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English Session Tunes book?


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On 9/4/2019 at 10:17 PM, gcoover said:

I'll keep the door open, but maybe there aren't that many G/D players after all who visit cnet and who play in English sessions

Five(-ish) years into playing the 'tina, I've met loadsa free-reed players (concertina, melodeon, PA) at Morris gigs and sessions.

Sad but true -  I cannot remember a single one who had heard of concertina.net (or melodeon.net) till I mentioned it to them.

Hardly a statistically valid and rigorous test, but it makes you think...


23 hours ago, Ken_Coles said:

...someone with a lot of arrangements may prefer to publish their own book...

Yes indeed. I don't know if it can be called 'publishing',  but Morris sides, and session bands tend to have their own in-house tune-books

(many of which are available on t'internet). Getting the musicians who use these well-established documents to pick up new material might

be a bit of a struggle? Here in the U.K., the emphasis does seem to be fairly strongly biassed towards tunes in G and D (or 1- and 2- sharps

to be strictly accurate).

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Well, the original idea was to help fledgling G/D players learn to play and to be able to hold their own in English sessions - lest the melodeons win!


I suppose we can't just blame the melodeons since fiddle players prefer G and D too, but they're a convenient fellow free reed brother to pick on. And yes, horrible confession time, I also love playing my Hohner D/G pokerwork. And EC too. Different tools for different approaches to the tunes. None better than the other, and all equally confusing in their own peculiar way.


So, temporarily ignoring the plight of the poor G/D concertina players who just might have to fend for themselves until Jody's book is out, perhaps a different book that would make sense would be English session tunes in G and D but arranged for C/G concertina with melodeon-ish chords so folks with the more common C/Gs can participate more fully?


What say ye, oh sages of cnet? Doesn't take much for me to want to tackle a new book - I learn lots of great new tunes myself that way!



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Rather than re-invent the wheel again, if you really want to get a handle on what is being played in English music sessions here in England, I would thoroughly recommend the collection 'Hardcore English' compiled by the late Barry Callaghan (a highly respected musician, audio and video recordist) and published by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. There are many tunes, some with multiple versions and all manner of historical notes about the sources. Probably one of the best collections available. It has well known tunes and less well known ones. If you come across an unfamiliar tune being played in an English session, the chances are it's in here.


Get it here:


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On 9/8/2019 at 9:37 AM, Steve_freereeder said:

...if you really want to get a handle on what is being played in English music sessions here in England, I would

thoroughly recommend the collection 'Hardcore English' compiled by the late Barry Callaghan...

...Get it here...

Ooh, goody - I 'got it there', and ordered a copy, and it just arrived (while I'm in the middle of replying to a post of

yours in 'another place', as it happens). What an absolutely fantastic book! Thank you for the recommendation!

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I'm glad you both like the Hardcore English book! ?

I have to confess a personal interest: Barry Callaghan was the main musician for Lizzie Dripping, almost from the start of the side, and when I joined in 1988, he was very encouraging indeed to me. I was a very inexperienced melodeon and concertina player at that time but Barry taught me so much about playing for dancing. He was a lovely man and still very much missed by many musicians and dancers. Here he is at the English Country Music Weekend in 2006.




Edited by Steve_freereeder
Edited to correct typo.
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  • 2 months later...

Hi Gary..........only just picked up on this thread.

          A number of years ago ( 5 or 6 ? ) you and I exchanged books.

                   I had self-published a book of English session tunes for the Toronto English session I run.

 If you still have it, there are loads of G/D anglo and melodeon friendly tunes there, from easy to more challenging but still straightforward.

   I've updated it once with a few new tunes......I've attached a couple of examples of tunes that are great on the G/D ( or any anlgo of course)

        For our session I usually try to do a Youtube of the tunes as well..........most of us learn better that way.....


Ripponden Set

Let me know if I can be of any help.



19_Whifflers _ Nottingham Castle.pdf 28_Ripponden Set.pdf 55_Egg and Cabbage _ Melody Iron.pdf

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Being the owner of a nice new G/D I look forward to any tuition advice .I particularly like Jody's style of playing .and may in the future take some lessons if the exchange rate improves and I will purchase the Hardcore English compendium book and CD .Thanks for the info .Bob


Edited by Kelteglow
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Well I'm a CBA player who would just love to learn Anglo so if this book comes together I'd definitely buy one.  I agree with one of the previous posters in that there are stacks of books of tunes, it's the "how to" part I'd need.  I learned to play CBA by myself as there's precious little literature around for that too.

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Slight thread drift here, since it's not just about English session tunes... but the good news is a most excellent C/G and G/D "how-to" by Jody Kruskal is in the works and coming along quite nicely - with luck it should be out in the next month or two.


A really unique feature will be how to take each tune and play it with a variety of accompaniments so you can mix and match when you play.




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21 hours ago, Robin Harrison said:

Hi Mud...........from reading your post, if you are looking for a "how-to" book, this will not help you as it will be a tune book.

     But Gary has already published what is arguably the best accompanied style anglo tutor available.


Thanks Robin,

I'll take a look.  Still interested in the tune book though, I'm always up for adding to my collection!


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