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A Second Year of Ward Jarvis

Over the past couple weeks I have been reflecting on my fiddle and banjo playing in 2017 and trying to determine what my path will be this year. So, I hope you're not tired of Ward Jarvis.

Considering I made it through only four of the six tunes I planned to tackle last year, my first Year of Ward Jarvis project seemed incomplete. I didn't want to just leave those tunes hanging. However, I also feel my repertoire is lacking in the more common tunes played in old-time circles, so I want to work on some old chestnuts.

My focus will be on common tunes I've found among influential Ohio fiddlers from the mid-20th century. I've compiled a list of fiddlers and their repertoires, and determined "common" tunes to be those played by three or more people. I then looked to see which of those tunes I have recordings of by Ward Jarvis.

This year's tune list is:
  1. "Three Forks of Reedy"
  2. "Leather Britches"
  3. "Forked Deer"
  4. "Grey Eagle"
As you can see, I've pared my list down to four tunes to make sure I have enough time to really work on these tunes. My experiences last year showed me that four is plenty.

A big departure this year is that only one tune as played by Ward Jarvis is listed in the Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes, which was a big help last year. That means I'll be relying almost solely on slowdown software to figure things out.

Similar to last year, though, I'm starting with a tune I've already been working on, as I had a rough skeleton of "Three Forks of Reedy" under my fingers by the end of 2017.

My goal is to learn these four tunes and log 186 hours of fiddle practice. I'm also looking to get back to playing the banjo more. However, I don't have a set plan of action for the old five-string. I just want to play it more than I did last year. Although, it may interest you to know that I've been compiling a list of tunes I have by Ward Jarvis playing banjo. Perhaps that could provide some inspiration.

So, that's it. These are my goals for 2018. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. What are your goals for the year?


  1. Who are your pick of Ohio fiddlers?

    1. This is Joel and I am demonstrating my difficulties with technology.

    2. Hi Joel,

      Thanks for the comment(s). As you probably already saw on Facebook, my list consists of:
      Estill Adams
      Jeff Goehring
      John Hannah
      Clifford Hardesty
      Rector Hicks
      Ward Jarvis
      Cecil Plum
      Lonnie Seymour
      Arnold Sharp
      Kenny Sidle
      Jimmy Wheeler

      Who should I add?


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