Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Appalachian Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nate Olson

Committee Members

Roy Andrade, Jane MacMorran


This thesis asks what transcriptions of old-time fiddle tunes might tell us about their underlying purposes and the nature of transcription. How could differing approaches to transcription reflect the intentions of the author, and what are those intentions? What does this suggest about how aural information is prioritized? Through a comparative analysis of three transcriptions of the same recording—Tommy Jarrell’s “Devil in the Strawstack”—this thesis examines how musical information is prioritized and how transcribers have adapted their methods to better reflect the nuances of old-time music. The three transcriptions come from Clare Milliner and Walt Koken (The Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), Drew Beisswenger (Appalachian Fiddle Tunes), and John Engle. The analysis of these transcriptions suggests new frameworks for interpreting old-time fiddling, further conversations about the possibilities and limitations of transcription, and provides insight into the underlying purposes of transcription.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the author.

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