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What is this tune?

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1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

Only a guess. That’s a common way for tunes to be built, and listening to it, it seemed like a reasonable way to make it consistent with more familiar tunes. There’s no algorithm, and it’s not impossible there might be a tune out there (maybe even this one) that actually is built as awkwardly as this one is presented. What’s needed to try to make sense of something like this is not music theory, but exposure to a wealth of tunes in the genre and an awareness of patterns.

Good! That's pretty much what I'm doing. I shall carry on in the same vein!


I see/hear a lot of tunes which seem not to finish 'correctly', and there is usually an obvious way to end them 'nicely' - I will be a little less hesitant about doing this in future...


I  also see tunes in which the key sig. is a little 'odd' to put it mildly (eg: X instead of possibly Xmin). There are usually obvious solutions - which I will be applying in future (there are also instances where it's not so obvious - klezmer for instance - proceed with caution).



Edited by lachenal74693
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On 12/9/2022 at 5:23 AM, lachenal74693 said:

A general question: How does one decide what the error is, and what are the 'forensic' skills needed to fix them? Is it a purely mechanical process, or does one need an extensive knowledge of musical theory to fix stuff like this in an 'authoritative' way?


Some years ago, I did a review of William Clarke of Feltwell's tunebook, as transcribed by Mary Humphreys, Lyn Law, David Dolby, and Anahata. Their master version is available for download at Mary's website - see http://www.maryhumphreys.co.uk/William_Clarke.php.


My 'corrections' were intended to make the abc consistent and playable, in the spirit of moving folk tunes forward to future generations of players. The list of changes I made is at https://pghardy.net/tunebooks/william_clarke_changes.txt, to give an idea of the sort of sanitising changes I felt were needed for playable rigor. The resultant PDF is at https://pghardy.net/tunebooks/williamclarke_tunes.pdf.


By the way, I feel that people like these that do historical transcriptions deserve heartfelt thanks for their preservation efforts.

Edited by Paul_Hardy
Correct link (extra dot)
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Paul - Thank you very much for these downloads.  I did get a 404 no such document result from clicking on the first link to Mary Humphrey's site, and noticed a period at the end of the link.  So I copied and pasted it into a new tab, deleted the period, and it connected beautifully.


Don't know if anyone else would have this issue but I thought I'd mention it.  Thanks so much to all who put so much work into preserving this music.

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On 12/9/2022 at 7:04 PM, Paul_Hardy said:

...My 'corrections' were intended to make the abc consistent and playable...

Sorry, we've gone a little off-topic, and it's my fault (again!).


Yes, thanks for those links!


My question was based partially on the idea that my goal is to produce 'consistent' and 'playable' ABC - which is why I've highlighted what is (to me) the vital point in PH's post. I work mostly with 'legacy' ABC files (as opposed to original MSS), and the different ABC coding styles in these files can be bewildering (and confusing for new ABC users). I've 'developed' my own coding style which some folks don't like, but which works for me.


A little brown-nosing😊: More recent ABC compilations such as those cited earlier, or Mr. Hardy's own tune books require little or no editing -  they are 'consistent and playable' and can be used pretty much 'straight out of the tin'...

Edited by lachenal74693
edit delayed because of broken internet connection!
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I do not understand ABC myself; it reminds me of all that computer coding you can still see within programmes on your computer, generally.. but highlights how difficult it still can be to interpret sound in an accessible way for everyone.

When you think about it... Many folk tunes originated orally passed down generations, and were more freely expressed, perhaps less rigidly than graphs and dots can possibly embody on the page, and so once they are transcribed then they have to be inevitably synthesised into a format of beat, measure, dots, bar lines... etc. So, I suppose a little compromise is going to happen.

Even Cecil Sharp must have had to come to the nearest he could to a singers song, historically speaking, but must also have to make a few tiny changes.

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2 hours ago, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

I do not understand ABC myself...


Sorry we’re getting further and further off your topic, Jody, but as the tune has been identified, I guess the shackles are off.


The abc music notation protocol is a very useful and convenient way of storing musical information on a computer, smartphone or tablet. A page of music expressed in abc takes up much less memory/disk space than a graphic or sound file containing the same information (it was developed in the 1990s, when memory was a lot scarcer than it is now) and it has the advantage that it can not only be used to view or print standard music notation, but to play the music, edit it, copy and paste repetitive sections, transpose it, index it by title, key, mode, or genre, and search through large numbers of tunes for bits of text or note combinations.


Simon, you’ve written many tunes. Imagine never having to buy another pad of lined music paper or worrying about what might happen to a piece of paper with unique information on it. You would be able to carry all your music with you wherever you have your phone, using less memory than a single mid-size email message, and all backed up in as many places as you like.

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No problem with topic drift from me.


Yes, the act of transcribing, editing, and creating a score is full of decisions and compromises. Between the hearing of a tune and the writing of it are many pitfalls. I come up against this myself all the time. Even with writing out my own original tunes 


As I transcribe and write a tune down, I tend to leave off bits of the performance that I deem unnecessary or extraneous or overly fussy. I want to notate the tune in its core essence in a way that is simple and true and also easy to read. 


That's why I do not trust ABC tunes from the web. As useful as ABC is, any ABC you pull off the web needs vetting and interpretation to be sure it's written the way you want to play it.  Especially the chords, which are often wrong to my ear.

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On 12/9/2022 at 9:33 PM, Frank Dudgeon said:

I did get a 404 no such document result from clicking on the first link to Mary Humphrey's site, and noticed a period at the end of the link.  So I copied and pasted it into a new tab, deleted the period, and it connected beautifully.


Thanks for pointing that out - I've edited the original post to correct the link.

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As I may have said before in past topics, I still like to write things down myself, there's something about the process itself, and the moments before and during creative process that makes things happen [ and occasionally by chance also] .. that can form a special link between the passage of idea, through the hands, onto a surface where it is impressed.  Not to say I criticise the other methods completely, after all I scan my tunes in as images, and I do videos to hear them being played afterwards quite often.  The paper may get torn, or foxed, or yellow with age, but even that can give it a character that data cannot equal.  And what if the battery goes down? Or someone trips over the server plug, It's all gone! 😊 If I trip over a plug, all that may happen is that the coffee goes all over the page [ which can make it look ancient and stained like a Pirate's treasure map!]😀

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