Folk Music includes both traditional music and the more recent folk revival music. The term originated in the 19th century but it is often applied to older tunes. World Music is another term which may be applied to certain types of folk music.
Music transmitted orally, or music with unknown composers, is often termed Traditional Folk Music. In the 1960's Contemporary Folk Music became very popular. Songs frequently were a blend of traditional and contemporary folk tunes.
Folk musicians gather together in many public and private places to share their music. Websites like http://jam.meetup.com/, http://acoustic-jams.meetup.com/, http://folk.meetup.com/ or http://www.folkjam.org/ can help you find a folk music session to join in your community. Slow Sessions are intended as learning sessions. Fast Sessions are for playing tunes everyone already knows.
In sessions, folk musicians usually learn and play tunes entirely by ear. Since some musicians find it very difficult to practice their tunes during the week between sessions without some kind of reference, Alice Freeman has transcribed Lead Sheet PDFs for tunes she has learned in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado folk music sessions. Frequently there are many versions of tunes and Alice includes only the version she plays. Some tunes may have many different names so she has cross-referenced them as much as possible.
Celtic tunes are usually quite short when played alone a time or two. If you are just getting started organizing your music, Suggested Sets provides lists of tunes that are frequently played together. Celtic Dance Definitions provides definitions, suggested tempos and time signatures. Bulgarian Dance Definitions describes the meter of various world dance forms.
To view these PDF files you might need to download a PDF Reader if one is not already installed on your computer. The free Adobe Reader is available from this Adobe website.
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (a-c)
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (d-f)
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (g-j)
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (k-m)
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (n-r)
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (s)
- Lead Sheets for Traditional & Contemporary Folk Music (t-z)
Please email Alice Freeman if you have questions, suggestions, or corrections.
These are tunes we frequently play together in this order. Some sets are combinations you would expect to play in traditional Irish sessions. Others are humorous combinations of tunes we put together to play in southern Wyoming.
The "Fake Book" link displays the first few bars of each tune as a reminder for what to play next. The Tune Name is a link to the PDF for that tune in its entirety.
What is the difference between a jig and a double jig and a slip jig?
This page will help you sort out the terminology for Celtic dance forms.