benson, Aubrey Haynie, Rob Ickes, Mark Schatz, Rickie Simpkins, & Scott Vestal - key of D
Forked Deer - YouTube
Berline, Crary, & Hickman - key of D
Berline, Crary, & Hickman - Forked Deer - YouTube
There is a lot going on in these recordings of the tune. You may find it useful to look at the jam video (below) first, to get a more basic sense of the tune, before listening to the recordings.
Here's a youtube jam video that I have made for Forked Deer.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
Form & Progression
Like Soldier's Joy, Old Joe Clark, Liberty, etc., Forked Deer is an AABB fiddle tune in which each part is 8 measures long. (32 measures - 8x4 - for a complete round through the tune before the form starts again.)
The progression for the A-Part is:
1 4 1 5
1 4 1/4 5/1
The progression for the B-Part is:
5 5 5 1
5 5 1/4 5/1
In some versions, the first line of the B-Part is: 5 5 5 5/1.
In the key of D: 1 = D, 4 = G, 5 = A
(In the key of C: 1 = C, 4 = F, 5 = G)
Melody & Breaks: fiddle, mandolin, and guitar
In the attachments, I have included two versions of the melody for fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, a simpler stripped down version of the melody to help get one started on the tune, that gives one interpretation of the more essential notes in the tune, and then a more developed version of the melody. Players of instruments besides fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, can also make use of this material to get ideas for playing breaks for the tune.
I have written all these melody sheets in a manner that makes them playable as bona fide bluegrass breaks, without the need to add anything more to them for them to sound like proper bluegrass breaks.
If you find that a 'more notes' version of the melody is too difficult to play smoothly at the speeds that Forked Deer is sometimes played at jams, then I recommend taking a 'fewer notes' version of the melody as one's basis for playing a break for the tune, and selectively adding into it a few passages here and there from a 'more notes' version.
For instance, once one has a 'fewer notes' version of the melody down-pat and up to speed, then as a next step, one might work on getting measures 1, 3, & 5 of the A-Part (all three of these measures are identical with each other in the versions of the melody I have given in the attachments) in a 'more notes' version of the melody also up to speed by looping them over and over again, so that one can substitute these in place of measures 1, 3, & 5 of one's 'fewer' notes version of the melody/break.
The slower the tune is being played, the more desirable it is to play more consecutive 8th notes, and try not to have too many quarter notes back to back. The faster the tune is being played, the more desirable it is to break up a long series of 8th notes with quarter notes. (There are some versions of the A-Part, for instance, that consist almost entirely of 8th notes: more notes than the 'more notes' versions of the melody I have offered here.) For this reason, I recommend that even if one is able to play smoothly at a reasonably fast tempo a 'more notes' version of the melody, to work on being able to mix it up with a 'fewer notes' version of the melody in various different ways. This helps to keep one's playing flexible, so that one is not stuck with just one way of playing a break for the tune; but rather, how one plays a break in any given situation can be influenced by the tempo and feel with which the tune is being played at the time, and also by what one might feel like doing in the moment.
Melody & Breaks: Banjo
In the attachments, I have included both a very stripped down version of the melody for 3-finger banjo, and an example of a straightforward Scruggs-style break. The stripped down version of the melody is not intended to function as a break for the tune, but rather just gives the main melodic content of the Scruggs-style break. This version of the melody is just one of many possible interpretations of the more essential notes of the melody that are desirable to include in a melody-based Scruggs-style break.
The melody sheet and break are written for C tuning: banjo tuned: GCGBD. Capo the 2nd fret and raise the fifth string up to an A note in order for these to come out in the key of D.
Clawhammer banjo players can also get some ideas from this material, but may prefer to tune to double C tuning: GCGCD, in which case, for reading the skeletal melody sheet, substitute 0 in place of 1 on the 2nd string, and 4 on the 3rd string in place of 0 on the 2nd string.
Intros & Endings
I have also included in the attachments, 8 Potato Intros and Double Endings suitable for Forked Deer, and for many other key of D fiddle tunes. (The double endings offered here for fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, are more developed than the ones that I have offered in past song of the week write-ups for the beginner jam.)
20 songs were played at last night's jam: 11 from the main list, 6 from the additional songs list, and 3 that are on neither list:
Before I Met You - A
Blue Ridge Cabin Home - A
Columbus Stockade Blues (played twice) - A & G
Forked Deer - D
In The Pines - E
Liberty - D
Light At The River - E
Lonesome Road Blues (played twice) - G & A
Old Joe Clark - A
Will You Be Loving Another Man - A
Wreck Of The Old '97 - D
Clinch Mountain Backstep - A
Cripple Creek - A
I'm Waiting To Hear You Call Me Darling - D
Sitting On Top Of The World - G
Why Don't You Tell Me So (played twice) - Bb & B
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - G
Angeline The Baker - D
Little Georgia Rose - A
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - D