The Minimal Ceilidh Tune Book

compiled by Thomas Green

This is a virtual tune book for English barn dancing. The idea is that the format is particularly suitable for scratch bands coming together from distant parts, who want to look at some tunes in advance: especially when some people learn by ear, and others learn or play from written music.

The tunes are standards in Southern England. Not many hornpipes because one or two step-hop dances are enough for the occasions this book is designed for. I have opted for keys suitable for melodeon and whistle. Sorry, fiddlers, if you're more used to A instead of G; however, all is not lost - you can use an abc program to load the music, transpose it, and print it out again. The chords are dead simple and not very interesting, but of course you can always change them.

Sheet music and abc files

Print the 'pages' out. They should all fit onto A4. (They're done as separate files to avoid page breaks in the middle of a tune.)

32-bar jigs:

1. Seven Stars/Oyster Girl
2. New Rigged Ship/Old Horned Sheep
3. Whose? / Major Mackie
4. 100 Pipers / Cock o'the North

48-bar jigs

5. Dingle Regatta/ Quaker's Wife
6. Sweets of May / Bedbreaker

32-bar reels

7. Jamie Allen / Davy Davy Knick Knack
8. My Love is but a Lassie-O / La Russe
9. Brighton Camp / The Ton

circle dances

10. Djatchko Kolo / Nigun Atik

16-bar and 32-bar rants/hornpipes

11. Harvest Home / Humours of California
12. John Peel / Keel Row / Trumpet (Captain Pugwash)


13. Maggie in the Wood / Jenny Lind


14. Eglantine / Cader Idris

abc files

Show the abc versions

If you have an abc program it can play these files and you can learn the tunes. Save the page as text, or select all the text from the page and paste it into a text file. Then read it into an abc program.

At least some abc programs allow you to transpose to a different key, edit the notes, or write more interesting harmonies.

midi files

The midi files can be downloaded and should play OK. Speeds are rather approximate.


If you'd like to play keyboard or piano, and you're not familiar with the vamping style usually used as the basis of accompaniment for country dances, here is a short description of the absolute basics of vamping.

Please mail me if you find problems: greenery At ntlworld Dot com (sorry abut anti-spam tricks)

Last updated Dec 2003