A Basic Folk Library - Countries
USA / UK / Ireland
Wales / Scotland / Ireland / England
Countries - Australia
NOTE: A bibliography of Australian Folk Songs here.
EDWARDS, RON "The Big Book of Australian Folk Song" (Rigby, 1976)
Ron also published "Great Australian Folk Songs" through Ure Smith Press in 1991. It is shown in the colophon as "First published by Rigby, 1976." and appears to be the same book. Details for this are: Edwards, Ron; "Great Australian Folk Songs;" Ure Smith Press, 1991. Copyright R. G. Edwards 1976. ISBN 0 7254 0861 8; 507 pages, including 92 pages of indices etc; Words, music, collection dates and sources. Review here.
SCOTT, BILL "The Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore" (Sydney, Ure Smith, 1976)
Compiled and annotated by Bill Scott. Illustrated with plates and with musical examples.
Countries - Canada
BARBEAU, MARIUS "Jongleur Songs of Old Quebec" (Rutgers, The State University, 1962)
A good collection of jongleur and voyageur songs recorded by the author between 1916 and 1925 along the St. Lawrence. Melodies, French texts and singable English translations plus full commentaries and bibliography.
FOWKE, EDITH "Folksongs of Quebec" (2 vols) (?Waterloo Music, 19??)
The book has excellent notes, combs backs so it lies flat, and is available from Empire Music in Vancouver over the net
FOWKE, EDITH "Traditional Singers and Songs from Ontario" (???, 19??)
FOWKE, EDITH and JOHNSON, RICHARD "Folksongs of Canada" (2 vols) (Waterloo Music, 1975)
These books have excellent notes, comb backs so they lie flat, and are available from Empire Music in Vancouver over the net
FOWKE, EDITH "Folklore of Canada" (M & S Pub., 1976)
Contains many songs as well as the folklore. 349 pp. The 1990 reprint is subtitled "Tall Tales, Stories, Rhymes and Jokes from Every Corner of Canada".
IVES, EDWARD D. ("SANDY") "Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs From Prince Edward Island" (Inst. Island Studies, 1999)
If you are at all curious about the field work of a folklorist this book is for you. In the book you meet the men and women in whose heads the songs were preserved. These people were anxious to help, knowing the importance of the work and happy to find someone who was interested in them and their songs. The book also includes a number of photographs of the contributors and the area in which they live, the words and music to 62 songs and a CD of the original field recording of 14 of those songs. Reviewed in a Mudcat thread by Maemanson here.
IVES, EDWARD D. ("SANDY") "Folksongs of New Brunswick" (Fredericton, Goose Lane Edition, 1989)
Sandy Ives' song collection from New Brunswick."
PEACOCK, KENNETH "Songs of the Newfoundland Outports" (Nat. Mus. Canada, 1965)
Published by the National Museum of Canada as "Bull. 197", 3 volumes, 1035 pp. Indispensable not only for Canada, but for songs brought over from UK.
Countries - England
BELL, ROBERT (ed) "Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England" (London, Parker, 1857)
Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England, Taken Down From Oral Recitation and Transcribed From Private Manuscripts, Rare Broadsides and Scarce Publications. A revision, with additions, by Bell of Dixon's volume of the same title. Project Gutenberg e-text is here and another version (better formatted) here.
BRUCE, J. COLLINGWOON and STOKOE, JOHN (eds) "Northumbrian Minstrelsy" (Newcastle, Soc. Antiquaries, 1882)
A Collection of the Ballads, Melodies, and Small-Pipe Tunes of Northumbria. One of the great early collections of regional song, even though both tunes and words have been subjected to editing, and the provenance of some of the songs is not immediately evident.
Reprinted by Llanerch Press, 19??. ISBN 1 86143 039 6
D'URFEY, THOMAS "Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy" (6 vols) (London, Playford, 1698-1720)
Thomas D'Urfey, 1653-1723, English song writer and dramatist. His comedies for the stage were forerunners of the ballad opera. In 1699-1700 Wit and Mirth; or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, which included his own witty, satirical songs and many older tunes adapted to new lyrics, played in London. This was a major source for ballad operas, including the tunes of John Gay's Beggar's Opera.
JONES, LEWIS (ed) "Sweet Sussex: Folk songs from the Broadwood collections" (Sutton Coldfield, Ferret Publications, 1995)
Folk songs from the Broadwood collections, both words and music, "... faithfully written down exactly as they were sung by country people in the Weald of Sussex". (ISBN 0 9526363 0 1)
KARPELES, MAUD (ed) "The Crystal Spring : English Folk Songs Collected by Cecil Sharp" (Oxford Univ. Press, 1975)
A collection of 143 of the English songs collected by Cecil J. Sharp. The melodies are supplemented with Pat Shaw's chords for guitar or piano accompaniment. A welcome updationg of good traditional material. The paperback version was issued in 1987.
KNOWLES, JAMIE (ed) "A Northern Lass: Traditional Dance Music of North-West England" ()
A particular favourite of mine, a collection of tunes from North West England(Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Lake District) from the last four centuries. Contains 118 tunes suitable for all melody instruments, standard treble clef notation with chord symbols. Photos, tune history, playing tips, discography, bibliography. There are some real beauties in here, especially the 3/2 pieces. The title tune is a lovely 4 part reel in G minor, full of the wistful delicacy for which this genre is famous. The suggested chord changes are exquisite. There is a review here.
LLOYD, A. L. "Folk Song in England" (Granada, 1975)
Lloyd attempts to systematically trace the development of the genre from what he viewed as its origins in agrarian songs, dances and plays into industrial song. The main strength of Folk Song In England probably lies in its authoritative use of language rather than any overt historical accuracy.
MACKAY, CHARLES (ed) "Cavalier Songs & Ballads of England 1642-84" (London, 1863)
The classic collection of English Civil War songs from one side of the conflict. Available as a Project Gutenberg e-text here and also (better formatted) here.
