Library

Below is a collection of tune books that might be of interest to those researching traditional Irish music and related styles. Most are available elsewhere on the internet but gathered here to make them more readily accessible.

Click on a book image to open a PDF file in a separate tab.

My Practice Tunebook

 These are tunes I've learned, am learning or would like to learn. Most of them I have transcribed myself from recordings, although there are many fine settings I have received from teachers and friends. Some are from tune sources like O'Neill's , Ceol Rince na h'Eireann, Bulmer & Sharpley,  the Comhaltas Foinn Seisún series, and thesession.org.

The Red Book

This is a popular source for tunes in the Central Ohio area.

The Dance Music of Ireland ("The 1001") by Francis O'Neill (1907)

Francis O'Neill (1848 – 1936) was born in Tralibane, near Bantry, County Cork. He became a prominent American police officer and collector of Irish traditional music. He served as Chief of Police for the city of Chicago from 1901 through 1905. He is probably best known for his collection The Music of Ireland (1903), containing 1,850 pieces of music, and often known as simply "The 1850." This is a supplemental volume, often referred to as “The 1001.”

Waifs & Strays of Gaelic Melody by Francis O'Neill  (1922)

365 more traditional Irish reels, jigs, airs and other melodies, comprising forgotten favorites, worthy variants, and tunes not previously printed

Irish Folk Music; A Fascinating Hobby by Francis O'Neill  (1910)

With some account of allied subjects including O'Farrell's Treatise on the Irish or union pipes and Touhey's Hints to amateur pipers

Irish Music & Musicians by Francis O'Neill  (1913)

Early musical history and biographies of past masters, along with anecdotes of contemporary musicians of Chicago chief of police Francis O'Neill's time.

Ancient Music of Ireland by Edward Bunting (1796)

A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music, Containing a Variety of Admired Airs never before Published and also the Compositions of Conolan and Carolan, Collected from the Harpers &c. in the different Provinces of Ireland, and adapted for the Piano-Forte. Included are 66 tunes which Bunting had notated at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792. The festival assembled the remaining traditional harp players of Ireland, in all ten Irish harpers and one Welsh harper. 

O'Farrell's Pocket Companion for the Union Pipes (1806)

A highly influential collection of tunes put forward by the enigmatic O’Farrell. There is little information on the musician himself, but his Pocket Companion was widely copied and many of the settings are played to this day.

Forde:  National Melodies of Ireland, Volume 3 (1841)

A selection of 100 airs collected by Cork-born flute and piano player William Forde (c.1795–1850). 

P.W. Joyce:  Ancient Irish Music (1890)

Comprising one hundred airs hitherto unpublished, many of the old popular songs, and several new songs. By Patrick Weston Joyce (1827 – 1914).

P.W. Joyce: Irish Peasant Songs (1906)

Collected by P. W. Joyce.  Patrick Weston Joyce (1827 – 1914) was an Irish historian, writer and music collector, born in the Ballyhoura Mountains on the borders of counties Limerick and Cork.

Graves: Songs of Erin (1901)

A fashionable pastime of Victorian gentlemen was to write poetical lyrics in the style of old Irish songs, accompanied by traditional melodies. Here is a collection of 50 such Irish folk songs. Lyrics by Alfred Perceval Graves, most known for writing the ballad "Father O'Flynn" to the melody of the traditional"Top of the Cork Road."  The music was arranged by noted Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford (1852 – 1924), who also published the collection of (real) Irish tunes collected by Dr. George Petrie. Songs of Erin is dedicated to her most gracious majesty Queen Victoria!

Petrie:  The Complete Collection of Irish Music  (1903) 

Well, maybe not completely complete, but interesting nonetheless. Collected by Dr George Petrie (1789 - 1866), an early collector of traditional Irish melodies. His manuscripts were published posthumously by Irish classical composer Charles Villiers Stanford in 1903.

