Getting started/Addig tunes

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New Users
New to the Traditional Tune Archive?.

Adding tunes
The Tune input form

Tune book
The Tune input form

Recorded sources
The Tune input form

Tune Annotations
Anecdotes, provenance, examples of associated lyrics and miscellaneous information regarding a melody.

Typesetting Guidelines
A minimum set of quality guidelines for newly typeset works

Public domain material
Public Domain made simple

Theme Code Index
An alternative Search method

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Tune page creation

If you just want to contribute music scores to TTA, you normally don't need to create new pages by yourself, since this will be done automatically by the appropriate forms. Simply fill the form in the Sidebar/Add Tunes link using the following rules:


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. It is important not duplicate a tile that already exists (this will overwrite the first tune): instead, use parenthesis after the title to indicate a different version with the same name [e.g. "Knotted Cord (3)".]. Place articles "A", "An", "The", etc. in parenthesis at the end of the title, and after any version number [e.g. "Knotted Cord (3) (The)]. Other than this Tune naming convention there is some restriction and some rules to follow when we enter a tune title.
Please see the Tune title How To page for a complete list.

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 annotations section.

Composer/Core Source

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 annotations 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.

You can also enter the name of a 'Core Source' if no composer is known. A core source would be the individual to whom the melody can be traced to whether or not they are composer, or, occasionally, the individual who is overwhelmingly credited with popularizing the melody.


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 Allegiance"; 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. Widely disseminated tunes should not have geographical allegiances checked, as too many checks reduce the usefulness of the relational interface.


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.


There are three entries to be made in this section. The first is for the tonic note of the key or mode in which a melody is written. The second is to signify the number of accidentals that occur the majority of the time in a written melody. The third is to identify the correct mode of the tune. When entering the key of 'B Flat Major', for example, one would enter 'B' for the tonic note, 2 flats for the accidentals, and 'ionian/major' for the mode.

Caution: some abc's and abc writers have the unfortunate habit of a "shorthand" convention of naming a key that contains the correct number of sharps or flats for the tune, but that is not an accurate key/mode identification. For example, it is not uncommon to find in an abc-noted tune that the key is identified as 'D' major (two sharps), when the piece actually has the very different sound of 'E' dorian (two sharps). 

It is also not uncommon in traditional music to have melodies that shift between modes or tonal centers, and this may be identified in the annotations section. Similarly, quadrilles and other tunes that have difference keys for different strains/parts of the tune should have the opening key identified in the properties section, with an explanation in the annotations section of parts and key changes.

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 between the
<section begin=abc /> and  <section end=abc />
tags for translation into standard notation. If a abc is already entered and you would like to add an additional version, then leave the existing abc intact, but under the
<section end=abc />
and the end you would insert another
<section begin=X1 /> and <section end=X1 />
pair and enter the new abc's in between. You will see that two tunes will then appear, one on top of the other. Scores are entered chronologically -- the oldest printed score is the one on top, the one that will appear first. Subsequent versions should be entered below the first, stacked, so that as one proceeds to scroll downward, the next oldest and so on will be displayed.

Here is an example of the Score Template you will have to fill with your ABC notation:

<font face="sans-serif" size="4">
<div class="noprint">
<font face="sans-serif" size="2">
<section begin=abc />
<section end=abc />

<section begin=X1 />
<section end=X1 />

<section begin=X2 />
<section end=X2 />

<section begin=X3 />
<section end=X3 />

<font face="sans-serif" size="4">
<div class="noprint">