O'SHAUGHNESSY, PATRICK "Twenty-One Lincolnshire Folk Songs" (Oxford University Press 1967)
O'SHAUGHNESSY, PATRICK "More Folk Songs From Lincolnshire " (Oxford University Press 1970)
O'SHAUGHNESSY, PATRICK "Yellowbelly Ballads, Part One" (Lincolnshire & Humberside Arts, 1975)
O'SHAUGHNESSY, PATRICK "Yellowbelly Ballads, Part Two" (Lincolnshire & Humberside Arts, 1975)
Mr. O'Shaughnessy did a magnificent job editing these volumes, in which most of the songs come from Percy Grainger's collection. The thorough and painstaking research that went into these works, both in the presentation of the songs and in their annotations, is commendable and these books cannot be recommended highly enough. A useful site about the songs in these books, including a number of lyrics is here.
PALMER, ROY (ed) "BUSHES AND BRIARS - Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams" (Dent, 1983)
A selection, edited by Roy Palmer. Reviewed here. (ISBN 1 86143 072 )2)
Reprinted by Llanerch Press, 19??
PURSLOW, FRANK (ed) "Marrow Bones" (EFDSS Publications, 1965)
PURSLOW, FRANK (ed) "The Wanton Seed" (EFDSS Publications, 1968)
PURSLOW, FRANK (ed) "The Constant Lover" (EFDSS Publications, 1972)
PURSLOW, FRANK (ed) "The Foggy Dew" (EFDSS Publications, 1974)
Four books of songs, mainly from Dorset and Hampshire, from the Hammond and Gardiner collections, which were influential for the post-war revival and remain very useful; some of the texts and tunes are emended, but this is indicated in the notes.
Rumour has it that these books are to be reprinted by EFDSS in September 2001.
SEDLEY, STEPHEN (ed) "The Seeds of Love" (London, Essex Music, 1967)
"collated from broadsides in Dorset and Essex". Contains a good deal of background information on the songs within.
SHARP, CECIL J. (ed) "One Hundred English Folksongs" (******, 1916)
English folk music collector Cecil J. Sharp (1859-1924) was one of the most renowned musicologists in the area of true folksong, and these 100 folksongs were all collected by him from actual singers all across Britain, The tunes are presented precisely as they were originally taken down from the lips of the singers. Arranged for medium voice and piano, these songs are among the best in the English folk tradition. Review here.
Reprinted by Dover in 1989 (ISBN 0-486-23192-5)
STEWART, R. J. "Where is St. George? Pagan Imagery in English Folksong" (Bradford-on-Avon, Moonraker, 1977)
Pagan remains and cabbalism in English folk music.
Reprinted by Blandford Press, NY in 1988
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, RALPH and LLOYD, A. L. "The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs" (Penguin, 1975)
Originally published in 1959, reprinted 1968 and 1875. A lovely collection of English songs, all of which are in the Digital Tradition database and a mudcat thread HERE.
Countries - Germany
NOTE: Thanks especially to Wolfgang and Wilfried for this section. Please also see the Mudcat thread German Folk Music.
Many of the comments below are from this German Songbooks Collection web page.
"Das Lagerliederbuch, Lieder gesungen, gesammelt und geschrieben im Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen" (Pläne Verlag, 1980)
This book (songs sung, collected, and written in Sachsenhausen concentration camp) is a reprint of a handwritten illegal booklet existing in Sachsenhausen concentration camp (1942) in which the inmates collected their songs, old and new. The famous anti-Nazi songs (e.g., peatbog soldiers/Moorsoldaten) are in there as well as common German folksongs. Some of the songs are even the same songs as found in the Hitler youth songbook of their wardens. About 130 songs without tunes and annotations, attention in reprinted handwriting, not always easy to read.
BREUER, H. "Der Zupfgeigenhansl : Das Liederbuch der Wandervögel" (Lpz, Friedrich Hofmeister, 1908)
The title translates as: "Johnny Guitar : songbook of the wandering birds". About 250 songs with tunes and chords; attention some reprints are in the original 'fraktur' writing (a page in Fraktur as an example) that makes reading difficult if you are not used to it. Wandervogel is the name of a pre-WWI youth movement, who have "built our empire in the woodlands". In protest against city civilization and its cheap musical culture they turned back to the roots: nature and the old German folksongs. In spite of their romantic sentiments they fought hard in WWI; Hans Breuer, editor of the Z., was KIA at the Western Front. There is a particularly good edition by Scherrer, Royal Bavarian Chamber Guitarist, with easy accompaniments for guitar. There have been many reprints, the latest being by Schott Verlag (Mainz, Schott Musik International (ED 3586) ISBN 3-7957-4002-9).
BUHMANN, H. and HAESELER, H. P. "Das kleine dicke Liederbuch" Little Thick Songbook (3rd ed., 1983)
Published by the authors, the 3rd edition is now out of print but may be reprinted soon. Contains more than 300 songs with tunes, chords and short annotations. These are songs that are sung in Germany today, most still in German, from old folksongs to very new songs from the hit parades. The book is the German equivalent to 'Rise up singing'. Wolfgang says "If you want to buy only one book to be able to sing with Germans when meeting them, you should buy this book". From a scholarly point of view, the book should be used with caution, as lyrics may be corrupted, changed or whole parts left out. The comments to the songs also have a strong leftist bais.
ERK, LUDWIG AND BÖHME, FRANZ M. "Deutscher Liederhort" (3 Vols) (Leipzig, 1893/4)
Ludwig Christian Erk (1807-1883) devoted his life to folksongs and music education. He gathered a vast private collection of folksongs. He wanted to publish a comprehensive book of German folksongs, but the nearest he came to this was his Deutscher Liederhort (1856). F. M. Böhme reorganized and enlarged this work into three volumes. Erk was a very influential person in German schools, as he published more than 100 editions of folksong and school-song collections.
