“Cotton Eyed Joe” sheet music download

Cotton Eyed Joe is a folk song that pre-dates the American Civil War and most likely originated in the American South. For over a century, many have danced to this tune and enjoyed its strong steady beats and friendly melody.

While many versions of the lyrics exist, we’ve chosen to provide an instrumental version so we can focus on dancing to the song. We encourage you to choreograph your own family-square-dance to “Cotton Eyed Joe.” (Each cycle of the dance consists of four counts of eight). Here’s a pattern to get you started. Face your partner and try the following:

1) Four steps toward your partner; four steps back
2) Repeat
3) Do si do to 8 beats
4) Spin in place to 8 beats
5) Repeat ALL

If you have an infant, try the above pattern with your partner while one of you holds your baby, facing out.

Cotton-Eyed Joe is very singable, so we suggest that you scat or sing the melody on silly sounds. Feel free to improvise and sing whatever comes to mind. Your child will pick up on your sense of play and will be more inclined to join in on the fun.