The Bill Black WebABC Home Page

updated: 9
March 2019


ALPHA INDEX (if you're looking for a particular tune)

LIST OF FOLDERS (good for "browsing" through sources)

ABC basics


As of March 2019, I'm in the process of converting all WebABC PDF files
to what I'm calling "Plus" files, which
include the notation, sound file, and ABC (including commentary) into one.

At present (3/9/19) all folders (except "carolan") up to and including "pobr" have been converted.
I am hoping to have the entire site converted shortly.

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This site is designed as a repository for Irish traditional tunes from various sources, printed and recorded.

There are also a number of composed tunes that have been supplied by their composers.

The material is presented in three formats: ABC (text-based music notation program), PDF notation, and
MP3 audio.

The tunes are primarily the jigs, reels, and hornpipes of the Irish tradition, but there are a number of
slip jigs, polkas, slides, airs, and marches included as well.

The site also includes a number of tunes of Scots origin, mainly in the O'Farrell and other 19th Century

There is also a section devoted to the harp compositions of Turlough O Carolan which, while not necessarily
traditional, nevertheless are generally considered an integral part of the Irish musical heritage.

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Note: the following information may be useful to you, but it isn't required to use the site.

The material is organized on the basis of source, mostly printed collections but also transcriptions from
recordings. Each source folder can be thought of as a library volume. All current folders are listed here,
with links to their table (home) pages.

Each individual tune is assigned a unique file ID, which serves to distinguish it from any other tune in its
source folder.

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[1] Each source folder contains the following "basic" files/folders:

[a] xxx_table.html
This is "home page" of the source folder. It contains

(1) an alphabetical list of the contents
(2) an active MP3 link from the tune title
(3) a link to the notation file
(4) tune particulars (type, key, file ID)
(5) the "incipit", or first four measures of the tune in ABC format

[b] xxx_ABC.rtf file

RTF stands for "rich text format" and is basically a plain text file with a few enhancements that don't
concern ABC. Note however that although neither BarFly nor EasyABC can open .rtf files, they can read
the contents after these are copied and pasted into them.

The xxx_ABC.rtf files in each folder contain all that folder's tunes in ABC format.

The primary benefit of having access to the ABC files is the ability of the user to adjust playback speed.

Also note that BarFly and EasyABC will generate an index of tunes when a file consists of more than one ABC.

[c] xxx_pdf
[d] xxx_mp3
These sub-folders are present primarily to act as sources for links on the Table page.

[e] xxx_sortable.xlsx
Each source folder also contains a file ending in "sortable.xlsx". This is an Excel spreadsheet which
will enable the user to sort the information as desired, e.g. by tune type or key. A basic knowledge of
how a spreadsheet works will be helpful.

[2] The source folder may also contain files listing omitted tunes (i.e., tunes contained in the original
volume but not included in webABC, usually because they appear in other collections).

In the case of the "Ceol Rince na hEireann" volumes, there are also files in the source folder containing
useful information as to translation of titles and alternate titles.

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All webABC tunes are listed by first letter of the name in the Alpha Index files, which contain a link to
the table where the tune may be found. Articles "the" and "an" are omitted.