Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Northumbrian Minstrelsy

After searching the web for quite a while I discovered many links to an abc file containing all the tunes in the Nothumbrian Minstrelsy. All of these links were broken and I couldn’t seem to find this mythical file anywhere. On a whim I searched on JC’s abc tunefinder for a couple of the tunes listed in the Minstrelsy. Lo and behold, there they were and tracing the url back I found what seemed to be the abc file I had been looking for.

Once I had the whole file one look showed that it was pretty much a mess. The formatting was horrible and almost impossible to read. Now that I have the paper copy of the book I realized there were several tunes included that are not in the Small-Pipe Tunes section of the book.

As a result, I have proofed the abc file, tried to make the formatting standard and reflect the original layout of the tunes.

You can access a web listing of the tunes in alphabetical order here:

The abc file can be downloaded here

The pdf file of all the tunes can be downloaded here

I have no idea who produced the original abc file which I modified although the name that comes up with many of the searches is Henry Ford.

I have no problem with anyone taking the modified version I produced and making it available elsewhere.


Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Good job. Thanks for that! I’ve noticed a few transcription errors and also bits of tunes accidentally cut & pasted onto other tunes. You’re right, it was Henry Ford who did the original file. I spoke to him a while back about it. He’s also got a username here. Good on him for putting the work in, but the corrections you’ve done were greatly needed. Have you posted your links in the "links" section? I’m also taking the liberty of putting those links in my profile, just in case anyone finds references to the tunes there by accident, which sometimes seems to happen.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Sorry that wasn’t clear. I meant that I *had* noticed tr. errors & cut & pastes in the original file.

Your abc’s very sound, and you’ve even got details like slurs, ornamentation and alternative titles. Great stuff.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

<blush> Yes, I’ve put the links up in the links section too. There were a couple of things that I just couldn’t do with abc. The first was that several of the tunes have repeat marks with 4 dots instead of 2, which I presume from my ancient music theory means "repeat 4 times". The other was putting a Signo mark. Other than that it was easy given that Henry had done an incredible amount of hard work putting the abc together in the first place.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Yeah. At least with the repeat thing you can simply write it out twice and transcribe a normal 2 dot. I’ve never noticed 4 dot repeats before. I don’t remember learning about that in my theory lessons. Well, you learn something new every day. I wouldn’t have had a clue how to do a segno mark either. There might be a way to do it, but I’ve never seen it before in abc. Anyway it’s not absolutely necessary - you can always tell how the repeats hang together when you play the tune through.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

I see JC’s picks up your files too. That’s fantastic. I’ll look forward to looking in detail at what you’ve done tomorrow when I’ve finished work.

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Thanks for those, Lildogturpy.

I noticed that the Folk Mag doesn’t have those Northumbrian tunes I was trying to learn on the site any longer. Dow, you explained to me a few years ago how they should be played and now I’m trying to get into playing them again. They turned up on JC’s as well, at least the three I looked for (Blue Dick, Lasses Keep Your Legs Together and Sweet as a Pink).

I wish the Folk Mag had kept them up because now I have no idea who wrote them and have no background at all on them. I’m glad we downloaded them when they were available.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

I knew that would bring you out of the haze Dow…

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Nice work, appreciated…

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Robin, I thought you said you couldn’t do a segno mark, but I see you have one in the final tune. I think maybe I misunderstood you.

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lol - I had looked up the code for a segno and tried putting it in but it wasn’t showing up in my software. I thought I had checked the pdf output too but apparently I didn’t check carefully enough. Thanks for pointing that out πŸ™‚

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

So, clear up the mystery ~ HOW? ~ how do you use ‘segno’ in ABC’s? That’s something I never had learned in the older forms and am unfamiliar with in the re-education… As Dow and the others drove the bamboo shoots under my nails I don’t remember them forcing me to repeat anything Italian… But my screaming may have blotted that out, and the subsequent tinnitis… πŸ˜‰

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

According to Wikkipedia

In music notation, Dal Segno (often abbreviated D.S.) is used as a navigation marker. From Italian for "from the sign," D.S. appears in sheet music and instructs a musician to repeat a passage starting from the symbol shown at right.
Two common variants:
D.S. al coda instructs the musician to repeat back to the symbol, and when the coda symbol is reached, jump to the section of music labelled the coda.
D.S. al fine instructs the musician to repeat back to the symbol, and end the piece at the measure marked fine.