Notebooks of Padraig O'Keeffe (c. 1940)

Tunes written out in the legendary Sliabh Luachra master's own hand, using an idiosyncratic notation system. Note that I designed the cover page of both pdf files myself, but the rest are actual scans of his teaching notebooks.

Ed Reavy Tunes

These transcriptions are converted from abc notation made available by Ed's son Joe Reavy. Ed Reavy (1897–1988) was an extraordinary fiddle player born in Barnagrove, County Cavan. He emigrated to Philadelphia in 1912. It is estimated that he composed over 500 tunes, the most famous of which may be The Hunter’s House and Maudabawn Chapel.

The Music of Ireland Volumes 1 - 4  by Dave Bulmer and Neil Sharpley

These tune books were published in the early 1970s by Dave Bulmer and Neil Sharpley, and quickly established themselves alongside the O’Neill volumes as THE tune books for traditional musicians to have. Bill Black transcribed the original volumes into ABC notation, which I have then converted back into standard sheet music notation, organized into tune types and alphabetized within those tune types.

The Mulvihill Manuscript (1980)

This is a facsimile of a handwritten manuscript for an unpublished book of tunes. Martin Mulvihill was born in Ballygoughlin, County Limerick, Ireland in 1919 and died 21 July 1987. In 1951 he emigrated to Northampton, England; there he married Olive McEvoy from County Offaly, with whom he had his four children, Brendan, Brian, Gail, and Dawn. Mulvihill played fiddle, button accordion and piano accordion. In 1965 the Mulvihill family relocated to New York City. He taught in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York. Former students include Eileen Ivers, Mary Rafferty (of Cherish the Ladies), Willie Kelly and Patrick Clifford.

The Road to Glountane  (1980)

Reminiscences and music of Terrence "Cuz" Teahan (1905-1989). Terry 'Cuz' Teahan, was born in Gleantann in 1905. He was a student of the great Sliabh Luachra fiddle master Padraig O'Keeffe at the local school, then emigrated to Chicago in 1928. He played concertina , accordion and fiddle, and was also a composer of slides and polkas. Many of his tunes became popular in Ireland and elsewhere, and are often named after him. 

SCOTTISH TUNE BOOKS

Kohler's Repository (1886)

The firm of Ernest Köhler & Son, Edinburgh, published in 1881-85 as a series of small booklets of dance music, which were later collected and republished in 3 volumes. Here they are.

The Skye Collection (1887)

The best Reels & Strathspeys extant embracing over four hundred tunes collected from all the best sources, compiled and arranged for violin and piano by Keith Norman Macdonald.

The Scottish Violinist by James Scott Skinner (1900)

Consisting of Strathspeys, Reels, Pibrochs, Marches, Hornpipes, Pastoral Airs, Violin Solos and Slow Airs. A choice and authentic colleciton of traditional and original melody specially adapted for the violin. By The Strathspey King, J. Scott Skinner (1843 - 1927), one of the all time greats of Scottish fiddle music as both performer and composer.

Wyper Brothers Melodeon Tutor for 19 Keys (ca. 1909)

The Wyper Brothers Peter (b. 1861) and Daniel (b. 1872) of Hamilton N.B., Lanarkshire Scotland (N.B. stands for "North Britain") were noted for some of the earliest known melodeon recordings. The melodeon, or accordion as it was often interchangeably known, is a deceptively simple instrument with one or more rows of button keys, operating on a push-pull bellows action.  Invented during the 1820s, it was later produced en masse on the Continent - Germany in particular - and imported in vast quantities into the British Isles, where it sold cheaply from around mid-century onwards.

ENGLISH TUNE BOOKS

The English Dancing Master by John Playford (1651)

The famous dancing manual containing the music and instructions for English Country Dances. Dances from The English Dancing Master were re-published in arrangements by Cecil Sharp in the early 20th century, and in these reconstructed forms remain popular among dancers today.