Reprinted in 1963 by Olms in Hildesheim.
KLUSEN, E. "Deutsche Lieder" (German songs) (Insel Verlag, 1980)
1,000 years of German song, arranged in various categories. Includes about 800 songs with tunes and annotations. A great collection from the earliest known songs until today, with no discernible political bias. Wilfried recommends this book for people who want to sing with Germans.
KRÖHER, HEIN and OSS "Das sind unsere Lieder" These are Our Songs (Frankfurt am Main, Büchergilde Gutenberg, 1977)
218 songs with tunes and short annotations. More international in the choice of songs than Schmeckenbecher and Stern. A rare find in it is a German version of "Whiskey in the jar".
SCHILLING, K. and KÖNIG, H. "Der Turm" The Tower (Novelle, Wiesbaden, 1957)
New editions are continuously altered and updated. More than 500 songs with tunes and chords, but not annotated. Attention: my fairly recent edition is still in a difficult to read handwriting print. This is used by the numerous scout organizations in Germany (together with their own official songbooks). It's roots are in the romantic non-boy-scout youth movement of the early fifties. It doesn't contain many traditional German folksongs, but songs from this movement. A second volume was published in the early 60s, containing mostly international folksongs, some old compositions of the 16th century for 4-5 voices and a special section "the crazy tower" with a lot of funny songs.
SCHMECKENBECKER, E. and FRIZ, T. "Es wollt' ein Bauer früh aufstehn" a farmer wanted to rise early (Pläne Verlag, 1978)
222 songs with tunes and short annotations. More old German songs than Hein and Stern.
SCHMIDT, H. W. "Uns geht die Sonne nicht unter, Lieder der Hitler Jugend" (Koln, Tonger, 1934)
This book ("The sun doesn't go down for us, songs of the Hitler youth") is out of print in Germany, no reprints allowed, occasionally available via internet bookshops at around $400. About 150 songs with tunes and without any comment, attention only available in Fraktur print (see Zupfgeigenhansl). Wolfgang says "I have long considered not mentioning it here but I have decided to include it for its historical value and to add an antidote (see the first entry)". Many of the songs are common German folksongs, only about 20% of them are explicit Nazi songs. Some versions do not have tunes.
STEINITZ, W. "Der grosse Steinitz" (2 Vols) (East-Berlin, 1955)
Subtitled "Deutsche Volkslieder demokratischen Charakters aus sechs Jahrhunderten" (The big Steinitz, German folksongs of a democratic character from six centuries). Later reprints, e.g. by Zweitausendeins, are probably out of print today and very hard to find. About 300 songs not counting variants and parodies, no tunes, scholarly annotated comment, including discussion of variants of the songs. The nearest to Child. Edited in the GDR, therefore a predictable political bias with notable omissions, but a great book nevertheless.
STERN, A. "Lieder gegen den Tritt" Songs Against Cadence (Asso Verlag, 1960)
Subtitled "Politische Lieder aus fünf Jahrhunderten" (Political songs from five centuries). More than 300 songs with tunes and short annotations. More political songs than Kröher and Schmeckenbecker.
VON ARNIM, L. and BRENTANO, C. "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" The Boy's Magic Horn (3 vols) (Heidelberg, Mohr und Zimmer, 1806-8)
Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim published Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a collection of more than 700 folksongs, in 1804-1807. The collection has a classified index: Geistliche Lieder, Handwerkslieder, Historische Romanzen, Liebeslieder, Trinklieder, Kriegslieder. Brentano and Arnim did not attempt to preserve pure texts and frequently added to the songs, but they did include the sources of the songs whenever these were available. Although the collection is not a scholarly treatment, it exercised great influence upon 19th century lyric poets and inspired scholarly research into folksong. There have been many reprints (e.g. from DTV, 3 volumes, 1984). There are about 1500 songs without tunes, but explanation to the songs. Many of the songs are not sung today.
Last reprinted 1999. Available from Amazon via Distribooks International.
Countries - Hawai'i
NOTE: Hawai'i used to be a kingdom but was taken over by USA. There are many folk, cowboy and other songs that are being collected.
There is a good list of Hawai'ian books at HawaiianSong here and a useful history of Hawai'i here.
There is also a History of Labour in Hawai'i here and a useful bibliography here.
ELBERT, SAMUEL H. and NOELANI, MAHOE "Na Mele o Hawai'i Nei, 101 Hawaiian Songs" (Honolulu, Univ Hawai'i Press, 1970)
A good basic song book, in print, with words in Hawaiian and English (no music). Na Mele o Hawai`i Nei is a must for those involved in Hawaiian music. It is one of the few collections of Hawaiian songs of its kind, with translations and some very interesting background information about the songs and composers.
PUKUI, MARY K. and KORN, ALFONS L. "The Echo of Our Song, Chants and Poems of the Hawaiians" (Univ. Hawai'i Press, 1973)
This anthology is an excellent introduction to Hawaiian mele. It covers a wide variety of compositions, including very old song-poems of the Pele and Hi`iaka cycle, the pre-Christian Shark Hula, post-missionary chants and gospel hymns. Both Hawai'ian and English. There is a review here (you will need to scroll down to it).
Countries - Ireland
NOTE: Resources on Irish Singing here and here.
BEHAN, DOMINIC "Ireland Sings" (London, Essex Music, 1965)
A collection of about 100 old and contemporary Irish songs, with music. Contains many original titles by Behan himself under his own name and two of his many pseudonyms (Fintan Connoly and Wolfe Stephens. Named after his two sons Fintan and Stephen).
