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Welcome to the Traditional Tune Archive
The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish traditional instrumental music with annotation, formerly known as
The Fiddler's Companion.

Featured Tunes

Chicago's Irish Music Club in the first years of the 20th century. Fr. J.K. Fielding is in the 2nd row, seated, extreme right.

Listen to the featured tunes of the weekTHE MOONCOIN JIG. ("Port Móin Choinn," "Port Muin-Cuine" or "Port Muine Coinin"). AKA and see "Major (3) (The)." Irish, Double Jig. A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. Mooncoin [1], or Mooncoyne, is a town in County Kilkenny in the southeast of Ireland, an area famous in the 19th century and the early 20th century for its pipers. One of these, by the name of James Byrne, was 'discovered' in Mooincoin in 1904 by the clerics and Irish music enthusiasts Father Henebry and Father Fielding, who managed to record Byrne on an Edison cylinder. Excited by their find, they arranged to have him conduct a class for aspiring pipers and they acquired a venue. Unfortunately, the two priests had not reckoned with the 'microbe of vagrancy', as O'Neill puts it, and were at pains to locate the piper who was loath "to submit to the restraints of a settled residence or the monotony of steady employment. So away he went to enjoy the pleasure of conviviality and change of scene, leaving his kind-hearted benefactors in a fit mood to appreciate the feelings of the man who undertook to domesticate wild ducks" (Breathnach, 1997). "The Mooncoin" is nearly identical to the Scottish/English tune "Major (3) (The)" (which dates at least to 1742), and is related to "Denis Delaney" and the march "King William's Rambles."

Source for notated version: "Fielding" [O'Neill]. Father James K. Fielding was a Chicago priest and flute player who was born in Mooncoin, County Kilkenny. Fielding was an Irish music and culture enthusiast who spent time in Dublin, where he continued to pass along such tunes as he came by. He and Henebry were instrumental in bringing to O'Neill's attention Martin O'Reilly, the blind Galway piper.

Printed sources: Mallinson (100 Enduring), 1995; No. 55, p. 24. Mulvihill (1st Collection). O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 153, p. 87. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 58. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1034, p. 193. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 246, p. 55.

Recorded sources: Lochshore CDLDL 1215, Craob Rua - "The More That's Said the Less the Better" (1992). Shaskeen Records OS-360, Andy McGann, Felix Dolan, Joe Burke - "A Tribute to Michael Coleman" (c. 1965).

THE MOONCOIN JIG full annotations and Past Featured Tunes

T:Mooncoin Jig, The
S:O'Neill - Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907), No. 246
Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion
e/d/|cBA AEA|AEA Bcd|cBA Ace|dBG Bcd|
cBA AEA|AEA Bcd|Ace gfe|dBG Bcd:|
|:cde efg|f/g/af ged|cde efg|f/g/aA Bcd|
cde efg|afd bge|afd gec|dBG Bcd:|
|:cBA Aaf|ecA Bcd|cBA gfe|dBG Bcd|
cBA Aaa|Agg Aff|Aee efg|dBG Bcd:|]

Why TTA Who builds the Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.

This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.

Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni

Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.

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Help Getting started


Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditional Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the bottom of the SideBar on the left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Index” on the SideBar on the left is “All Tunes”. Click on “All Tunes” to open up the list of tune titles in the TTA arranged in alphabetical order, 200 titles to a page. At the top of the page is an alphabetical breakdown that serves as a shortcut to pages. Clicking on any title will bring one to the music and tune fields. Once the tune appears, clicking “Tune Discussion” at the bottom of the page (below the notation) will open up the narrative information on the tune.
  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Index” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Drill Down. Cumulative information about TTA entries can be found in the “Drill Down” under “The Index” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Issues” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.