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New Users

TTA Navigation: Registered users can navigate the TTA 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.

  • Theme Code Index. All tunes in the TTA have been theme coded [1] according to the format successfully employed by Charles Gore in his Scottish Fiddle Index, and by the Folk Archive of North East (FARNE) site. The theme code query can be found in the “Query the Archive” function of the TTA. The easy-to-learn theme coding reduces the first two measures of a melody to numeric codes and is particularly useful in searching for tunes where a title is not known. “Gan Ainm” tunes or tunes listed simply as “Jig” or “Reel” in manuscripts may be found by typing the theme code in “Query the Archive”.

  • 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.



The name of the tune being entered. Titles other than in English are to be entered in the original language, except where the translated title has been disseminated and has currency in English, in which case the English title is preferred.

Also Known As   

The alternate titles associated with the tune, including alternate spellings and variants of the title under which the tune is entered (e.g. "Mrs. Brown" for "Miss Brown"). English translations of titles may be included in this field. Tunes cognate in only one strain, but not other strains, may be entered provided an explanation of the relatedness of the various strains is included in the commentaries section.


The name of the composer of the melody, if known. Tunes attributed to an individual, albeit composition credit not ascertained or disputed, may also be entered when there is ample indication in the historical record or a body of lore that links them. However, such attributions must be explained in the commentary section.  Reminder: you may only enter music notation in the Traditional Tunes Archive that is in the public domain. Original melodies or specific arrangements of traditional tunes under copyright are not to be entered without the permission of the composer/arranger. Any questions regarding copyrighted material should be immediately directed to the site directors for resolution.


Country of origin, and/or country where the melody has entered traditional repertoire.  Check all that apply. However, demonstrated dissemination of the melody in regional tradition must be established qualify for multiple checks. For example, the strathspey "Athole Brose" was originally composed in Scotland, but Canada may also be checked as it has been in dissemination among musicians in the Maritime provinces.


Sometimes called "genre" (the words are often used interchangably), and despite arguments for use of one or another of the terms, they are both popularly employed to identify the overarching characteristics of playing style of traditional musicians.  Although the majority of tunes will belong to one style or another, some will have "crossover" designation, and more than one style box may be checked. Thus, a tune may be a part of the core Irish repertory and played in an "Irish" style, but may also be played in "Québécois" style, as with the reel "Julia Delaney" and its stylistic counterpart "Reel des sorcieres," or by musicians for contra dancing.

Historical Geographical Allegiances

Traditional tunes are often extremely difficult to trace to an individual composer, although, of course, someone is always responsible for the original composition, despite the vicissitues rendered by the "folk processing" that comes afterward. It is sometimes less difficult to determine the "Historical Geographical Allegience"; meaning a regional or subregion in which the tune has been absorbed into traditional repertoire. A great many tunes will have become so aged and so widely disseminated that they transcend attempts to assign a geographic allegience. Be judicious in your indentifications, and make a check only when you are sure a melody can be historically attributed to a regional repertoire (even though it may have since gained wider circulation). Multiple selections may be made, depending on the historical record.


The organizing meter or rhythm of a melody is divided into two sections, duple time and triple time, then further identified by the name given to the characteristic rhythm. More than one meter/rhythm may be identified if the tune is rendered in various ways in the historical record. For example, it is common to find hornpipes played as reels, or jigs to be played as quickstep marches, and for older-form jigs to be rendered in 6/4 while modern versions are converted to 6/8.


The key or mode in which a melody is written. The correct mode of the tune should be identified, and not the "shorthand" convention of naming a key that contains the correct number of sharps or flats. For example, it is not uncommon to find in abc notation a key identified as 'D' major (two sharps), when the piece has the very different sound of 'E' dorian (two sharps). However, it is also not uncommon in traditional music to have melodies that shift between modes or tonal centers, and these may be identified by the "Mixed mode" selection, and explained in the accompanying text box. Some melodies, particularly in march, quadrilles and waltz styles, have a marked key change between parts. This may be indicated by following the "Multiple mode/key" selections in which each part may be identified with a key selection.

Form and Structure

The overwhelming majority of fiddle tunes are written in binary (two strain) form, often with a repeat of each section before the next is played. This is denoted by the letters AABB. It is quite common, however, for one or more parts to be played without repetition (form AB), or for multiple parts to be played in other ordered combinations. Thus, the forms AAB, AABC, AABBCCDD, ABCB or other combinations may also be appropriate in describing traditional tune strain combinations.  Occasionally a traditional tune will have different ending measure(s) on the second repetition, and that may be indicated by use of an apostrophe (AA'BB'). Strains which are musically identical except for introductory or 'pick-up' notes, synchopated ties ('anticipated notes'), or similar small differences do not meet the threshold for an apostrophal mark, which should be reserved for more significant melodic differences.  

Following the TUNE FIELDS section of the ADD TUNES tab is


As the name identifies, "Score" is the section for music notation. Tunes in the popular computer-based format called ABC notation may be "cut-and-pasted" into this section for translation into standard notation.


This tab identifies sources in print in which the tune may be found, either in manuscript or publication.

Book/Manuscript Title

The title of the book or manuscript in which the tune is contained.


Denotes the individual(s) who compiled and edited a print collection, or assembled tunes into a manuscript collection.

Publication Details

Record the name and location of publisher for printed works, the date of publication, volume and edition number, ISBN number, and all other identifying information. In the case of manuscript collections, the present location of the original manuscript (if known) should be recorded.

Page/Tune Number

Enter the page the tune can be found in the book or manuscript, and, if tunes are enumerated, the number of the tune in the collection.

Theme Code Index

Where possible, tunes in this archive are to be indexed using the numerical coding system for identifying initial musical themes as outlined by Charles Gore in The Scottish Fiddle Music Index (The Amaising Publishing House Ltd, Musselburgh, 1994). He acknowledges with gratitude the efficiency of the Numerical Representation system of Irish musical scholar Breandán Breathnach, upon which his system is based. For best utility in the semantic environment, theme codes for each distinct strain should be entered in the appropriate text box. An explanation of Gore's system can be found at the FARNE (Folk Archive Resource North East) site, item #6 on the "Search Tips" page.
You can also find the same explanation here in this site.



Anecdotes, identifying or clarifying historical information, provenance, examples of associated lyrics and miscellaneous information regarding a melody may be entered, including information about sources, playing techniques and peculiarities, etc.  Every attempt should be made to separate information which is factual and verifiable from that which is speculative and unverified. Annotations will be assessed critically by the traditional community at large, and a system for clarifying and resolving disputed information has been established (see section on "Edits"). Disputed elements of commentaries and identification of need for citation will be editorially inserted, and will follow established wiki processes until resolved.


Separate fields are available to enter the

1) name(s) of the primary musician(s) playing on the sound recording

2) title of the recording

3) record label and identification number of the recording (e.g. Rounder CD 0437, or Bluebird 89770)

4) date of the recording