BREATHNACH, BREANDAN "Folk Music and Dances of Ireland" (Dublin, Mercier Press, 1977. )
A Comprehensive Study Examining the Basic Elements of Irish Folk Music and Dance Traditions
BULMER, DAVE and SHARPLEY, NEIL "Music of Ireland" (4 vols) (Louth Lincs., Celtic Music, 1974-1978)
A nice collection of music in 4 small volumes. During the 1970s Dave Bulmer and Neil Sharpley published a series of four books of Irish traditional music called Music From Ireland. Most of the tunes were collected from sessions and contemporary players, so the settings are pretty close to what is played today. A tune list for the books is here.
CARSON, CIARAN "Last Night's Fun" (Pimlico, 19??)
A book about Irish Traditional music by the poet, musician and philosopher. Review here.
COYNE, DECLAN "The Lilting Sons of Country Folk" (Culleenirwan, Dha Lon Promotions, 2000)
A dip into Irish Music in Mid & South Roscommon, The Personalities and Events, Past and Present. A new book of local musical lore from the southern half of Co. Roscommon, Ireland, it's a work of immense charm and one most people will likely not otherwise come across. The author, Declan Coyne, is a sometime singer, one-time fiddler and an everyday dairy farmer with a diploma in Community Development Practice. Where the book succeeds admirably is in presenting an approximately 100-year slice of the musical life of a region of rural Ireland. In doing so, it reveals a great deal about Ireland's living folk song tradition through its ballad singers and composers. It is a book that puts faces on songs and color to the countryside. 224 pages with many pictures. Good review here.
CROKER, T. CROFTON (ed) "Popular Songs, Illustrative of the French Invasions of Ireland" (4 vols) (London, Percy Society, 1845-7)
Edited, with introductions and notes, by T Crofton Croker. Includes "The Genuine and Curious Memoirs of the famous Captain Thurot", etc. edited from the edition of 1760.
DUFFY, CHARLES GAVAN (ed) "The Spirit of The Nation" (Dublin, The Nation, 1843)
Ballads and Songs by the writers of "The Nation" with Original and Ancient Music arranged for the Voice and Pianoforte (2nd enl. edn. Dublin & London 1882, new ed. Dublin: Duffy & Son 1898). Some information about "The Nation" here.
FAOLAIN, TURLOUGH "Blood On the Harp"
Turlough Faolain tells of Ireland from the mists of antiquity to the 1800's. A good historical summary in song.
GALVIN, PATRICK "Irish Songs of Resistance (1169-1923)" (London, Oak, 1962)
An important compendium, now out of print, it does a pretty good job in 100 odd pages of providing a brief history of the period as background to a selection of maybe 60 Irish songs.
HAMMOND, DAVID "Songs of Belfast" (Skerries Co. Dublin, Gilbert Dalton, 1978)
This is an excellent little book comprised mostly of North of Ireland childrens street songs. The book contains 60 songs, also mill workers songs and the well known "I`ll tell my ma" etc.
HARDIMAN, JAMES (ed) "Irish Minstrelsy or Bardic Remains of Ireland" (2 vols) (London,Robins, 1831)
With English Poetical Translations and bibliographical references. 1971 edition introduced by Máire Mhac an tSaoi.
Reprinted New York, Barnes and Noble, 1971
HARTE, FRANK "Songs of Dublin" (Dublin, Gilbert Dalton, 1978)
MORTON, ROBIN "Songs of Ulster" (Dublin, Gilbert Dalton, 1978)
O CANAINN TOMAS, "Down Erin's Lovely Lee : Songs of Cork" (Dublin, Gilbert Dalton, 1978)
Nice little collections of songs for folks that can't afford the Sam Henry. Biography of Frank Harte here.
HEALY, JAMES N. "The Second Book of Irish Ballads" (Cork, Mercier Press, 1964)
Second of a series of three books, occasionally published. The 2nd book has some tunes in it.
HUNTINGTON, GAIL and HERMANN, LANNI "Sam Henry's Songs of The People" (Moulden, 19??)
The book is a terrific collection of (mostly Irish) folk songs, with tunes for most. Lots of good background information, too.
JOLLIFFEE, MAUREEN "The Third Book of Irish Ballads" (Cork, Mercier Press, 1970)
A useful collection of about 70 Irish songs. About half have tunes notated. Some old favourites and some less common. Background notes and comments from the author - who used to edit the "Ireland Sings" column in the magazine "Ireland's Own". Out of print, but still turns up in bookshops.
LOESBERG, JOHN (ed) "Folksongs and ballads popular in Ireland" (4 vols) (Ossian, 19??)
Good sources of songs. Much of the contents is probably duplicated in "Soodlums" and they are cheaper. The books have 50 songs in each. They are not all Irish songs by a long shot. Its a good hit parade of stuff.
MCDONNEL, JOHN (ed) "Songs of Struggle and Protest" (Skerries, Gilbert Dalton, 1979)
This is in the same Gilbert Dalton series as "Songs of Cork, Dublin, etc.". Its a good collection of left-wing (more or less!) songs from many countries, with a reasonable number of Irish ones. Music for all of them. Some background articles, a bibliograpy and a discography.
MAC MATHUNA, SÉAMUS "Traditional Songs and Singers" (2nd ed) (Monkstown, Co. Dublin, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, 1993)
A few songs are in Gaelic, a few Gaelic-English and the rest in English, 22 in all. There is a lot of info of the songs and singers, people like Paddy Tunney, Geordie Hanna, Len Graham, Paddy Berry, Micheal O Suilleabhain,Una de Faoiteand, Tomas O Coisdealbha (Tom Phaidin Tom) and others.
MASON, REDFERN "The Song Lore of Ireland: Erin's Story In Music and Verse" (New York, Baker and Taylor, 1911)
*** I don't have any further information on this book. Please contact me if you can help. Thanks, Ian ***
MUSIC SALES CORPORATION (author) "Soodlums Irish Ballad Book" (Oak Publications Co, 1982)
A mix of traditional and modern songs with tunes; it has scanty notes and some nice photos. The book is not very handy to take to gigs and such as it is not very portable. Review here.
