Santa Anna’s Retreat

This crooked tune:


came from the playing of Henry Reed, a well-known old-time fiddle player from southwest Virginia. It is a modal tune, and a little bit confusing. Folks play it different ways, so researching out the versions was interesting. One difference that I found was the C in the A part in the 5th measure is sometimes played as a natural C and sometimes as a C#. I chose to use the C# in the version. I have found it notated in the key of D, with notes put to a natural, and in the key of G, like here.

The very first measure, if you notice, is in 2/4 timing – so it just has 2 beats instead of the standard 4 beats per measure, and then it instantly switches to the regular 4/4 timing in the 2nd measure and for the rest of the tune. The A part repeat does go back to the 2/4 measure.

Here is the guitar TAB – Santa Anna’s Retreat – Gtr TAB

I found this great small group playing Santa Anna’s Retreat, and it included a banjo, so I just had to use it! As a side note, I am one of those people who can play the same tune for 10 minutes and love every single time it’s played through, so this video warms my heart and makes me feel quite cheerful.:)

It’s a pretty easy tune to play, once you the get the “crooked” part learned. 🙂 I think it’ll sound great on your guitar, so give it try!


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