Another fiddle tune—Sandy Floor

Just a tune that I learned really early on and I can’t seem to find any recordings of.

EDIT: Turns out this tune was collected (from Illinois fiddler Pappy Taylor) by Garry Harrison but didn’t make it into his book Dear Old Illinois.

Sorry, no bowing analysis this time. This one’s just for fun.

EDIT: I learned this tune a while ago from my friend Alice Sanvito—she has this to say about the source:

Garry Harrison played this tune at a contra dance one night and I liked it so much that I asked him the name. He told me that it was “Sandy Floor” and that the tune had almost been lost. When he was younger, he went all around Illinois and recorded tunes from old fiddlers. He had boxes and boxes of tapes of tunes, many of which were included in his book Dear Old Illinois. This tune, unfortunately, did not make it into the book because it was packed away in a box for many years and he’d forgotten about it. A long time later he was going through the box and found this tune on one of his tapes. What luck! because it’s such a lovely tune that could have been lost to us. He said it came from Pappy Taylor of Effingham, IL.

8 thoughts on “Another fiddle tune—Sandy Floor

    • Nope. I’m playing it in standard tuning. (It’s also played in standard tuning in the recording that I learned the tune from.) If I were to go to cross-A, then I wouldn’t be able to play the lowest part of the melody in the B part—and the drones in the B part would change completely. It would be altogether a very different-sounding tune.


      • Rich — do you mean playing the tune in the key of A, but out of cross G? I think that would be very interesting to try! Cross G does give sort of a more mellow sound to tunes, and I think that fits with Sandy Floor.


  1. There’s a version of “O Dear Mother My Toes Are Sore” from western Pennsylvania that is apparently sometimes known as “Sandy Floor.” Any idea if this is the same tune? I can’t seem to find any recordings on that either…


    • This part of The Fiddler’s Companion says that O Dear Mother My Toes are Sore is also sometimes called “Sandy Floor.” However, it seems to be just another name for the many-named Rustic Dance Schottische, which of course sounds nothing like the Sandy Floor that Garry Harrison collected from Pappy Taylor. There is also a jig version of O Dear Mother My Toes are Sore, which also has no melodic relation to the Pappy Taylor tune. It looks like the similarity in words might just be a coincidence.


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