O BAOILL, SEAN "The Irish Song Tradition" (Cork, Ossian, 1976)
This book, which begins with an essay on Irish musical form, tonality, and metre (not all of which should be believed), contains 25 songs, six of them in Irish.
O LOCHLAINN, COLM "The Complete Irish Street Ballads" (London, Pan Books, 1984)
Irish collector and performer. 1st editions 1939 [Vol. 1] and 1968 [Vol. 2].
O'LOCHLAINN, COLM "Irish Street Ballads" (The Three Candles, 1965)
O'LOCHLAINN, COLM "More Irish Street Ballads" (The Three Candles, 1965)
A choice collection, made by Colm O Lochlainn, of 102/100 songs - all well worth singing. Many of them are of respectable antiquity, 200 years or so, and many more were made in recent times, e.g. "The Foot and Mouth Disease", "Bachelor's Walk", "The Ragman's Ball". Grave and gay, old and new, rich and rare, free and easy, this book holds many songs which will be loved the world over. Reprinted some years ago in paperback and reasonably available. Comhaltas' web site is here.
O'KEEFFE, DANIEL D. "The First Book of Irish Ballads" (Cork, Mercier Press, 1955)
First of a series of three books, occasionally published. There are no tunes in the 1st book.
O'NEILL FRANCIS "O'Neill's Music of Ireland" (******, 1903)
The largest collection of Irish music ever printed, 1,850 tunes, and contains over 90% of traditional music being played today. This collection was published in 1903, as a result of the efforts of Capt. Francis O'Neill and many traditional musicians attending the Chicago Music Club, circa 1890-1900. Review here.
Reprinted numerous times, most recently by Mel Bay, 1997
O'SULLIVAN, DONAL "Songs of The Irish" (Dublin, Mercier Press, 1981)
An Anthology of Irish Folk Music and Poetry with English Verse Translations.
OG, SEAN and O BAOILL, MANUS "Ceolta Gael" (2 vols) (Baile Atha Cliath, 1994)
Book 1 contains 91 songs and music. There are a selection of love songs, emigration songs, sad and patriotic songs, lullabys etc. Book 2 is a song book for the person who likes to sing from time to time. The words and music to 72 Irish songs make up this collection, which includes Love songs, funny songs, immigration songs, patriotic and sad songs. All are written in the Irish Language. ISBNs 0853424101, 0853427380.
PETRIE, GEORGE "The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland" (Dublin, 1855)
Widely regarded as one of the most important nineteenth-century collections of traditional Irish music. It contains nearly two hundred melodies collected by Petrie as well as song texts in Irish and English and detailed notes by Petrie about the sources of the songs or pieces. Review here.
SHIELDS, HUGH "Shamrock, Rose and Thistle: Folksinging in North Derry" (Blackstaff Press, 1981)
This collection draws on the repertoire of singers from Magilligan Parish in the north of Co. Derry, the most famous of whom was the late Eddie Butcher. In addition to texts and airs (transcribed to reflect the actual twists of performance, thus not for the faint-hearted), Shields provides interesting notes about the songs themselves, performance practices, and the life of those who sang them.
TUNNEY, PADDY "The Stone Fiddle: My Way to Traditional Song" (Dublin, Gilbert Dalton, 1979)
Paddy has been much recorded; his book, which is primarily a book of reminiscences, contains texts and tunes to twenty-nine of his songs.
VALLELEY, FINTAN "The Companion to Irish Traditional Music" (Cork University Press, 1999)
Anyone with an interest in the music and song MUST have a copy of this monumental (450 pages or so) tome. The contributors are all experts in the field and the coverage is vast. Sure - there are people muttering about who's left out and who's left in - this is Ireland after all! Despite some problems and idiosyncracies, this will be the standard reference until someone else has the patience and dedication to replace it. MusTrad review here, Amazon review here and another good review here.
WALLIS, GEOFF and WILSON, SUE "The Rough Guide to Irish Music" (Rough Guides, 2001)
Most books on Irish music seem to be focused on the early history of the music, but there was little about the last 50 years. The first part of the book gives an excellent background on the history of Irish music and its evolution over the last fifty years. The next sections give profiles of key artists and bands with recommendations about their best CD's. Amazon reviews here.
ZIMMERMAN, GEORGES-DENIS "Songs of Irish Rebellion" (Dublin, Allen Figgis, 1967)
Georges Zimmerman, a Swiss professor, published a book in 1965 called "Irish Political Street Ballads and rebel Songs 1780-1900". It was subsequently published in Ireland and USA as "Songs of Irish Rebellion", with the original as subtitle (bit of a misnomer, really, since it includes Orange songs). Although written for an academic audience originally, it's a fascinating book with a great collection of songs, many with tunes. It's essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the connections between Irish song and Irish politics. Buy it!
Reprinted May 2002 by Four Courts Press. ISBN 1-85182-629-7 .
Countries - Man
NOTE: The Manx Heritage Site here contains a number of useful Manx resources (including some used below).
There is a useful history of music in The Isle of Man here and a bibliography of works by Mona Douglas here.
Many of the online links below are from A Manx Notebook here.
BROADBENT, S. K. (ed) "The Manx Quarterly" (Isle of Man Examiner, 1907-1923)
The Manx Quarterly, 'an illustrated Review and Magazine' was issued by S.K.Broadbent's Isle of Man Examiner 1907-1923 (last issue #29) - it was particularly useful for obituaries for the period and for news of both individual Manx emigrants and Manx organisations overseas. Such information was later carried by Ellan Vannin. Selected pages available online here.
CLAGUE, JOHN "Cooinaghtyn Manninagh - Manx Reminiscences" (Castletown IoM, Backwell, 1911)
Contains many interesting notes on history, customs, folklore and folk-medicine, gathered by him. It was only just completed before his death in 1908 and was published posthumously in 1911. We must not omit to place it on record that the doctor himself was an expert musician, and that he was responsible for creating a hymn tune which has been included in several collections, namely that entitled Crofton. Available online here. There is an article on John Clague here.
