Below is a list of Celtic tunes (mostly Irish) with
sheet music and chords. These are JPG images, and you should be able
to display them in your browser and/or print them.
Just click on the name to see the page for that tune.
There are midi files, and a few mp3's, too.
The midis are pretty crude, of course, but will at least give you the general idea.
Please feel free to add a bit more lilt, backbeat, and other dynamics as you see fit.
A Note on the Chords
Assume you've put any number of backup players in a locked room, and given them their own selection of pistols.
Ten seconds after piping in the first strains of any given Irish melody, you'll hear a volley of shots, and
then, maybe, one player continuing on, playing the "correct" chords.
These tunes are shown with my own choice of chords. They're kept on the simple side, so feel free to embellish them,
or flat-out change them wherever you like. They're starting ideas only.
But don't forget that opening 'A' in Providence Reel, or I'm coming after you.
There's a compact list of chords for ALL the tunes, if you
want to make a cheat-sheet notebook. Okay, it may not have the very latest tunes,
but I refresh it once a month or so to add any new ones. It's sorted by tune name.
A Note on the Sources
These tunes come from a variety of sources. Some are from sessions from over the years,
and are just a best recollection. Others are transcribed from CDs (notably,
anything from The Bothy Band or Kevin Burke). Others are from books like O'Neill's,
or a personal favorite, Smoke In Your Eyes, a wonderful
collection from Kevin Gow. Order it at Fish House Music
or pick one up at Dusty Strings Music in Fremont (Seattle).
O'Neill's is usually considered The Bible by Irish musicians, but "Smoke" is definitely
your "Desert Island" tune book. Highly recommended. Smoke's versions are much closer to what actually gets played
in sessions nowadays than O'Neill's. (But you should have a copy of that as well!).
Feel free to contact me (Steve Austin) at saustin98(at)comcast(dot)net.
This is a hoot. You're in a "virtual session" with some pretty good players in a pub.
You get to pick which 3-tune set you'll play, and you can play along with them.
It goes at a moderate pace, not too fast, not too slow.
It even shows the sheet music for whichever tune you're on.
A source for Breton music (Brittany). This site also has Irish, Scottish, etc., but this particular link takes
you directly to their Breton section.
This section contains more technical issues, aimed at the musician who wants to play these tunes well
(as opposed to sites containing tune collections).
It's unashamedly focused more on the Celtic dance tune style, but I'm sure there will be a bit of other
styles showing up from time to time. Feel free to send more links that you find interesting.
I love this site. It's maintained by Dolmetsch, a company known most for its
fine recorders (the "whistle" kind of recorder, not a recording device). This
is a link to their music theory section. It's VERY readable for people of
all levels of ability, and a great place to start.
And never buy music staff paper again! They have a gazillion different free
printable staff papers.
This is a wonderful collection of old tunes, mostly for English Country Dance, but there's a lot more, too.
Paul's taken the trouble to score out many of the Playford collection in 3-4 parts,
and has done an excellent job at harmonization. If you're into ECD, go here!
I can't recommend a link on playing tunes any higher than this one!
Grey Larsen, a great traditional flute player,
(among other instruments) has put together what he calls his Tune Vault. He takes a single
tune, and creates what he calls a "tune packet". You can download a few of them for free to
take a look. Each "packet" contains an mp3 of him playing the tune very slowly. All the
ornaments are crystal clear, and easy to pick out. Also included is a pdf of the tune, scored with
his own notation for ornaments (which he explains elsewhere on his site),
and another pdf giving notes about the tune. If you like
these packets, you can download more for $2.49 a pop. No, I don't get commissions on these - I just think
they are excellent analyses of these tunes, and probably better than you'd get from a $50 private lesson.
They would benefit any melody player, not just flute and/or whistle players.