Groundhog Tablature

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Groundhog Tablature

Postby dholeton » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:31 am

In February 2015 a friend and I were playing music at a retirement home. We always play tunes that relate to special days of each month, so when I asked the residents about a special day for February (expecting Valentines Day) one resident answered "Groundhog Day". We had plenty of sweetheart songs for Valentines Day but I had to apologize for not having a groundhog song. I committed to find one for 2016.

I found and arranged a version with just guitar chords but just before going to play at the home I decided to play chords on my DAA dulcimer so I could play the section for the intro, in between verses, and outro. I probably didn't practice enough to play it well on the guitar, but switching to dulcimer made those parts of the song easy for me.

So, Groundhog Day is more about an endearing groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil who may or may not see his shadow rather than groundhog gravy, but a groundhog song is a groundhog song. We played and sang it and the residents enjoyed it.

After playing at the home this year I decided I needed to make a dulcimer tablature version. The song starts and ends on the 6th fret unless one has a dulcimer with some extra frets. I'm not usually inclined to playing with a capo, but I found with DAD tuning the melody fits with a capo on the 6th fret. I also found a DAE tuning arrangement. I uploaded the tablature file with those arrangements here on Everything Dulcimer in the Tablature section. Playing from the 6th fret is really different but I was able to make some MP3 files for both versions which are attached below.

I have a year to practice the song and decide which version I want to play next February. The residents didn't mention Presidents Day (another special day in February) but maybe in the meantime I'll also look for some presidential songs, too. Maybe there's a George Washington (Feb 22) or Abraham Lincoln (Feb 12) song out there somewhere.

Dave
Attachments

Groundhog_DAE_with_Noter.mp3
[ 1.01 MiB | Viewed 1594 times ]
Groundhog in DAE tuning played with noter

Groundhog_DAD_with_Capo.mp3
[ 863.36 KiB | Viewed 1594 times ]
Groundhog in DAD tuning with capo on 6th fret
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby strumelia » Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:22 pm

That's cool Dave! You have a real nice voice. :)

Another one- I made a DGG/EAA (mixolydian, in keys of G or A) noter style tab for a slightly different version of Groundhog a few years ago, here:
http://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/2009/04/oh-groundhog.html
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby KenH » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:50 pm

There's always Lincoln and Liberty, to the tune of Rosin The Beau.
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby Mark.Nelson » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:38 pm

Very Sweet! I like your singing a lot

More Groundhog tunes:

Groundhog -- the one with Yink-a-tumma-yanka-tumma-ay in the chorus. From Tommy Jarrell. https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/ground-hog

I've posted videos of these two fiddle tunes on this site:
"Devil Eat the Groundhog" from Snake Chapman
"Indian Ate the Wood Chuck" from John Salyer. Thee are numerous other tunes by this name, too.

There is also a fiddle tune called The "22nd of February" -- not to be confused with the "28 of January," which is the result of Franklin George's confusion... but I digress.

I plan on learning it this week; if I get it I'll post a vid.

There are several Washington tunes and songs. "Booth Shot Lincoln" probably would not be a good idea...

All the best!
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby dholeton » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:48 pm

Thanks Lisa
When my friend and I finished playing/singing the version we were using he commented that the Groundhog song had one of the most unusual melodies we had ever sung. I think your version has the same unusualness. I tried to play it and it will take some effort on my part to learn it. While listening to some of the old singers and musicians from days gone by it seems they were able to play tunes like this easily without much effort (Jimmie Driftwood, for example). These melodies can be difficult for some of us today but they are well worth the effort to learn. Learning a song like Groundhog is different and it probably doesn't sound like everything else I'm playing (and I think that's a good thing).
Dave
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby dholeton » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:52 pm

Thanks for the "Lincoln and Liberty" suggestion Ken. We haven't played/sang Rosin the Beau at the home yet, but it is a tune I know well and swapping the Lincoln and Liberty lyrics should make it easy for me to learn.
Dave
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby dholeton » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:09 pm

Thanks Mark
I think I listened to a Jimmie Driftwood Groundhog song and reviewed one from an old Alan Lomax book before I settled on the version we used. The Alan Lomax version has "Tan a rig tail paddle link a di de do" in that part of the song where others might sing "groundhog" once or twice. I also heard one on the radio lately where they sang "groundhog" 3 times after each phrase.
I haven't seen a version with "Yink-a-tumma-yanka-tumma-ay", so it will be interesting to hear that version. Many of the old tunes have what I'll call a nonsense lyric like "too raw lee oo raw lee oo raw lee ay" or something similar for "Sweet Betsy from Pike". I think those nonsense lyrics had ways of reinforcing the intention of the song. They were something more than just "ah" or "ooh" and the singer had to think about singing the lyrics.
Dave
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby strumelia » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:31 pm

dholeton wrote:Thanks Lisa
When my friend and I finished playing/singing the version we were using he commented that the Groundhog song had one of the most unusual melodies we had ever sung. I think your version has the same unusualness. I tried to play it and it will take some effort on my part to learn it. While listening to some of the old singers and musicians from days gone by it seems they were able to play tunes like this easily without much effort (Jimmie Driftwood, for example). These melodies can be difficult for some of us today but they are well worth the effort to learn. Learning a song like Groundhog is different and it probably doesn't sound like everything else I'm playing (and I think that's a good thing).
Dave


What you say above is very astute Dave. Some of these old tunes/songs were not put together taking full chords/guitars etc into consideration. They were built on a work call, an old sung a capella story-ballad, a singing game, etc. Some of them take very unusual paths in the melody and implied mode changes and in dissonances...and they lose their effect when typical modern chords are imposed on them- like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole...something gets splintered. 8) The old singers had little problem with them- they were comfortable and adept at allowing the quirks and dissonances to bloom within the piece. In Groundhog, it's those odd turns that really make the tune so compelling in its twisty little way.
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby dholeton » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:28 pm

I feel a little remiss in not following up on this post from last February, but Shelley's post today with her version of Old Groundhog reminded me.

My friend and I settled on a DAA version in the key of A (D Lydian). I uploaded it in the tablature section but in the interest of time (in case somebody wants to see it before the tablature upload is approved), I also attached the tablature and mp3 file here. The song can be played on just the melody string(s) with fingers or a noter but a 6+ fret is required.

With so many versions of this song now available, maybe there'll be more dulcimer players playing some kind of groundhog song tomorrow!

Thanks
Dave
Attachments
GroundHog_DAA_Dulcimer.pdf
Groundhog in DAA tuning and requires 6+ fret
(22.01 KiB) Downloaded 42 times

Groundhog_DAA.mp3
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Groundhog in DAA tuning and requires 6+ fret
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Re: Groundhog Tablature

Postby dholeton » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:57 pm

It's time to practice your favorite ground hog song so you can have it ready by February 2.

There are three tablature files in the tablature section along with some of the files and links to ground hog songs in this post.

No Pressure!

Dave
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