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I've been enjoying playing Billy Pigg's tunes this winter. And decided to extend myself and actually purchase his tunebooks offered by the Northumbrian Pipers Society. I think there was a discussion some while ago about a couple of other worthwhile books the Pipers Society offer that translate well to concertina. I'll take suggestions: if I'm in for a penny I might as well be in for the pound ordering these interesting books. The Society has about 4-5 pages of books offered on their website.

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Hello - A lot of Billy's tunes work really well on the concertina. If you're playing English Concertina, some of the more arpeggio'd tunes with successive 3rd jumps can prove interesting.


As far as the other books the NPS have on offer, they all contain good box tunes.

- Book 1, lots of 'standards' and a few that have dropped out of currency. Some classic variation sets

- Books 2 & 3 have less well known tunes but there's some absolute gems in there and you get some modern compositions (#1 was compiled 80 odd years ago!)

- Charlton Memorial ... has some excellent tunes, particularly hornpipes (but there's a new edition in the works :) )

- Peacock/ Minstrelsy / Bewick - older 18th & 19th century style, mostly simple chanter (8 note) tunes .. some with variations,

- Fiddle music of James Hill (All the fiddle tunes in G&D ... I'd skip in favour of the proper one (LLB)

- Lads Like Beer (fiddle music of james hill) .. all of the tunes in the proper keys and all of the history we know. Much played around the world (but v. demanding)

- Remember Me (Whinham) ... fiddle repertoire of 19th C dancing master

- Variations book ... what it says, really good fun but don't expect to play much with anyone else! Hardcore piping repertoire

- Billy Pigg & Tom Clough ... fantastic resources, both very pipey - in different ways. Just tunes is OK - but I think the history/context adds to the mix

- Great Northern Tunebook - Vickers manuscript, excellent resource, not massively played but has many many gems.

- Dixon - 18th C border pipe music with varations

- First 30 - designed as a primer for lone pipers, 30 tunes that are guaranteed to have cross over with any other piper you meet


If you want:

- a book with tunes others might know ... 1,2,3, Hill, Charlton & First 30

- to be a piping expert ... 1, Peacock, Pigg, Clough, Dixon,

- historical music ... Peacock, Bewick, Dixon, Clough, GNTB

- sheer enjoyment / challenge on Concertina ... Hill, Whinham, Pigg, Variations


(For reference / disclaimer - I play both pipes & concertina ... and I have had a hand in the production of a number of the books)





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  • 2 weeks later...

.....................and let me highly recommend a series of duet tune books compiled by Derek Hobbs at Rossleigh Music.

Loads of Northumbrian tunes with interesting 2nd part written by Derek. I've had these books for years and they are great.

As Gary says, the duet are just great to play with 2 concertinas

I find the Society book to small for comfortable reading.........I'm not a swift reader.......these books are 8"X12" and are easy on the eye.

The Pipers Companion Vols 1- VII. Inc one of carols and one of Classical pieces


Rossleigh music

Rossleigh House

Windsor Terrace


Northumberland NE64 6UJ


Robin........... I've noticed his house is Windsor Terrace. A great Playford tune ( I think ) aka Bar-a-Bar

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Shelly, you know me of old and you know that I have a deep and abiding passion for northumbrian pipe music. If I were to start my collection of NPS publications again it would be in this order:


The new 2 volume Billy Pigg book set

The Northumbrian Piper's Variations book

The new Clough Family Tunebook

The Lads Like Beer

The Charlton Memorial Tunebook

Northumbrian Pipers Tunebook 1,2 &3


This would be my core collection and may well beyond your budget for a single purchase and you do need to bear in mind import duties if you spend too much!

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