Some information and sites useful to new and perhaps not so new musicians. If you have links you think might be worth adding just let me know in the blog or by email if you know my address.
One resource I haven’t put a link for here is the session mailing list. We have a mailing list for session regulars so if a session is cancelled at short notice (very rare, but it has happened) we can let everyone know quickly. It also exists to promote discussion about how the sessions are going and other aspects of the music. It currently has over 40 members. If you want to be on it just let me (Chris) know your email address at a session.
Session Tunes List – First, a real work of scholarship from two of our Bradford session regulars Alfie Windsor and Kevin Eames. Alfie prepared the list of tunes that tend to get played frequently at that session (I can say they’re also pretty frequent at the Bath session too). It’s great piece of work because as far as possible Alfie has included for each tune a link to the score, a link to the music being played and the name of a book that includes it. The second part of the document is by Kevin, which complements Alfie’s work by giving a detailed breakdown of which tunes were played and how often! I can only bow before the work that has gone into this document. It’s in Word format (so that the links will work).
ICA Session Supplement – This document was produced by the International Concertina Association as a useful source of material for new English session musicians. It contains the 50 most common English tunes (as established by a survey in a magazine ) plus lots of advice about getting started and session etiquette.
The Lewes Favourites – This is a superb online English music resource, put together with loving care by the regulars of the Elephant & Castle session in Lewes. There are many, many fine tunes covering much of the core repertoire and presented as MIDI, PDF and ABC files, which covers most bets. I can’t recommend this site too highly.
The Village Music Project – To my mind a genuinely important site. Johnny Adams and Chris Partington are engaged in a project to digitise every English manuscript of dance tunes they can lay their hands on (and there are surprisingly many) and make their contents available on the Web in various formats including ABC. This site is not the easiest to work with and requires a little effort to get the best out of it, but it enables you to research tunes in a way not possible anywhere else.
ABC Convert-A-Matic – That’s a couple of times I’ve mentioned ABC. If you come across any just copy it and paste it into this page. It will convert it into musical score or MIDI for you, so you can play it or listen to it there and then. This site is provided by the ever-useful (for concertina players) site Concertina.net.
Musical Traditions – A site by one of the founding fathers of the revival of English Music, Rod Stradling of Old Swan Band, it describes itself as “The Magazine for Traditional Music throughout the world”. Lots about English music there, but the whole site is fascinating. There is also a session listing for the country that can be quite useful.
English Country Music – A Personal View – An article written by another of the founding fathers, Roger Digby of Flowers and Frolics, this article gives a superb overview and history of the revival of interest in English music from one who was there, illuminated with some excellent and carefully chosen sound clips.
English Folk and Traditional Music on the Internet – subtitled a guide to Internet resources relating to English folk music. The site is maintained by anglo concertina master Martin Nail and has been round an awfully long time (as long as my own Concertina FAQ!) and in consequence now has a huge amount of links and material. A very, very useful site.
Neil Brook, Hurdy Gurdy Maker – now why on Earth have I got a link to a gurdy maker? The answer is that French tunes get a reasonable airing in our sessions. There are two books that go by the name of the Massif Central Tune Books that have many of the best French tunes in but which are now sadly out of print. This site has all the tunes as mp3’s, look over to the right of the main page for the links. There are also lots of French tunes in ABC format.
A review – Some years ago the Living Tradition magazine published a review of the Bradford on Avon session. Here it is, for old time’s sake, though since then we’ve moved out of the Green Room and into the main bar.
In time to come I shall be adding music and photos and, who knows, maybe even videos to the site.