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Welcome to the Traditional Tune Archive
The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish traditional instrumental music with annotation, formerly known as
The Fiddler's Companion.

Featured Tunes

Listen to the featured tunes of the weekI DON'T LOVE NOBODY.

Sully.jpg

This popular tune has been covered by many old-time fiddlers; Charles Wolfe (1983) remarks that it was issued by no less than six labels in the early 1930's, and prior to that it was recorded by Georgia fiddler Gid Tanner (1924), Earl Johnson (1927), and the Dixie String Band (1924). One early recording, by the Red Headed Fiddlers (with A.L. “Red” Steely on fiddle and Red Graham on banjo), resulted in the song being released as “Fatal Wedding.” The tune was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from Ozarks Mountains fiddlers in the early 1940's, and 20th century Ozarks fiddler Art Galbraith noted that he heard many fiddlers play the tune (see Rounder 0133).







Lyrics to the melody begin:

I was born in Kentucky, lived there all of my life,
Thought I'd better be lucky, never had no wife;
I once thought I'd get married, I asked a little girl to wed,
But when I asked her to marry me, this is what she said:

Chorus:
I don't want to get married, always want to be free,
I don't love nobody, nobody loves me;
All they want is my money, they don't care for me,
I don't want to get married, I just want to be free.

However, the tune appears to be derived from a ragtime song by monologist, female impersonator and minstrel entertainer Lew Sully , who may have adapted it from an older song. Sully (born Charles Sullivan, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1862) copyrighted it in 1896, and it was printed with a cover of Sully in blackface, and, indeed, Mr. Sully had a long career performing in various minstrel troupes in the Midwest and East Coast. The lyrics are considered provocative in modern times, and, in fact Sully seems to have authored similar songs with racist messages (“Hesitate, Mr. N….r, Hesitate”—see sketch in Rice’s Monarchs of Minstrelsy, 1909, p. 311).

Al Dexter's Texas swing tune "Rock and Rye Rag" is a similar melody.


I DON'T LOVE NOBODY full annotations and Past Featured Tunes


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Why TTA Who builds the Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.


This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.

Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni


Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.


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Help Getting started

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Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditional Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the bottom of the SideBar on the left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Index” on the SideBar on the left is “All Tunes”. Click on “All Tunes” to open up the list of tune titles in the TTA arranged in alphabetical order, 200 titles to a page. At the top of the page is an alphabetical breakdown that serves as a shortcut to pages. Clicking on any title will bring one to the music and tune fields. Once the tune appears, clicking “Tune Discussion” at the bottom of the page (below the notation) will open up the narrative information on the tune.
  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Index” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Drill Down. Cumulative information about TTA entries can be found in the “Drill Down” under “The Index” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Issues” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.