If you liked this article, you might be interested in:
Print this Article (PDF)
Email Article to a Friend
Building a Traditional Tune Repertoire
by Wendy Anthony
(Key of A Mixolydian)
This Mixolydian modal tune is named after a June Apple, which is an early, small, tart apple that ripens in the Spring in southern USA. The tune June Apple is found in the repertoire of both Old Time & Bluegrass players in many parts of North America & has been recorded numerous times over the years, at different speeds, with or without lyrics, using a variety of instruments & styles.
Listen to the June Apple MIDI
- Overview of Tune: June Apple is in the Mixolydian Mode, which has a flatted 7th note (G natural instead of G#), thus, as A-Major has 3 sharps (F#, C# & G#), A-Mixolydian actually has only 2 sharp notes (F# & C#)- A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A. The main chords used are A(I) & G(bVII), with one D(IV) in part B. The melody is full of 1/8 notes which can be varied, or even reduced to fewer 1/4 notes, in order to simplify the melody, increase the playing speed or play Old-Time style.
- Chords: The main chord used is identical to the root of the key: A(I), with an additional G(bVII), which is the flatted 7th note characteristic of the Mixolydian mode. Both Parts A & B have the same chord structure, with the exception of the 13th measure of Part B, where a full measure of G(bVII) is replaced by a D(IV) chord.
Part A ||: A | A | G | G | A | A | G | A :||
Part B ||: A | A | G | D | A | A | G | A :||
- Pick Strokes: Pick all 1/4 notes with Downstrokes & all paired 1/8 notes with Down/Upstrokes. To produce an interesting variety to the tone of your playing, change the dynamics by placing a slight pick stroke emphasis on each of the high notes on the E strings, (A-5th fret in Measures 1,2,5,6, & G-3rd fret in Measures 3,4) while gradually increasing the volume (crescendo) as you play up towards the note, & decreasing volume (decrescendo) as you play down away from the note.
- Intro: Begin the tune with a note in an introductory measure just before the first measure.
- Simple Version: Using more 1/4 notes & less 1/8 notes results in a simpler version, which highlights the basic melody.
The lyrics are sung during Part B. Many versions of lyrics are sung to this tune, borrowing from verses of other songs like Cindy or Shady Grove, though they all seem to start with a similar first verse, with a slight variation of who passes by.
Wish I was a June Apple,
Hanging on a tree,
Everytime my true love [a pretty girl] passed,
She'd [He'd] take a bite of me.