Index of Folk Music Tablature

Last Updated 28 November, 2003

About the Collection

Here's a small but growing collection of traditional songs.  The melody is provided in standard notation for all of the songs.  Some have been harmonized and some include guitar chords.  Tinwhistle tablature is available for most of the songs, sometimes with variations for whistles in more than one key.  Mountain dulcimer tablature is available for some of the songs, occasionally with variations for more than one tuning or playing style.  MIDI and/or MP3 files are available for some of the tunes.  See the paragraphs below for more information about these files.

The songs you find here are not copyrighted or the copyright has expired (unless otherwise noted), but the tablature, notation, and performances are.  You may print and use the tablature and notation for your own personal, noncommercial use.  What does that mean?  It means you can print the tablature to help you learn the songs but that you can't use the tablature in a workshop, club newsletter, or reprint it in any other publication without prior written permission.  Republication in any form, including electronic media, is prohibited and a violation of copyright law.  If you want to use the tablature or notation in a not-for-profit operation, please contact me – I usually will give permission and can even provide higher quality printed copies of the tablature for a nominal fee.

About the Graphics

Note that this tablature looks a bit rough around the edges because I wanted to make it fit a browser window on an 800 X 600 screen.  Wherever possible I've formatted the tablature so that the entire tune can be seen at once by scrolling the first staff to the top edge of the window.  If you hide the toolbars on your browser you will have more vertical viewing space and a better chance of seeing all of the tablature at once for playing directly from the screen.

About the MIDI and MP3 Files

MIDI files accompany some of the songs.  Keep in mind that the quality of your soundcard or other MIDI device will determine whether the MIDI file sounds like a tinwhistle or squealing brakes!  These MIDI files are very simple machine-generated files devoid of ornamentation, dynamics, and the expression that a live musician brings to a performance.  These MIDI files are intended not to entertain, nor even to demonstrate exactly how a song should be played, but to provide the beginner with a feel for the timing of the piece as they are learning it.  If you have MIDI sequencing software you can adjust the speed of the playback, gradually increasing speed as you learn the tune.  Using MIDI also allows you to learn to play the song by ear, weening yourself away from the tablature as you learn the song.  Each MIDI file begins with a measure of silence so you can easily detect the start of the song if you have the file looping.

I've begun using MP3 files in some cases.  These files are larger and require an MP3 player, but I can control the quality of sound to ensure that the result sounds at least a little like a flute or whistle instead of squealing brakes.  Unless otherwise noted MP3 files of the tinwhistle are still machine generated and devoid of ornamentation.  Unless otherwise noted MP3 files of the mountain dulcimer are me playing a real dulcimer but are still of simple arrangements lacking complex adornment – largely because I'm not a very good player yet. ;>0

About the Tinwhistle Tablature

Note that all of the tinwhistle tablature is for a D whistle unless otherwise noted.  Of course, you could play the same positions on another whistle and you would simply be transposing to another key.  If, for example, the key signature on the staff indicates a key of D and the tablature is for a whistle in the key of D, if you play the same holes on a C whistle you have just transposed the tune to the key of C.  Likewise, if the key signature indicates a key of G (one sharp) and you play the tablature on a C whistle you have transposed the tune to the key of F.  Here is a chart to help you visualize which keys may be easily played on a given instrument.

Whenever you see a down-pointing arrow above a tinwhistle tablature symbol it means that, as written, that note would be an octave below the displayed symbol and is unavailable on the tinwhistle.  Often, you can merely play the tablature as shown, ignoring the down arrow, and it will sound okay.  This is usually true if you are playing with an ensemble where a vocalist or other instrument may pick up the low note.  Other times you'll have to experiment to determine what treatment of the low notes best pleases you.  (NOTE: Usually, if the entire tune can be transposed up an octave without going beyond the whistle's second octave I will have already written the tablature that way.)

About the Mountain Dulcimer Tablature

Most of the tablature is for a dulcimer tuned DGD or DAD as these are my favorite tunings.  Here's why they're my favorite tunings

In cases where I play the tune using a traditional droning style, with all fretted notes being on the melody string, only one line of tablature is shown.  I show all strings for other cases.

In some cases more than one arrangment is shown or tablature is provided for more than one dulcimer tuning.

The graphics files here were created using abc notation and the jaabc2ps utility.  Midi files were generated using abc notation and James Allright's handy utility, abc2midi.  Some of the MP3s were created from MIDIs generated by that tool.  In most cases I've made the abc notation file available.  In the future I will probably switch to making only the abc notation available because the graphics and mp3 files are taking far too much space.  I've already had to upgrade to a more expensive web hosting account once.

