A better name for this site would be "Traditional and
Popular Songs of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and
America." Most of the songs are folk music, that is, music
with a long oral tradition that has no known author (see the
for a better definition). However, there are many that have a
known author and therefore do not fit the academic definition of
folk music. All of the songs are circa 1600 to 1922.
Accoustic music from the 1960s and later is also known as
folk music. Anything created after 1922 is protected by the
author's or publisher's copyright. Therefore I cannot put
original songs by James Taylor; Peter,
Paul and Mary; Andy Stewart; The Chieftans; The Clancy Brothers;
Arlo Guthrie; Mary Black; etc. on my site. Unfortunately, World
War II songs are also covered by copyrights. Popular songs such
as Ashokan Farewell, Today, The Dark Isle,
Kilkelly, The Queen of Argyll and many others are
protected by current copyright. Although they sound as if they
are old folk songs, they are not.
The quality of tunes varies. Part of this is the sequencer
(the person who created the midi) and the state of technology
when the midi was created. Unfortuneately, I don't have the
ability to improve them.
I sometimes get the midi files and lyrics from different
sources, so the tune may not always fit the lyrics exactly,
approximately, or sometimes, much at all.
If you distribute any of these tunes in a zip file (or any
other compressed format) you must provide a text file which
credits the sequencers and provide a copy of this information or
a link to this information.
YOU MAY NOT ALTER ANY OF THE MIDIS ON THIS SITE and
distribute them without permission from the person who created
the midi - except for the single line melody tunes from the
Carolan pages. That includes
changing instruments, transposing or removing author credit and
information from the midi file.
You may not publish any of the tunes by Lesley
Nelson-Burns or information on this site in either digital or
If you are looking for a particular midi that is not here try doing a search first (read the instructions
carefully) to make sure it isn't here. Then try some of the
links to midi sites on my links
If you are looking for sheet music
of the tunes you can try the Resource
Center and choose Songbooks. Many of the resources I use that
are in print are there with some information on the songbook so
you aren't ordering blind.
Most people, however, are looking for free sheet music. I
have no plans to include the sheet music at this site. It takes
up too much space and there are copyright issues for anything
dated after 1922. There are several excellent sources for public
domain sheet music. They are:
I will not send sheet music to people, no matter how
worthy the cause - education, a wedding, etc. I have listed the
resources I use on each information page with a link for purchase
if it is available. All of the print sources, including those
that are not available at Amazon, are listed in the bibliography. You can order them from a local
bookstore or from a traditional music site on the web.
If you are looking for recordings
of music try the Resource Center and
choose Music. You can also go directly to Amazon.com through the
resource center. There you can do a search at Amazon for track
titles to find albums with songs you are interested in.
The tunes on this site are traditional tunes. The songs
have long passed into the public domain. However, arrangements of
traditional tunes are copyrighted if they are dated after 1922
Professor Karjala's Website for an explanation). The vast
majority of the midis on this page are based on arrangements in
the public domain. The vast majority of midis I created are from
songbooks from the 1800s and early 1900s. There are also a few
based on the Library of Congress sheet music collection and the
Lester Levy collection. I have altered these public domain
arragements in various ways. A few midis are sequences based on
single line melodies to which I added the accompaniment.
A very few arrangements are based on music from songbooks
dated after 1922. If you are an author or company who owns rights
to any of these arrangements and prefer they not be used on my
site, please e-mail me and I will remove the arrangement from
these pages immediately and create a midi from a public domain
If you wish to use the midis that are based on
arrangements not in the public domain you must be aware that I do
not own the copyright to them and cannot give permission for you
to do so. I have listed the source for ALL music that I have
created so that you can determine if an arrangement is public
domain or not.
Please note that the author of the midi file is credited
on the lyrics page. I am not the author of all of the midi files
on these pages. If the tune does not have a lyrics page the
author is noted by the song. If a midi file has no credit it is
only because I have no record of who sequenced the music.
If you are a musician or performer the midi files and
information are here as a resource for you to use and I'm
delighted to share them. Those arrangements that are based on
public domain resources may be used freely. Those that are not
from the public domain I can, obviously, give no permission for.
If you have a doubt about a specific tune, please create your own
The harp graphic on the Carolan pages is from Ossian
Publications The Complete Works of O'Carolan,
Copyright 1989. (ISBN 0 946005 26 8). I contacted Ossian for
permission to use the graphic but did not receive an answer. If
you choose to copy this graphic (and many sites have copied it
from here - be aware that you should contact them for
For an excellent resource on what the current U.S.
copyright law and what public domain means visit
Professor Karjala's Website. It was created to oppose the
copyright extension that was passed in 1998 but is still updated.
It is an invaluable resource.
As I said, my links pages are not meant to be
comprehensive. The links I add are now are only those I find
educational or are historical. While I appreciate reciprocal
links, I don't insist on them - if a site is of value it
doesn't make it less valuable if my page isn't linked to