GILL, W. H. (ed) "Manx National Songs with English Words" (Boosey and Co., 1896)
Manx National Songs with English Words selected from the MS. Collection of The Deemster Gill, Dr J. Clague, and W.H.Gill and arranged by W.H.Gill. Available online here.
HARRISON, WILLIAM (ed) "Mona Miscellany" (Douglas IoM, The Manx Society, 1873)
A selection of proverbs, sayings, ballads, customs, superstitions and legends peculiar to the Isle of Man. Available online here.
MOORE, ARTHUR W. (ed) "Manx Ballads and Music" (Douglas IoM, Johnson, 1896)
Manx Ballads and Music (Celtic Language and Literature : Goidelic and Brythonic) by Arthur W. Moore (Editor). Available online here.
WORLD MANX ASSOCIATION "Ellan Vannin" (World Manx Association, 1923-1928)
Ellan Vannin was the biennial magazine of the World Manx Association - first issue December 1923. Ran for 9 numbers ceasing in 1928. It replaced The Manx Quarterly which carried such reports from 1918-1924. Includes articles on Manx Songs, Manx Carols etc. Selected pages available online here.
Countries - Scotland
NOTE: A bibliography of Scots Gaelic music here.
BROADWOOD, LUCY E. (ed) and TOLMIE, FRANCES (coll) "105 Songs of Occupation from the Western Isles" (Lampeter, 1997)
A reprint of the famous collection by Frances Tolmie (1840-1926) that first appeared in an issue of the Journal of the Folk-Song Society in 1911. With an Introduction by Lucy E Browadwood, one of the editing committee for the Journal, 'Notes and Reminiscences' and 'A singer's memories of Life in Skye' by Miss Tolmie and a 'Note on the Modal system of Gaelic Tunes' by Annie G. Gilchrist. With English translation and music in Staff notation.
BRANDER, MICHAEL "Scottish & Border Battles & Ballads" (Clarkson N. Potter, 1975)
A very well-researched and expertly collected selection of ballads that chronicle the time between the Battle of Largs (1263) and the famous Battle of Culloden (1746). Review here. (ISBN 0-517-552500-3 LC-75-44444)
KENNEDY-FRASER, MARJORY "Songs of The Hebrides" (3 vols) (London, Boosey, 1909-21)
Full title "Songs of the Hebrides, and other Celtic songs from the Highlands of Scotland". Hebridean songs in Scots Gaelic. Here is an interesting article by Kennedy-Fraser on Hebridean scales, published in conjunction with the books.
LOESBERG, JOHN "Traditional Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland" (3 vols) (Ossian, 19??)
"We have really used these books quite extensively (e.g., Burns Night, preapring for St Patrick's Day gigs). We use them for lyrics (my wife and I), guitar chords (me) and melody lines for flute or penny whistle (my daughter). They also include some (limited) historical notes on many of the songs. We highly recommend them."
ORD, JOHN "Bothy Songs and Ballads" (John Donald, 1990)
An interesting article on Bothy Ballads here.
SHULDMAN-SHAW, PATRICK et al "The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection" (8 vols) (Mercat Press, 19??-1988)
Edited by Patrick Shuldman-Shaw, Emily Lyle, & Adam McNaughtan. The eight volumes of The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection published by Mercat Press have thousands of texts and tunes of songs collected around 100 years ago in the North East, discussion on the songs, and details of the singers.
Countries - USA
BONI, MARGARET BRADFORD (ed) "The Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs" (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1952)
Tunes from the gay 90s (that's 1890s, and no, that's not what Gay meant), spirituals, folk songs, Civil War songs, lovely old American hymns (stolen from other sources, yes, but here printed in their American versions). The editors weren't trying to create authentic arrangements, so some of the chords are a hipper than would have been played 100 years ago, but nothing that works against the spirit of the music, nothing jarringly modernistic. Amazon review here.
CHAPPLE,JOE MITCHELL "Heart Songs" (National Magazine & Chapple Publishing Co., 1909)
No matter what conclusions one might draw from its contents, Heart Songs is a lasting tribute to the musical culture of turn-of-the-century America and to the foresight of publisher and compiler Joe Mitchell Chapple. Review here.
EMRICH, DUNCAN "American folk poetry: an anthology" (Boston; Toronto, Little Brown, 1974)
Joe Hickerson prepared a superb bibliography for Duncan Emrich's American Folk Poetry. This is a collection of texts, no tunes, but good footnotes pointing to sources, and a wonderful selection of songs.
GILBERT, DOUGLAS "Lost Chords: The Diverting Story of American Popular Songs" (Doubleday Dorand, 1942)
Some fascinating stories about the songs in his book.
KENNEDY, CHARLES O'BRIEN (ed) "A Treasury of American Ballads Gay, Naughty, and Classic" (New York, McBride, 1954)
Interesting songs. Text only.
LAWS, G. MALCOLM Jr. "American Balladry from British Broadsides" (******, 1957)
A Guide for Students and Collectors of Traditional Song.
LAWS, G. MALCOLM Jr. "Native American Balladry" (******, 1964)
For hundreds of ballads, Laws give an identifying number, the title (and local variations), a summary of the ballad story, a sample stanza, and a list of sources for printed texts of the ballad.
LOMAX, ALAN "The Folk Songs Of North America" (Garden City, New York, Doubleday, 1960)
The folk songs of North America, in the English language / by Alan Lomax ; melodies and guitar chords transcribed by Peggy Seeger ; with one hundred piano arrangements by Matyas Seiber and Don Banks ; illustrated by Michael Leonard ; editorial assistant, Shirley Collins. Contents here.
