Recommended folk tune books

Posted on August 27 2019

Here's a list of some of my favourite tune books.  

O'Neills Music of Ireland

If you fancy wading through over 1000 Irish tunes (many of which you'll probably never hear in a session) then this is a good book.  Probably more of a reference book really, and when you've got the internet to hand...I'd question why you'd buy it nowadays.

The Nineties Collection

This is a great book of tunes written by Scottish musicians in the Nineties.  Some cracking tunes in there, many of which you'll recognise, but you won't find many of the "classic" session tunes in here.

Ho-ro-gheallaidh - Scottish session tunes

This is a brilliant book which contains all the classic session tunes you'll find in Scotland.  My favourite book, and there's a blue version too which has even more tunes in!  Highly recommended.

Oh and it says it's for fiddlers, but that's rubbish!  It's really useful whatever you play, if it's just the tunes you're looking for.

Hand me doon da fiddle 

This is a great book of the classic Scottish tunes, and you can download it in PDF format too.

 

 Hand me doon da fiddle tune book

Irish Session Tunes

These tune books are great if you want to learn Irish tunes.  Quite a lot of tunes in there so you really need a starting point, but for reference, they're great.

 

Irish Session Tunes - The green bookIrish Session Tunes - the blue bookIrish Session Tunes - the red book

Nick Barber's English Choice

Compiled by Nick Barber, this book has 96 English tunes in it, with the chords too which is handy for guitar players.

Nick Barbers English Choice tune book

Mally's Cotswold Morris Tune Book

This is a great book full of Morris Dance tunes, edited by Dave Mallinson.  There are a couple of volumes but this is the one I love, and if you're looking to play for a Morris side then it's a great place to start.

Mallys Cotswold Morris Tune Book

John Kirkpatrick's English Choice

There are 101 tunes in this book, compiled by John Kirkpatrick - a great choice if English tunes are your thing

John Kirkpatricks English Choice 101 tunes

Welsh Fiddle Tunes

This book contains 97 Traditional Pieces for Violin / fiddle and is a brilliant book.  You probably won't find many of these tunes being played in English sessions, but go to Wales and you'll find them.  Or you could go to a celtic festival such as Lowender Peran and you'll hear them there too.

 

Welsh Fiddle Tunes - 97 Traditional Pieces for Violin

 

Of course there's always TheSession.org too, which has thousands upon thousands of good tunes.  There are some really useful specific tune type pages, and if you hover your cursor over a tune it gives you the first line - so if like me you have loads of tunes in your head but just need some help remembering them, it's brilliant!

Here are some useful links to their site:

 

 

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