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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 tune:           MAD MOLL (aka The Peacock Followed The Hen)

Percy French

Words and music of this tune were composed by the once well-known popular-song writer Percy French [1] (1854–1920), who began songwriting when studying Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin. "Phil the Fluter's Ball" was written in his post-college years when he worked as a engineer in County Cavan, before he became a full-time songwriter and entertainer. The song and tune became popular through French's performances in the 1880's and quickly entered British Isles folk tradition. Phil the Fluther was a real-life character who rented a small flat in Leitrim. When times were hard and he was pressed for rent he would hold a pay-at-the-door rent party to raise the needed sum; these parties became legendary and inspired the tune. The first verse and chorus go:

Have you heard of Phil the Fluther, of the town of Ballymuck?
The times were going hard with him, in fact the man was broke.
So he just sent an invitation to his neighbours, one an all
As to how he'd like their company that evening at a ball.
And when writin' out he was careful to suggest to them,
That if they found a hat of his convanient to the dure,
The more they put in, whenever he requested them
The better would the music be for battherin' the flure.

With the toot of the flute,
And the twiddle of the fiddle, O;
Hopping in the middle, like a herrin' on the griddle, O.
Up! down, hands aroun', Crossing to the wall.
Oh! Hadn't we the gaiety at Phil the Fluther's Ball.


PHIL THE FLUTER'S BALL full Score and Annotations and Past Featured Tunes



%%scale 0.7 X: 1 T:Phil The Fluter's Ball M:C| L:1/8 C:Traditional R:Hornpipe B:Songs & Dances of Ireland, Wise Publ, ISBN 0.7119.0099.X N:Marked "Moderato e marcato" K:D FE|\ DDDD dddc|BABc d2FE|DDDD dddB|ABAF E2EF| DDDD dddc|BABc d2ee|fded dcBA|BBcc d2de| f2fd e2ec|dedB AFDA|fffd eeec|dcBe A3 d| f2fd e3 c|dedB AFDF|ABAF dBAF|ABAF E2 || %CHORUS EF|D2DD d2dc|BABc ddd2|DDDD dddB|ABAF EEFE| D2D2 ddd2|BABc d2de|fded dcBA|BBcc d3 ||

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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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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.