tunebook 830 tunes.

tune sets 3 sets of tunes.

bookmarks 10 bookmarks.

tag 1 tag.

Music and traditional musicians have given me a lot. I try to give something back.
I play pipes, whistle and fiddle.
I listen to all sorts, but my repertoire consists of mostly Irish/Scottish & French/Breton dance tunes with some Siberian and Mu Araean melodies thrown in for good measure. (Beauty knows no measure!)


Help needed and given;
I’m interested in mouth-music, lilting, canntaireachd, port-a-beul, turlutte, you name it; dancing songs as well as nonsense lilts, mnemonic tune names like the rhymes used for teaching steps or drumming patterns. If you have any specific or general reference on the subject, drop us a line, lé do thoil.

ABC grammar:

& offers ‘show score’ option but no ‘sound test’…

*X: (1..)
*T: (eg; Bucks of Oranmore, The)
*C: (eg; Liz Carroll)
A(uthor of lyrics):
*M: (9/8 &c) Meter Change eg: | [M:4/4] dB…|
*L: (default unit): 1/8
Q: (tempo)
P: (Parts)
*Z: (transcriber)
N: (notes -max. 6lines)
G: (group)
H: (history)
*R: (e.g.; Jig)
*K: (eg; Amaj Bmin Dmix Edor & mid-tune change [K:] (see /tunes/65..)

| | | | : bars
:| & |1 nn: |2 nn :| & |: :| : repeats & endings & repeats within bars
| | & [|… |] : double & end bars

a=A440 & C=middleC Note that octaves change on c’s: C,,C,Ccc‘c’’ whatever the tonality
flat/natural/sharp(♯): _ /=/ ^ & ‘J’: ‘slide up’ (ABCMus2.0)
z: rest:
n/ & n>n & n<n: ‘semi’ & ‘pointy-semi’(rather than n3/2n) & Scotch ‘snap’
dotted {(2 in compound time}: n3/n3/ (cf4344)
(3nnn: triplets (3SnnnS (not needed?)
triplets? (cfNo10): *B3 <SP>:
Other Divisions: cf1113.,
Syncopated rolls, see:
!fermata!: fermata, birds eye, pause (see !Symbols! at:
“ >” NB: insert a blank space before the marcato sign or it won’t display.
‘bowing’*: (nN) + vA uA: !paradoxically to the tip and from the tip + ‘hold’: Hn
slur*: n-n (after the note regardless of what follows)
chord: [nN] + guitar chord: “before the note”, see:
X: 2/K: part harmony:/V: 1/|…||/V: 2/|…||
“text above stave”
Lyrics: W (in block)
international characters: Irish: áÁ, éÉ, íÍ, óÓ, úÚ & Gàidhlig; àÀ, èÈ , ìÌ, òÒ, Ùù. &: ©çñâêîôûäëïöüdøå检$§°¿¡
Max lines: 13 (? cf; tune 404)
{n}: grace note(s), NB: avoid ~n (a gruppetto, not a roll)
staccato: .n
’paragraph’: ‘!’ vs. ‘’ (keeps two lines together) + mid-bar repeats: [ :|
“ ’ ”: breath

Teach yourself: & &

Tune-search: & &


I’m listening ‘in’ to the vacuum cleaner. Its eery sound seems to coincide with the disappearance of my Ma. This warrants intervention. I can remember calling (i.e.; tentatively if instinctively edging my lung and mouth muscles against the mysterious sound: I have no memory of hearing my own voice). By the time she is by my cot, the white noise has stopped.

