Folk Dance Tunes

FOLK DANCE TUNES  (the string friendly collection)  

This collection of traditional folk dance melodies is “string friendly” in that I have notated them all in the keys of G, D, A or C which fall pleasantly onto my hammered dulcimer and your guitar.  Key-based anomalies such as B-flat and F-sharp — ever an annoyance to fiddlers, banjo players and other musicians dedicated to acoustic string instruments — are here banished and good riddance I say. I generated this small collection of a few hundred tunes over recent decades whilst producing dance camps and teaching dance band classes, particularly since the year 2000 for the Capital City Country Dance Band-Ensemble-Orchestra (size and label vary by week and weather).

Documented vintage of these tunes ranges from 1651 (a couple are older) to recent times. The great majority are authentically so old their composers are dead, gone and well forgotten (e.g., Robinson County; Cello; Appalachian breakdowns). Credits are entered wherever names are known to me, particularly for English country dance collections and popular contra, square, march and waltz melodies composed in the last few decades (e.g., March of St. Timothy by Judi Morningstar). I wrote a few myself. In the best evolutionary tradition of folk music everywhere, I believe not one single tune has escaped my personal small touch by way of a misremembered note, or the timing of a phrase here or there, to suit myself as my play-by-ear head remembers it. Absolutist perfectionists be forewarned, no two players of old-time music will ever play the same tune exactly alike. More power to them. I hope you enjoy, and will play in your own way, the wonderful tunes you find here.

Click on your choice of tune titles below to view (and print) sheet music for these tunes. Popular Waltzes; English dance tunes; reels, jigs, hornpipes and breakdowns; and grand march tunes — all string friendly — will be posted in turn over coming weeks.