In the case of The Blanchard Races, which is the only tune that has a segno it doesn’t make any sense to me. I would imagine you put a segno say half way through the B part and then DS would mean "go back to the segno and carry on from there" However, in The Blanchard Races there are two segnos, right at the start and right at the end. I would imagine it mean, "repeat everything all over again" but there is no DS telling you to go back to the segno.

I just copied out what is written in the printed version so keep the bamboo shoots away!

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

You can see how it’s been done by going to the links to the abc and pdf files, and comparing the last tune - "Blanchland Races", which btw is of course "Peter Street" to Irish musos, and "Timour the Tartar" to the Scots. Dal segno takes you from where "D.S." is written to where the squiggly sign is (just as da capo or "D.C." takes you back to the beginning of a tune), and works independently from repeat bars.

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Oops sorry Robin I just cross-posted with you, thus making what I said sound pretty idiotic πŸ™‚

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P.S did you get my e-mail?

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Dow, since what you said was the same as what I said I thought you were extremely intelligent πŸ˜‰

I haven’t seen an email from you. Did you send it via the session? You can always email me via one of the links on the O’Regan’s website that’s hosting the minstrelsy.

Ye: Northumbrian Minstrels

Unhhhh! I think I’m going to be sick… πŸ˜›

Thanks lads…

X: 73 ~ T: Blanchland Races ~ K: G ~

But ~ Why? Neither makes much sense, and there’s no D.S. anywhere that I can see…

I get it that the ‘S’ is for the ‘Signo/Sign’…

D S | G2 B/A/G dGBG | dGgG fGeG |

And what is with the fermata hovering over nothing? I gather that is placed there with ‘H’? ~

| AGAB G2G H :: G |

~ & then finally there’s ‘Da Capo’ (D.C., to repeat from the beginning/start) at the end and showing above the staff over the FD in FDEF:

| FGAG "DaCapo" FDEF :|

I suppose it is accurate if the notation being copied has it, but I agree as said earlier it serves no useful purpose for the notation as a whole…

But I’m glad if someone can make it a bit more clear how to properly place a fermata, as I have had that need in some notations I’ve done in the past, including for Gaelic milling songs…though I haven’t resorted to ABCing such things yet…

I have enjoyed playing through these tunes…

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

I agree absolutely. There is no DS and the Fermata just hangs over the repeat. Maybe there should just be some kind of dramatic pause at that point :-0

I must confess that the Da Cappo should come immediately before the :| but then it disappears off the printed music. I should really move it to where it should be in the abc since it’s the conversion software’s fault that it’s printed in the wrong place.

Any one know if the project to abcify O’Neill’s has died yet?

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O’Neill, most of his work, has been ABC-d… So has much of Ceol Rince, including the translation of the Irish notes to English…

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Paul Wolsochuck on pointed out that a 4 dot version of a repeat bar was an older version of the 2 dot repeat used nowadays and that the 4 dot version is still used in the notation of Shape Note music.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy ~ O’Neill’s Music Of Ireland

Here’s one of several:

"O’Neill’s Music of Ireland" is a classic collection of Celtic session tunes. There are 1850 tunes in the collection. These tunes are treble clef tunes suitable for fiddle, flute, trumpet, clarinet, or any other treble solo instrument."

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

"Paul Wolsochuck on pointed out that a 4 dot version of a repeat bar was an older version of the 2 dot repeat used nowadays and that the 4 dot version is still used in the notation of Shape Note music."

Interesting, but why would you get both variants in the same ms/tunebook? Or were the Minstrelsy repeat bars all 4-dot?

Re: Fermata

How do you get fermata to display?
I tried H but it didn’t seem to work for abc2win

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Dow, yes there were some tunes with 2 and some with 4. Why? no idea.

Geoff, I use BarFly for the mac which does show up a fermata with H. If you use the online convert-o-matic at it also shows up. I think the site will use abc2ps underneath.

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I have a complete version of the Minstrelsy tunes in ABC on my site, edited very damn carefully to reflect exactly what’s in the book (note: the Northumbrian Pipers Association is doing a new edition that will go beyond that, collating with other sources - I’m not competing with them). It’s been there since 2007 and it’s the second hit provided by Google for "northumbrian minstrelsy abc" and the third provided by Bing. I can’t imagine why Gordon didn’t find it. I include all the tunes, not just the pipe ones.

I usually replace D.S. indications with the ABC part construct. Doesn’t always work but it does here.

Re: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Ah - I can see why Gordon didn’t find mine. Most of this discussion is from 2006.