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new old tunes

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Hello, all


I try to listen to and learn as many trad or trad sounding tunes as I can ( mostly American, but some other styles as well). I get tips here and from recorded music.

What I wonder is, where do you people who perform and record find "new" old music to include in your presentations?



Edited to add a forgotten phrase.

Edited by Robert Booth
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If you want Irish tunes, you can't do much better than the Comhaltas Archive for an easy, free, searchable resource. You can literally just look up all their recordings of concertina players, go down the list and hear some great material from both celebrity and nigh-unknown (or totally anonymous) players. I couldn't tell you how much awesome stuff I've pulled off there.



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What I wonder is, where do you people who perform and record find "new" old music to include in your presentations?





I usually find it in my head. Of course, I'm pretty old, and some of the songs that I heard as a child are no longer often heard. My parents, naturally, were even older, and some of the songs that they learned in their young days, and still sang after I arrived, have also stayed with me.


I learned a lot from the radio, which in the old days had the advantage over recordings that you got to hear a very wide spectrum of musical genres. There were only 2 channels - BBC Home Service and BBC Light Programme - and each had to broadcast a bit of everything. (Nowadays radio stations are largely monocultures, and depending on which channel you habitually listen to, you have the choice between pop with a bit of indie, or classical with a bit of jazz.)

Thus informed about which musical genres appealed to me and which didn't, I was later able to buy records that I liked. Some of these are stored in my head, too.


I say "songs" because I'm chielfy a singer. I do sometimes have gaps in the lyrics to the tunes that I have in my head, but thanks to the Internet, this problem is now solveable. I know enough of the words to do an efficient Google search, and almost everything is online somewhere these days.

Back in the 1960s, I bought an LP of "Elizabethan and Restoration Vocal Music" - pretty obscure stuff at that time - and one Elizabethan song on it appealed to me. I managed to get the lute accompaniment pretty well transferred to my guitar-lute, and noted down as much of the lyric as I could, but a few of the archaic phrases remained a mystery, so I left out the affected verses. Just recently, I revisited this piece (in the course of arranging it for the 5-string banjo). I googled the title, and had the lyrics immediately!


Arranging is a key word with me. I usually have the tune and lyrics in my head (with a little help from the Internet and my collection of song-books). But I also usually have the chord structure more or less in my head, and base my accompaniments on this. If I'm lucky, I'll find the song in a song-book with guitar chords. This is an excellent starting point for guitar, banjo, autoharp or duet concertina arrangements (the Anglo concertina usually arranges by itself B) ), though I often find the chording in these books sub-optimal. The instrument that I'm going to use for the accompaniment is the final arbiter! :)


I'm not a great believer in learning songs that I've never heard from sheet music - I haven't worked up all the tunes that I have in my head yet - but when I was starting out on the Crane duet, I leafed through an old German song-book with lyrics, melodies and chords, found a lyric that appealed to me, and worked out a Duet arrangement from it. This worked very well.


Hope this helps,



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Yes, the 'net has given us a huge resource; I often am kind of gobsmacked at the sheer amount of stuff there. Youtube is pretty amazing now that folks are putting the lessons and such on it. Sometimes I have to try to filter some of it out.

I am fond of old country and western from the 30's thru the 60's and have found lots of good stuff there, too.

Any other sources for a non-dot-reader?

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A few sites worth a listen:












Heavily Celtic, but I can't find the wonderful site that is more broadly based. I've avoided the MIDI file sites since there are real playing and a much better starting point. The last one is recordings of pop and country hits from the 40s forward in time. The actual hit recordings.

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Let me add MIDI files. There are thousands of them in various shades of complications. Here's one site separated by style.



If you'd prefer to read/learn the dots, playing a MIDI in a player like this will display the score on the screen.





Edited by Leo
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