Posted by Scott Nygaard
The traditional fiddle tune “Forked Deer” is an old American melody that was first notated in George P. Knauff’s 1839 tune collection Virginia Reels.There are numerous explanations for the title, including the fact that there is a Forked Deer River in Tennessee and a Fauquier County in Virginia, where it is often thought to have originated.
Texas fiddler Eck Robertson recorded “Forked Deer” in 1922 in the session that produced the first commercial recording of traditional fiddle music, although his recording of “Forked Deer” was never released. Fiddler Charlie Bowman’s recording in 1928 was probably the first version issued on record, and it has been recorded numerous times since. Dan Crary’s 1970 recording on Bluegrass Guitar introduced “Forked Deer” to flatpicking guitarists, and Crary describes it as “one of the great, majestic fiddle tunes.” The first eight measures of my arrangement are transcribed here.