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The year-end season is when traditional music can be especially appreciated, and it’s the perfect time to show support for the Traditional Tune Archive.
If you rely, enjoy, or otherwise use the TTA during the year, would you consider making a donation to help underwrite the archive at this time?
User donations are essential to keeping the TTA running commercial-free and technologically up-to-date.
We would like to thank those who have made contributions to the TTA (monetary and informational) and we look forward to engaging new members of the music community.

Valerio and Andrew.

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.

December 15 2018  Featured tune:           PHIL THE FLUTER'S BALL

Silly Bill 3.png

SILLY BILL. Old Time, Breakdown and Song. USA, southwestern Va. F Major (Charlie Higgins): G Major (Al Hopkins). Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB'. "Silly Bill" was a popular comic stage song appearing under the title “Altogether Green (or ‘I Rather Think I Will’)” dating from the year 1856. Silly Bill was also a mid-19th century name for a clown, an entertainer who could be found at fairs and in street performances, and who played the stooge for another comic character. Perhaps propelled by the alliteration ("Silly Billy") the term became generalized to mean a foolish person. The tune was a Galax, Va., regional favorite, but the song (sung to various airs) enjoyed widespread popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century, and has been collected from Mississippi to Michigan. The song/breakdown “Silly Bill” (backed with “Old Time Cinda”) was recorded in New York for Okeh Records on January 15, 1925 by an un-named string band of musicians from the upper South led by fiddler Al Hopkins (1889-1932). According to Mark Green, when Ralph Peer (OKeh’s man running the recording session) asked for the groups’ name, Hopkins is said to have replied something like, ‘We’re nothing but a bunch of hillbillies from North Carolina and Virginia. Call us anything.” The record was issued as “Vocal chorus by Al Hopkins/The Hill Billies,” the first use of the term in association with old-time music Wayne Daniel, Pickin’ on Peachtree, 1990, p. 56. Hopkins' group also recorded under the name Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters, as they did for this piece. The song is sometimes called "Hardly Think I Will" John Lomax, Alan Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs, 1934. The Buckle Busters sang:

Old Bill, poor Bill, poor old Silly Bill.
He wishes me to marry him, but I hardly think I will.

Silliest fellow, fellow I've ever seen;
He's neither black or yellow, but he's altogether green.
His name is not prince charming, he's only simple Bill;
He wishes me to marry him, but I hardly think I will.

He thinks it would be very nice to go strolling down the hill;
Hand in hand together, but I hardly think I will.
Last night he came to see me, he made to longer stay;
And I thought to myself the blockhead will never go away.



SILLY BILL full Score(s) and Annotations and Past Featured Tunes



X:1 T:Silly Bill M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel K:F (3CDE|FGAB AGFG|Ac2c cdcA|BAGA BdcB|A2 AB AF (3CDE| FGAB AGFG|Ac2c cdc2 |+slide+eded c2e2|f3f fgfe||

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

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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 top left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Archive” 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 Archive” 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 Archive” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Publications” 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.