Don Stiernberg encouraged me to put this two-mandolin arrangement of President Garfield’s Hornpipe together, and offered some helpful tips on how it could be improved. It’s a fairly straightforward arrangement — one instrument takes the fiddle tune melody, the other plays a high harmony line above the melody. There are two versions of the score here: one in standard notation, and one with both standard notation and mandolin tablature.

President Garfield’s Hornpipe is an interesting tune for several reasons, including:

  • It’s in B-flat, a relative rarity among old-time fiddle tunes
  • The second strain is almost all arpeggios
  • It has a raised 4th scale degree in some spots, giving it a Lydian feel

The first strain is harmonized in thirds. The second strain is a broader mix of intervals, primarily to avoid parallel fourths and fifths in the arpeggios. While the melody line can be played entirely in first position, the harmony line requires some shifts to third or fourth position.

I learned the melody from New England Fiddler’s Repertoire, Third Edition, Revised.

Standard notation

President Garfield's Hornpipe

 

Tablature

President Garfield's Hornpipe - Tab

 

Recording

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