LOMAX, JOHN A. and ALAN "American Ballads and Folk Songs" (MacMillan Co., 1934)
With this ample collection of authentic ballads and songs, you can immerse yourself in the rich tradition and heritage of American folk music. Discover the diversity, spontaneity, free-flowing melody and sheer invention of scores of songs sung by cowboys and convicts, lumberjacks, hobos, miners, plantation slaves, mountaineers, soldiers and many others. Review here.
MALONE, BILL C and STRICKLIN, DAVID "Southern Music, American Music" (University of Kentucky Press, 1979)
The South - an inspiration for songwriters, a source of styles, and the birthplace of many of the nation's greatest musicians - plays a defining role in American musical history. It is impossible to think of American music of the past century without such southern-derived forms as ragtime, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, gospel, rhythm and blues. ... As usual, Malone's bibliographic essay at the end of the book is a wonderful resource in itself. This short study (236 pp) is well worth seeking out - very readable and informative. It is available through Amazon.
SANDBURG, CARL "The American Songbag" (Harvest/HBJ Books, 1957)
A great folk song collection for all, but especially for Americans. Sandburg's American Songbag is a national treasure. "I suppose the words and music of these 280 songs, ballads, and ditties that people have sung forever could be found elsewhere, but where?" ISBN: 015605650X.
Reissued by Harcourt, 1990, with an intro by Garrison Keillor
SANDBURG, CARL "The New American Songbook" (******, ****)
This is the supplement to "The American Songbag".
SCOTT, JOHN ANTHONY "The Ballad of America" (New York, Grosset & Dunlap, 1967)
Includes a couple of background paragraphs on most of the songs in the volume.
SEEGER, RUTH CRAWFORD "American Folk Songs for Christmas" (Garden City, N.Y, Doubleday, 1953)
This is a book for which there has been a long-felt need, a collection of songs from the old-time Christmas. Review here.
There is a current version by The Shoestring Press (1999). ISBN: 0208024670.
WARNER, ANNE (ed) "Traditional American Folksongs from the Anne & Frank Warner Collection" (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1984)
The first published collection of folksongs the Warners gathered while travelling America. Includes music, background information on the singers, the history behind the songs, illustrations, bibliography and indexes.
Countries - USA (regions)
BAYARD, SAMUEL P. (ed) "Hill Country Tunes: Instrumental Folk Music of SW Pennsylvania" (American Folklore Society, 1944)
The tunes are from Southwestern Pennsylvania. Many are reels, schottisches, and quadrilles.
BELDEN H. M. (ed) "Ballads and Songs Collected by The Missouri Folklore Society" (U of Mo Press, 1940)
*** I'm sorry but I haven't been able to find out any more about this book. Can anybody help? ***
Reprinted in the 1960s
BROWN, FRANK C. "The Frank C. Brown collection" (not published)
As far as I can see, there is no published book of this collection of material from North Carolina. It is housed at Duke University (here). The advice for this is to be a little cautious ... Quote 'I can't tell you the page number, but I had to laugh when I saw that they printed "T for Texas, T for Tennessee" with the notation: "We have not found this piece reported in other collections." Randolph would have recognized it!'.
CAZDEN, NORMAN et al (eds) "Folk Songs of The Catskills" (Univ New York, 1958)
Norman Cazden, Herbert Haufrecht, and Norman Studer, editors. Cazden's collection (mostly Catskills) was apparently published as The Abelard Folk Song Book. Review here.
COX, JOHN HARRINGTON "Folk-Songs of the South" (Gretna, Pelican, 1998)
This is a reissue of Professor Cox's original 1925 edition with a foreword by Arthur Kyle Davis Jr. The book contains 185 songs in 398 versions or variants, with 29 tunes for 26 different songs. As Davis points out, although the songs were 'actually collected almost exclusively in West Virginia', the title of the book 'is accurate in that the songs included are really the heritage of similar regions throughout the South and, to a lesser extent, the whole country'.
FLANDERS, HELEN HARTNESS
For the New England Region, books by Helen Hartness Flanders (and various collaborators) describe the Flanders Ballad Collection at Middlebury Vermont (4500 folk songs and ballads collected over a 30 year period). The titles are: Vermont Folksongs and Ballads A Garland of Green Mountain Song The New Green Mountain Songster Ballads Migrant in New England Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England (4 volumes)
The official site for the collection is here at Middlebury College Library.
LINGENFELTER, Richard E et al "Songs of the American West" (Univ. California Press, 1968)
By Richard E Lingenfelter, Richard A Dwyer and David Cohen. This is a very useful book.
LINSCOTT, ELOISE HUBBARD "Folk Songs of Old New England" (MacMillan, 1939)
A wonderful singing-and-activity book brimming with well over 100 folk songs and ballads, nursery songs and singing games, lumbermen's songs, sea chanteys, country dances, minstrel songs, Child ballads and many more. Many selections are local to New England, others are known elsewhere in the United States. A substantial number are related to English, Scottish and other European traditional music. ISBN 0-486-27827-1
McNEILL, W. K. "Southern Folk Ballads" (2 vols) (August House, 1987-8
McNeil compiled this 2-volume set. It is a significant piece of scholarship, although not as comprehensive as even the one-volume Randolph Ozark Folksongs.
McNEILL, W. K. "Southern Mountain Folksongs: Traditional Songs from the Appalachians and the Ozarks" (August House, 1992)
This is a short work and covers very few songs - but McNeil tells a really good story about every song he covers. Maybe it's not comprehensive, but it's very enjoyable and interesting reading. McNeil is the editor of the August House American Folklore Series, a darn interesting collection of books. He's the folklorist at the Ozark Folk Center, and Mudcatters Arkie and Dale Rose are privileged to work with him there.
MORRIS, ALTON C. "Folksongs of Florida" (Univ. of Florida Press, 1990)
The only published collection of Florida folksongs.From more than a hundred singers, Alton Morris gathered these 243 folksongs in the late 1930s. Still in print.
