The Bill Black Irish Tune Archive Home Page
~ 9900 Irish traditional tunes in notation,
MP3, and ABC format
updated: 17 August 2020
WHAT IS THIS SITE ALL ABOUT?
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This site is designed as a repository for Irish traditional tunes from various sources, printed and recorded.
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. Most are adapted from printed sources but
some have been provided to me by their composers, for which I am grateful.
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.
There are also a number of composed tunes that have been supplied by their composers.
The material is presented in three formats: standard notation, ABC (text-based music notation program), and
These are now incorporated into a "Plus" file, so downloading one page will provide all three formats.
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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) a link from the tune title to the Plus file
(3) tune particulars (type, key, file ID)
(4) the "incipit", or first four measures of the tune in ABC format
[b] xxx_ABC.txt file
This file contains all the ABCs for the tunes in the folder, ready for copying and pasting into a
translation app like BarFly or EasyABC.
The primary benefit of having access to the ABC
files is the ability of the user to make changes in the tune
(e.g. lower playback speed, remove or adjust ornamentation, etc.).
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 "ALT-NAMES" file
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This is a spreadsheet listing tunes that are known by multiple names.
Using a find/search command will take you to a row in the spreadsheet containing as many alternate names
as I could locate. The contents are arranged in no particular sorting order.
Please note that I didn't go into as much historical depth as Breathnach & co. did in the Ceol Rinnce na hEireann
volumes, nor have I tried to reproduce the fine work of other researchers. I have limited my efforts to tunes included
in this particular website and alternate names that might be encountered currently.
I also included some corrected spellings and transliterations of some of
the unfortunate phonetic Gaelic used by early collectors like
O'Farrell, Mulholland, et. al.
This file is definitely a work in progress and I would welcome any suggestions, corrections, that may be offered.