Here is my second earliest ‘musical’ memory, at about the same tender age;
I’m watching snow flakes streaming through the sky, pouring down the heavens. While the endless, apparently source-less flow is puzzling me, I take its soft, high melodious jingle for granted. The flakes are dancing to their own music and I’m listening.
Well. It didn’t happen like that. Not quite. It felt more like “I looked at a sound”; and it couldn’t be heard. The fast flock of free-falling flakes’s tremendous silence together with the incomprehensible genesis of thick snow born out of that unfathomable sky flung bright open the doors of utter mystery.
And that’s not the whole of it either. For from that moment I knew. I knew I had eyes that couldn’t see, and ears that couldn’t hear. I reached out inside my mind and it felt empty: truth had vanished from this nest. And I knew from now on I would have to adopt, and compose with other people’s own adoptive answers, their yarns and guesses. My mind -its own thing still- saw the soul: unstick: turning willfully, and slowly, into an echo chamber for those other voices; the educators’ refrains, the epoch’s beliefs, the milieu’s mood… I didn’t feel cheated by this separation: Only baffled.
“Y fue a esa edad… Llegó la música …”
From then on, music -fully ‘heard’ for the first time around the time of this epiphany (in the form of a Baroque concerto played on the family gramophone)- only music, like love, food or the heat of sunshine, like Lance Hanson’s ‘long lost lute finally found’, would and could, could and would fill and fulfill me.


Does Dick at the desk knows he’s deaf?
I’ve always much preferred acoustic to electric, i.e.; amplified, gigs. This may be due to the fact that 90% of the sound-check ‘professionals’ who officiate unquestioned, have never actually had their ears checked…
If (bad) sex is a bit of a taboo subject, what qualifies the systematic public ear-rape that’s going on in our concert venues (I’m speaking from Ireland but I know it applies elsewhere) and the non-consensual, conformist denial that accompanies it?
We’re not talking mere substandard sound reproduction here but criminal levels of decibels.
‘The band want it loud’ is not good enough an excuse; can the equipment withstand the demand? And more crucially, shouldn’t the public’s comfort -and actual safety- prevail over the view of one band leader or one not so sound person?
Do we need another set of laws and regulations where common sense (respect and responsibility) simply need apply?
(nothing very original here; a handful of classic tips. ‘Classic’ cause they work)

My favourite instrument has got to be the voice, with the violin a close second (both have an incomparable potential for non-tempered scales). I’ve been happily practicing the fiddle for the last five years now, avoiding frustration, at last, by following the simple advice: “practice a little, often”, focusing on only a few tunes or technical details at a time. I discovered, like many a one before, that the so called ‘learning curve’ in music more often than not resembles a featureless plateau which must be crossed until things mysteriously ‘click’ and you’re flying!
In other words: Relax, since practice and patience pay. Give up reasoning and you will know (viz.; you will acquire know-how and gain musicality).
Stay focused. Let it flow!

If you want to fast-forward to playing (very) fast, practice slowly; it’s the only real short cut (acquired mistakes and bad habits are notoriously hard to get rid of). Heed these words whether you’re a beginner or not, and remember that ‘the ear is the mother of the hand’ (or ‘the mother of the voice’, if you’re a singer), and that socialising, especially musical interaction, is to human beings what photosynthesis is to plants; the growing, blossoming factor!

Another useful piece of advice is to keep an open attitude to errors, mistakes, etc.
Imagine a medieval hunter and his bow; he aims at a hare and kills a quail. Is he going to go back home without any quarry/dinner?
Mistakes, more often than not, should be treated like weeds, which are, in the clear-sighted definition, ‘the right plants in the wrong place’.
Whenever you make a mistake, open a drawer in your memory (in both your conceptual and muscle memories) and drop it there for safekeeping until the time -to use it, make sense of it, recycle it- is right.
When you think about it, many musical tricks such as grace notes, slides, double stops, vibrato or variations may have originated as mistakes (if not historically at least experientially) so be playful when you practice. Practice is the ultimate source of control. Well practiced musicians remember to abandon all control when they play…

‘Éist le fuaim na habhann agus gheobhfaidh tú breac’ ~ Listen to the river and you’ll catch a trout.


Useful Links: disambiguation Highland pipe repertoire ‘Fiddler’s Companion’ Cajun cousins, etc
Dots (Irl):
Notes (Fr):
Notes on Bowing:
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