RANDOLPH, VANCE "Ozark Folksongs" (4 vols) (Columbia, Missouri, 1946-1950)
Vance did more research among old songsters than almost any other folksong collector, most of whom limited their studies to the more scholarly collections. There is a Vance Randolph page here and the Vance Randolph Collection page is here.
Note: A single-volume abridged version was published by University of Illinois Press in 1982 and this is the version you're most likely to find in the bookshops.
RANDOLPH, VANCE "Roll Me In Your Arms" (Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Press, 1992)
RANDOLPH, VANCE "Blow the Candle Out" (Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Press, 1992)
Two volumes of "Unprintable" Ozark Folksongs & Folklore Folk Rhymes & Other Lore. Randolph provides an exposition of the material along with a discussion of its historical context, how the information was collected and some comparisons with other similar treasures. While this book (vol 2) is a bit pricey, it is worth every penny and might be the finest thing to come out of Arkansas in the 1990's. Vance Randolph page here. Note that the 2nd volume "Blow The Candle Out" is not yet out of print. Amazon review here.
ROHRBURG, LYNN (ed) "Songs of All Time" (Cooperative Recreation Service, 1946)
Songs of All Time is a small paperback book, handy for campfires and schools. The songs were collected at the Pine Mountain and Hindman settlement schools, Berea College and other points in the Southern Highlands. Edna Ritchie helped to edit one of the later editions (1957) and wrote the foreword. (Jean Ritchie says "Edna never had anything else published, although she wrote and produced endless plays for her students, made up wonderful stories for us at home, and even composed a song or two. She sang like an angel, and made one LP recording for Folk-Legacy, about thirty years ago").
THOMAS, JEAN "Ballad Makin' in the Mountains of Kentucky" (New York, Henry Holt, 1939)
A narrative and collection of folk songs from the Cumberlands, collected by Jean Thomas, herself from Kentucky. Some tunes collected from females. There's some biographical information on Jean Thomas here and a whole load of source material (some of which she undoubtedly used in the production of her book) catalogued here in the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library.
Countries - USA / UK / Ireland
Lesley's Contemplator site has a useful bibliography here.
WILGUS D. K. "Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship since 1898" (Rutgers University Press, 1959)
Will direct you to other worthwhile studies.
Countries - Wales
NOTE: The Celfyddydau Mari Arts Archive of traditional arts material from South Wales here.
WILLIAMS, MARIA JANE "Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg" (Welsh Folk Song Society, 1988)
"Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg, collected and arranged by Maria Jane Williams", a facsimile of the 1844 Edition with introduction and notes on the songs by Daniel Huws published by the Welsh Folk Song Society, 1988. One of the early collections with music and words, and the first by a woman. ISBN 0 907158 30 7.
KINNEY, PHYLLIS and EVANS, MEREDYDD "Canu'r Cymry: Detholiad o Ganeuon Gwerin" (2 vols) (Welsh Folk Song Society, 1984)
Canu'r Cymry: Detholiad o Ganeuon Gwerin (Welsh Folk Songs). A two volume collection of Welsh folk songs. Unaccompanied, Welsh words only, with additional Solfa notation, extensive background notes on each song in English and Welsh by the distinguished academic editors, Phylis Kinney and Meredydd Evans. A total of 82 songs covered in the two volumes, most of which are only available in these collections. Vol 1 (1984) - ISBN 0 900426 58 6
SAER, D. ROY (ed) "Caneuon Llafar Gwlad" (2 vols) (National Museum of Wales, 1974,1994)
Caneuon Llafar Gwlad (Songs from the Oral Tradition), published by the National Museum of Wales - Welsh Folk Museum. Each contains 30 songs, mostly transcribed from field recordings made by the Museum (from 1957-1964 and from 1965-1967). Vol I 1974 - ISBN 0 85485 026 0. Vol II: 1994 ISBN 0 7200 0406 3.
DAVIES, J. GLYNN "Fflat Huw Puw a cherddi eraill" (Gwasg Gomer, 1992)
A collection (as described by the author in 1923) of "old Welsh and old English melodies, and shanties and sea songs picked up on Welsh ships some thrity years ago." ISBN 0 86383 842 1.
HAMILTON, ALEX "Blodau'r Grug: 100 o Alawon Dawnsio Gwerin Poblogaidd Cymru" (Welsh Folk Dance Society 1992)
"Blodau'r Grug: 100 o Alawon Dawnsio Gwerin Poblogaidd Cymru / 100 Popular Welsh Folk Dance Tunes", selected and arranged by Alex Hamilton, revised by Robin Huw Bowen, published by The Welsh Folk Dance Society 1992. One of the standard collections used by musicians for folk dance teams and twmpathau (folk dances).
Countries - Wales / Scotland / Ireland / England
KENNEDY, PETER (ed) "Folksongs of Britain and Ireland" (London, Cassell, 1975)
This has songs in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, English, songs for drinking, unrequited love, weddings, etc. There are so many beautiful folk songs that can be played on any instrument ... 360 songs, a fine book.
Reprinted by Oak Publications, 1984
MILNER, DAN and KAPLAN, PAUL "A Bonnie Bunch of Roses: Songs of England, Ireland and Scotland" (Oak Publications, 19??)
150 traditional songs from the British Isles. Historical, informative and witty discourse about each song, with notes on original sources, a discography and a bibliography. Complete with guitar chords and special tunings.
PALMER, ROY "A Book of British Ballads" (Llanerch, 1998)
This fascinating and enjoyable collection, previously published as 'Everyman's Book of Ballads' in 1980, has once more become available through the enterprise of a small publishing company from Wales. In this volume, Roy Palmer has included a wide variety of texts and tunes from many varied sources. There are recently written pieces, like Roger Watson's The Christmas Hare, music hall items like The Mistletoe Bough, broadside ballad standards like The Banks of the Sweet Dundee as well as some unusual versions of Child ballads. Review here.
Last Updated : 05-10-2003 16:30