Folk and traditional music
An essential read for anyone with a serious interest in
traditions of music-making from Britain and around the world.
In-depth reviews and articles - many with Real Audio clips - and a
selection of good links too.
and traditional music on the Internet
"a guide to the most useful Internet resources... for those interested
in English folk and traditional music", maintained by my fellow
librarian Martin Nail.
English Folk Dance
& Song Society
Having for a long time been the organisation we all love to hate, in
recent years EFDSS has at last been making efforts to do things right,
and is publicly stating the importance of musical traditions in all of
the society's activities.
The EFDSS is worth supporting if only for the sake of the unique
(overused word, but I do mean unique) Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.
Bodleian Library's Broadside Ballad collection contains images of
hundreds of original ballad sheets held in the library. The texts are
not digitised, and some of the words can be rather difficult to make out
- but only because the 17th / 18th / 19th century original is not always
in mint condition!
Includes versions of several songs recorded or performed by Magpie Lane
- including Stuff Your Guts,
A similar site based on Scottish collections is the
National Library of Scotland's
Word on the Street
site. This also includes text transcriptions of the songs and ballads -
although beware, not all of these transcriptions is 100% accurate.
Another useful site for sheet music (including
plenty of songs which entered the tradition) is the
Lester S. Levy Sheet Music
Collection - check out the original version of
The Swiss Boy and be
thankful we know it today as a dance tune, not a song!
Copper Family fan? Then visit
- gives the words to all the songs in their songbook.
Want to learn some more English tunes, or find
something out about the musicians who played them in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries? You need Johnny Adams's
Village Music Project,
which has a growing number of tune collections available in abc format.
And then, of course, you need to visit Chris
homepage to find out everything about this incredibly handy music
notation system - and to download one of several shareware readers
West Gallery and Shape Note
West Gallery Music is the music sung
and played in English country churches and chapels in the 1700s and
early 1800s. Over the last thirty years a great deal of research has
been carried out into the people (mainly ordinary working men and women)
who composed and performed West Gallery music; and there are now
enthusiastic groups all over the country who get together to perform
this stirring, vigorous music. To learn more, visit West Gallery Music Association.
For more on the closely related American Shape
Note / Sacred Harp singing traditions see
Concertina anorak? Have a look at
a digital online reference library for
all concertinas, with contributions from many expert authors:
instruction books, sheet music, history documents, patents, technical
papers, and new research articles by leading scholars, plus links to
other concertina websites.
- excellent new site at
For repairs and maintenance on my instruments I
always go to Steve Dickinson at
C. Wheatstone & Co.