“Forked Deer,” Multivalent Nostalgia, Sustainability, and the Edge Effect
This epilogue focuses on “Forked Deer.” It is one of very few fiddle tunes that now flourish in southern fiddle styles ranging from straightforward to quite fancy, and throughout the United States—in old-time fiddling in the Upper South, in exuberant West Virginia styles, and in the melodic improvisations of the modern contest fiddling originating in Texas. Both the title and the melody of “Forked Deer” enter the historical record in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels. Like most southern fiddle tunes, however, “Forked Deer” did not make it into the nineteenth-century mainstream of instrumental anthologies. In fact, this tune found its way into just one publication later in that century. The chapter then considers the title “Forked Deer.” The multivalence of the title “Forked Deer” plus the particular retitling of the tune touch most of the normal categories for fiddle tune titles in the American South.
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