- Resources for traditional music online
- Software and programs for musicians
- Tips and Other Cool Stuff
Thanks are due especially to Susan Reid who has contributed many of the MP3 clips (and many of her own tunes) on this site, Jean Rhéaume for valuable help with ABC notation and sheet music for Québécois tunes, and to David Kaynor who taught us many of these tunes.
Special thanks also to my daughter plus Andy Christiansen and Randy Hough for technical help, and to my wife for technical and musical help and for her forbearance while I work on this site.
Also, thanks to to many online resources for some of the material on this site. Chief among them:
A few of the sites below I have found particularly useful. They are indicated by a ⭐️.
Other traditional music sources:
- Alawon Cymru, Welsh traditional tunes; a great resource.
- Blue Rose, “largely traditional music of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark”.
- CapeIrish,com, a hugely comprehensive but difficult-to-navigate site for Irish tunes
- Celtic Orbis, “350 + Traditional Tunes from Ireland and Scotland in manuscript” (sheet music).
- ⭐️ Chris Partington’s Links Page, over 90 vintage English tune
collections/fiddler’s tunebooks, over 12,000 tunes in ABC and PDF
- Colin Hume, Hundreds of dance tunes collected by dance instructor Colin Hume.
- Cranford Publications ABC Tunes, ABC notation for hundreds of tunes with emphasis on Cape Breton.
- Cultural Equity.org. 17,000 recordings by legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. This site includes far more than music, with stories, jokes, sermons, personal narratives, interviews conducted by Lomax and his associates, etc., etc. Because it’s so vast, this site is a bit clunky to navigate but worth the effort. From the page linked here, try searching by “Genre” in the right-hand column.
- ⭐️ Fiddle Orchestra of Western Massachusetts’ Tunes, including audio and sheet music for very many tunes by David Kaynor.
- Folkets Hus Spillefolk, A very useful source for Scandinavian, mostly Danish, tunes. NOTE: if it comes up in Danish, click the UK flag at top right for the English version.
- ⭐️ FolkWiki, “a wiki with notes of Swedish and Scandinavian folk.” This site is in Swedish but if you are using Google Chrome, and possibly in other browsers, you’ll be offered a link to translate the site into English.
- Green Star Fiddle Lessons, Mostly beginner-level fiddle instruction videos with example tunes played slowly for learning.
- Henrik Norbeck’s ABC Tunes, a great resource for Scandinavian, mostly Swedish, plus some Irish tunes, including sheet music and ABC notation.
- Identitairs Quebecois, a site in both French and English but which may not to have been updated since 2013 according to its copyright notice.
- Jack Campin’s homepage, an interesting and decidedly odd website that has lots of arcane Celtic (and more) tune references, very wide-ranging and eclectic but with some emphasis on Scottish material.
- Les Danseurs & Misiciens de L’Islle Jésus, French language, a treasure trove of tunes including sets plus MP3 recordings and sheet music PDFs. Scroll down for the tunes.
- Library of Congress, Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection
- Maine Fiddle Camp’s website
- Montreal Sessions Tune Book: Tunes of Quebec
- ⭐️ New Hampshire Old-Time Fiddle Web Site. This site is a little odd to navigate but contains a gold mine of both downloadable sheet music PDFs and ABC files of New England, Canadian and some Scandinavian dance tunes. Scroll down and check out the left column.
- Nigel Gatherer’s Traditional Music
- Nordic Dancers NW, sheet music for many Scandinavian tunes
- Old Time Fiddle Tunes, Transcriptions and audio files of over 790 fiddle tunes from old recordings, festivals, jams and workshops, notated by John Lamancusa. (Tip: this site lacks a search function. If looking for a particular tune, use your browser’s “Find” function.)
- ⭐️ Paul Hardy’s Session Tunebooks A great collection of mostly British Isles tunes in sheet music, available free to download in PDF. Expanded and updated regularly.
- Pete Showman’s Tunes Page Around 200 tunes he’s transcribed, most played at old-time jams. Each has a PDF and a MIDI, and sometimes a performance link.
- Quebecois Session of Boston
- Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers, sheet music for many standard tunes.
- Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver, BC Society, sheet music for many Scandinavian tunes
- Slippery-Hill.com Lots of o;d-time fiddler tunes from Appalachia and the South generally. Somewhat odd site navigation but worth exploring.
- SPUDS Tunes, Extensive listings of contra dance reels and jigs with downloadable sheet music and ABC files. SPUDS is a pick-up band that regularly plays for The Mt Airy Contra Dances in Mt. Airy, a northern suburb of Philadelphia.
- ⭐️ Traditional Music Library
- Traditional Scottish Folk Music
- ⭐️ the Traditional Tune Archive, formerly the Fiddler’s Companion
- TradTuneDb, a database of Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian and klezmer tunes.
- Amazing Slow Downer, https://www.ronimusic.com/ Software intended for musicians wanting to slow down (or speed up) music without changing the pitch. Available for Mac and Windows computers, iPhone/iPad and Android. $49.95 but well worth it.
- Audacity, http://www.audacityteam.org/.
Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing.
- Best Practice, a musician’s practice tool, to slow down or speed up music, either from an MP3 file or directly from a CD. Also change the pitch of the music without affecting its tempo. For Windows only. Free at http://bestpractice.sourceforge.net/.
- Convert your own ABC to MIDI or PDF, a website that converts ABC to standard notation as printable PDF’s and/or midi files.
- EasyABC, http://www.nilsliberg.se/ksp/easyabc/, a free, open source ABC editor for Windows, OSX and Linux. (David Kaynor uses and recommends this.) See Tunebook for iPad below for more on ABC notation.
- Hand Brake, https://handbrake.fr/.
HandBrake is a software program for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs including audio, such as MP3.
- MuseScore, https://musescore.org/en. MuseScore is a free scorewriter for Windows, macOS, and Linux, comparable to Finale and Sibelius, supporting a wide variety of file formats and input methods.
- Online-Convert.com. a free multi-purpose conversion site that seems to work very well for converting midi file to standard MP3.
- Tunebook for iPad, “https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tunebook-for-ipad/id368413919?mt=8” , a viewer for music expressed in the ABC format. ABC is a simple text-based notation for music. Many thousands of tunes are freely available in this format on the Web. ABC is also supported by many music applications.
–See The ABC Notation Website for more details on the ABC format.
—How to use Tunebook: http://www.jhlabs.com/tunebook/#start
- Tunepal, https://tunepal.org/index.html#!/record.
Tunepal is a search-by-playing search engine for traditional Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Breton, American marching band and Canadian tunes. By playing a 12 second extract from a traditional tune on an an instrument such as the flute or fiddle, you can retrieve score matches from a database of over 24,000 music scores, view and playback, share and download the score, or find and play other recordings of the tune.
Tips and Other Cool Stuff:
Fiddlers On the High Seas: The history of Scottish fiddle music, a wonderful in-depth piece describing the origins and spread of Scottish and especially Shetland fiddle music via sea-born commerce across the North Atlantic in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Longish, but well worth reading.
Green Star Fiddle Lessons, offering online lessons and classes on beginning fiddle, clawhammer style banjo, and family music starting as young as age four to seniors!