Category Archives: sheet music sources

sheet music for Jenny Lind Polka

I transposed the sheet music for an old tune called Jenny Lind Polka so that I could easily jam on this song with players of various different instruments.

This song was popularized in 1846 by a dance instructor named Allen Dodworth, who is also responsible for inventing a way to waltz in 5/4. Here’s that 1852 original in the Library of Congress. I recorded a composition for dancing his waltz, a pice called “Dodworth’s Five Step”, on three occasions, including once in my Ghost Solos EP. I learned Jenny Lind Polka from a relatively modern transcription in “The Fiddler’s Fake Book.”

In case my transpositions are useful to others, here is my sheet music:

Jenny Lind Polka (pdf)

That’s a single multi-page PDF with a different key on each page. It has the following parts:

Key instruments
G Concert pitch: fiddle, mandolin, guitar, etc.
D F: french horn
A Bb: trumpet, clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax
E Eb: baritone sax, alto sax
tab tablature for guitar players who don’t read notation

For people who work with digital instruments, here’s MIDI:

Jenny Lind Polka (MIDI)

For people who might want to edit the original Sibelius source file, here’s that:

Jenny Lind Polka (Sibelius)

Here’s a version I found on YouTube that’s not exactly the same but close enough:

sheet music archive at Mississippi State

The sheet music collection at Mississippi State is a fine archive that I haven’t come across before. Something notable about them is that they publish the music as PDFs rather than images embedded in web pages. Although it’s a bit annoying to not be able to browse the pages, it’s really nice to not have to grab and print each page one by one.

Here’s the cover sheet for their scan of the 1899 cakewalk Smokey Mokes:

Smokey Mokes cover sheet

He’s in the Jailhouse Now

Blind Blake — He’s in the Jailhouse Now (MP3)

I put together a lead sheet of the 1920s classic “He’s in the Jailhouse Now” because I needed it to rehearse a biggish band, and there’s no reason to keep it to myself.

According to Roosevelt’s Blues, the song has been traced back to at least 1917, but the use of the abusive term “coon” in the lyrics may point to an earlier origin, perhaps around the turn of the century. The song’s origins were probably in the medicine show circuit, according to Songsters and Saints. Ernest Rogers claimed to have sung it over the radio as early as 1922. In 1924 it was recorded by the jug band leader Buford Threlkeld – “Whistler” – as “Jail House Blues”. The veteran medicine show entertainer Jim Jackson recorded it in 1927. Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band recorded recorded an almost identical version in 1927. Again in 1927, Blind Blake recorded a version with a medicine show banjo player named Gus Cannon. There was another version, in 1930, by the Memphis Sheiks, aka The Memphis Jug Band. And the best known and most enduring early version was made in 1927 by the proto-country singer Jimmie Rodgers, who had a background in the medicine show circuit.

All Music Guide, by the way, usually credits the song to Jimmie Rodgers, which goes to show something or other.

As old as this song is, the copyright status is less clean than with most of the music on this site. This is based most closely on the Memphis Jug Band’s version, which was recorded in 1930 and is not yet in the public domain in the US. Most of the words in that version probably come from sources now in the public domain, but there are also probably additions that are still under copyright, I just don’t know what they are. So caveat emptor if you record this. My own copyrightable contributions, including these files, are under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license, which means you’re free to share and modify them as long as you give credit and extend the same courtesy.

For a printout grab this PDF version of the lead sheet. If you want to edit my version, grab the Sibelius source file. If you just need to change the key and don’t have Sibelius, you can use the Scorch-O-Matic to do it in the browser. And here’s the PNG:

He's in the Jailhouse Now

Slightly on the Mash

This is a recording of an 1885 song called “Slightly on the Mash”. It’s a happy number for drinking, dancing and goofing off.

Slightly on the Mash Schottische


It was

written by
A. G. Send,

arranged for guitar by the enigmatic
E. Pique,


published by
J. Oettl


I didn’t find any biographical info or other work by these people.

The performance is

guitar playing
by L. Gonze, a.k.a. me,
and the recoding was released on May 7, 2008.

The dedication on the sheet music is darn nice:

to my Esteemed Friend Pianissimo, Guadalupe, Cal.

What was going on in Guadalupe, California in 1885? Wikipedia says The Guadalupe Watershed was an area of intense activity during the California Gold Rush, with the quicksilver mines within Santa Clara County supporting the gold refinement process. Maybe Pianissimo was a musician who had gone west to strike it rich.


This song is a dance called a schottische. Per Wikipedia, Schottische was popular in Victorian era ballrooms (part of the Bohemian “folk-dance” craze) and left its traces in folk music of countries as distant as France, Spain (chotis), Portugal (chouti├ža), Italy and Sweden.

Musically this is an intricate little tune which feels like an evolutionary step on the way to ragtime and eventually jazz. Wikipedia says At the start of the 20th century in the Southern United States the schottische was combined with ragtime; the most popular “ragtime schottische” of the era was “Any Rags” by Thomas S. Allen in 1902.

If you want to dance along at home, it goes like this: step step step hop, step step step hop, step hop step hop step hop step hop. Posh dancers did it like this:

Knuckledraggers were probably more like this:

Playing along

I learned this song from sheet music at the Library of Congress. It’s not a beginner piece, but it’s pretty approachable.
The embedded images here are linked to full-size PDFs, so click through if you want a printout to learn from.
Here’s the cover sheet, which was printed in cheapo black and white:
slightly on the mash cover sheet
Here’s the part, which is a short one-pager:
slightly on the mash page 1

Free culture

free culture seal

There is an Ogg Vorbis version of the audio file and an Ogg FLAC version.

There is code to embed a player for the song in another web page:

This page uses the hAudio microformat.
This recording is copyright 2008 by Lucas Gonze and released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States license. You are free to share or remix it as long as you give attribution and apply the same terms to works based on this one. If you need another license for some reason just contact me and we’ll arrange it.
You are welcome to link directly to any file I host, including MP3s. No need to host a copy to spare my bandwidth.
If you do a version of this and want a link here, let me know.