The Bill Black WebABC Home Page
updated: 9 March 2019
WHAT IS WebABC?
ALPHA INDEX (if you're looking for a particular tune)
LIST OF FOLDERS (good for "browsing" through sources)
NOTICE TO USERS:
As of March 2019, I'm in the process of converting all WebABC PDF files
to what I'm calling "Plus" files, which
include the notation, sound file, and ABC (including commentary) into one.
At present (3/9/19) all folders (except "carolan") up to and including "pobr" have been converted.
I am hoping to have the entire site converted shortly.
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This site is designed as a repository for Irish traditional tunes from various sources, printed and recorded.
There are also a number of composed tunes that have been supplied by their composers.
The material is presented in three formats: ABC (text-based music notation program), PDF notation, and
The tunes are primarily the jigs, reels, and hornpipes of the Irish
tradition, but there are a number of
slip jigs, polkas, slides, airs, and marches
included as well.
The site also includes a number of tunes of Scots origin, mainly in the O'Farrell and other 19th Century
There is also a section devoted to the harp compositions of Turlough O
Carolan which, while not necessarily
traditional, nevertheless are
generally considered an integral part of the Irish musical heritage.
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Note: the following information may be useful to you, but it isn't required to use the site.
The material is organized on the basis of source, mostly printed collections but also transcriptions from
recordings. Each source folder can be thought of as a library volume. All current folders are listed here,
with links to their table (home) pages.
Each individual tune is assigned a unique file ID, which serves to distinguish it from any other tune in its
SOURCE FOLDER CONTENTS
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 Each source folder contains the following "basic" files/folders:
This is "home page" of the source folder. It contains
(1) an alphabetical list of the contents
(2) an active MP3 link from the tune title
(3) a link to the notation file
(4) tune particulars (type, key, file ID)
(5) the "incipit", or first four measures of the tune in ABC format
[b] xxx_ABC.rtf file
RTF stands for "rich text format" and is basically a plain text file
with a few enhancements that don't
concern ABC. Note however that
although neither BarFly nor EasyABC can open .rtf files, they can read
the contents after these are copied and pasted into them.
The xxx_ABC.rtf files in each folder contain all that folder's tunes in ABC format.
The primary benefit of having access to the ABC
files is the ability of the user to adjust playback speed.
Also note that BarFly and EasyABC will generate an index of tunes when a file consists of more than one ABC.
These sub-folders are present primarily to act as sources for links on
the Table page.
Each source folder also contains a file ending in "sortable.xlsx". This
is an Excel spreadsheet which
will enable the user to sort the
information as desired, e.g. by tune type or key. A basic knowledge of
how a spreadsheet works will be helpful.
 The source folder may also contain files listing omitted tunes
(i.e., tunes contained in the original
volume but not included in
webABC, usually because they appear in other collections).
In the case of the "Ceol Rince na hEireann" volumes, there are also files
in the source folder containing
useful information as to translation of
titles and alternate titles.
THE "ALPHA INDEX" files
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All webABC tunes are listed by first letter of the name in the Alpha
Index files, which contain a link to
the table where the tune may be
found. Articles "the" and "an" are omitted.