It's all about the Tunes
Where do these tunes come from?
Our weekly jam generally attracts 12-15 musicians. Half of those present will be fiddlers, most of whom are either taking lessons or who have had some violin training in the past. We go around a circle taking turns choosing tunes and jam members will often request a tune he or she is working on. While many songs will be familiar to at least a couple pickers in the room, some tunes we learn on the spot. Sometimes someone brings along a written score to read from but mostly we figure out the melody and chords ourselves by ear. We make sure to write new ones down in case someone wants to play that tune again. That's how our list was born.
Is every tune you play in your Chord Chart Book?
The free Pegram Jam Chord Chart Book has been an invaluable tool for our accompanists. We try to update the book periodically to include new tunes and fix any mistakes we come across. Sometimes someone comes to the jam and shows us a new way to play a tune we've been doing a different way. We might adopt the new arrangement. So while we can't promise that every tune that's online has a corresponding chart, or that every arrangement or chart is absolutely correct, we update the book from time to time and are always checking for errors. If you find a mistake, please let us know.
Are all these tunes in the Public Domain?
While the vast majority of the numbers we play appear in the Public Domain and are free from copyright protection, jam members bring to the table a number of popular fiddle tunes that identify clearly with Old Time Music but are written by contemporary musicians such as Bill Monroe, Jay Unger and Reyna Gellert. Because we revere the known and unknown authors of our precious cache of tunes, we attempt to research all songs that appear in our collection to ascertain their correct copyright status.
Nearly every song on our list has been run through the online U.S. Copyright Office database and/or the online databases of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, The Fiddler's Companion, and The Session. However, even with detailed research, there can still be discrepanices in the title and ownership of a tune. Always remember to personally research any tune you perform or record to make sure you are aware of any performance rights fees that might apply.
We recognize three categories of copyright status: Public Domain, Copyrighted and Unable to Confirm. We hope to soon provide copyright information for each song, as best we can determine it. This information may eventually appear in the Chord Chart Book. We will be happy to remove any copyrighted material from this teaching collection at the request of the copyright holder.
I found a mistake. Do you want to know about it? -- I play some great Old Time tunes that are not on your list. Do you want to know about them? -- I'm looking for a copy of "................................". Can you help me find it?
We would like our fiddle tune audio archive to be as accurate and as inclusive as possible, but we have had to accept that there are limitations to what we can accomplish as a free website. We're hoping that our online presence will enable us to (1) discover new, cool fiddle tunes, and (2) learn more about the tunes we currently have on our list. And yes, we're always interested in hearing catchy old tunes.
I'm not really much of a computer geek. Can I buy this collection in hard copy?
We hope to have collection of some of our favorite Public Domain tunes on CD soon. We now have a printed version of the Pegram Jam Chart Book for sale on the Chord Chart page.
Can I help out somehow?
Yes, indeed, thank you for asking. As you can imagine, we've invested countless hours of personal time in creating this set of educational tools for Old Time musicians. It took many additional hours to create a website to deliver these tools to you. We are not wealthy folks, just generous-hearted. If you are also generous-hearted and wish to express your appreciation for our work with a monetary gift, your donation will be received with sincerest gratitude. THIS WAY TO THE TIP JAR > > >