Index to Notation and Tablature

The following tables show what is currently available in my collection.  There are individual tables for Christmas music, traditional hymns, North American traditional and patriotic, other traditional music, and collections transcribed from old books.  Songs from such collections also have a link to the collection index.  Songs are in alphabetical order by title within each table.  In most cases, "MIDI" and "MP3" links in the instrument columns are either machine-generated files or simple arrangements devoid of ornamentation and intended only to illustrate the melody and approximate timing of the piece while links in the "performance" column are recorded human performances sometimes including more than one instrument.

Traditional Christmas
abc notation file
TitlePianoMtn. DulcimerTinwhistlePerformance
Away in a Manger     Tab MIDI  
Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella     Tab MIDI  
The First Noel     Tab MIDI  
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen     Tab MIDI  
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing     Tab MIDI  
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear     Tab MIDI  
Jingle Bells     Tab MIDI  
Joy to the World!     Tab MIDI  
O Come all Ye Faithful     Tab MIDI  
O Holy Night!     Tab MIDI  
O Little Town of Bethlehem     Tab MIDI  
Silent Night     Tab MIDI MP3  
What Child is This?     D whistle
Low D whistle
Low G whistle
We Three Kings   DGD Tab MIDI  
We Wish You a Merry Christmas     Tab MIDI  

TitlePianoMtn. DulcimerTinwhistlePerformance
Amazing Grace   DGD Tab MIDI Tab MIDI MP3 D Whistle
He Leadeth Me 101 Sheet MP3 DAA&DAD Tab MP3  
In the Secret of His Presence 101 Sheet MP3   Tab MP3  
Jesus, Tender Shepherd, Hear Me 101 Sheet MP3 DAA&DGD Tab MP3  
Make Me a Worker for Jesus (SOP) Sheet MP3   Tab MP3  

North American Traditional and Patriotic
TitlePianoMtn. DulcimerTinwhistlePerformance
America (My Country 'Tis of Thee) 101 Sheet MP3 DGD Tab MP3  
America the Beautiful 101 Sheet MP3   C Whistle MP3  
Battle Hymn of the Republic 101 Sheet MP3   Bb Whistle MP3  
Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean 101 Sheet MP3   Tab MP3  
Down on Penney's Farm   DGD Tab MP3  
The Dreary Black Hills   DGD DAD Tab MP3  
Old Folks At Home 101 Sheet MP3   Tab MP3  
Shenandoah     Tab MIDI MP3  
The Wabash Cannon Ball   DAD Tab MP3  
Yankee Doodle 101 Sheet MP3   Tab MP3  
Yankee Doodle Dandy-O!     Tab MIDI MP3  

English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Celtic
TitlePianoMtn. DulcimerTinwhistlePerformance
Annie Laurie 101 Sheet MP3   C Whistle MP3  
The Buzzing Whistle Jig     D Whistle  
March of the Men of Harlech 101 Sheet MP3   Eb Whistle MP3  
Oh, Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast 101
(Burns' Poem set to Mendelssohn)
Sheet MP3   Bb Whistle MP3  
Robin Adair 101 Sheet MP3   Bb&Eb MP3  
The Wearing of the Green 101 Sheet MP3   C Whistle MP3  

TitlePianoMtn. DulcimerTinwhistlePerformance
Believe Me, If Those Endearing Young Charms 101
Tune My Lodging is in the Cold Ground
Sheet MP3   Eb Whistle MP3  
Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes 101 Sheet MP3   Eb Whistle Eb MP3
4-part G Tab
4-part G MP3
The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring 101 Sheet MP3   Eb Whistle MP3  
Good-Night, Ladies 101 Sheet   Bb Whistle  
The Last Rose of Summer ("Martha") 101
Tune The Groves of Blarney
Sheet MP3   Eb Whistle MP3  
Nancy Lee 101 Sheet      
Sweet Genevieve 101 Sheet      
Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! 101 Sheet MP3   Bb Whistle MP3  

Book TitleAuthorType of MusicOrig. Pub. Date
The One Hundred and One Best Songs
Published by
The Cable Company
The World's Greatest Manufacturers of
Pianos, Inner-Player Pianos, and Organs

abc notation file (partially complete)
The Cable Company Various 1919, Chicago
Songs of Praises
as used by
Rev. J.H. Weber
in his
Revival Meetings
(Music Edition)
T.C. O'Kane Congregational Hymns 1885, Delaware, Ohio
O'Neill's Music Of Ireland
O'Neill's Dance Music of Ireland
O'Neill's Waifs and Strays
J. O'Neill Traditional Irish Music PDF and MIDI files from "ABC" transcribed by volunteers.

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