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Well, the IT elves have been busy behind the scenes, and we are delighted to be able to offer some new Learning Resources on the website. If you haven’t explored these before, they are single, or small collections of tunes, such as might be taught in workshops. If you are interested in expanding your repertoire, or really getting to grips with some old favourites, then these Resources can be a great help.

The downloadable bundles each include sheet music and audio files. The pdf file of the sheet music contains the source material with basic chords, a suggestion of the fiddle bowing which will help find the groove of the tune, suggestions for ornaments to bring the tune to life and sometimes ideas for double stops or a harmony line. The audio files are available in both mp3 and m4a (AAC iTunes) format. The tune is played as notated on the sheet music and at different speeds, sometimes with a count in to make it easier to play along. A more spontaneous version is often included which reflects how the tune might be played once it has become sufficiently familiar and liberated from the notation. If the sheet music contains a harmony line, this is recorded along with the tune.

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There are two bundles that are available for free so you can try out the format: Jack Lintel’s Jig and James Brown. The others are available at the bargain price of £1.50 for all the music and audio files, including Three Triple Time Hornpipes for the prices of one, which contains ‘Dusty Miller’, ‘Geld Him, Lasses, Geld Him’ and ‘Rusty Gulley’. New to the collection are Carpenter’s MorrisDu’s Bön Lang Awa’Shuter’s Hornpipe and The Steamboat – all fantastic tunes and great to add to your repertoire.

Carpenter’s Morris is from a collection published by Playford in 1690; it has recently been incorporated into their performance repertoire by Bottle Bank Band. Du’s Bön Lang Awa’ an’ A’m Tocht Lang ta See Dee is a Shetland version of a popular triple hornpipe. Bottle Bank Band’s Sophy Ball was taught this version by Chris Stout, who insisted she master the pronunciation before learning the melody! You can hear our version of this tune on the track “Isaac’s Lang Awa’“. Shuter’s Hornpipe was one of the eighteenth century’s most popular English tunes; this version is based on one found in the manuscript belonging to Lawrence Ledley of Heppleby in Yorkshire. You can hear it alongside Giddy’s King Harry and Jacob (Enrico) on Hawthorn’s Sweeter Shade. Last, but by no means least, there is The Steamboat, sometimes attributed to James Hill – a classic of music sessions and a favourite with clog and ceilidh dancers the country over. Get some ideas for hornpipe bowing to help the tune sparkle!

Do you let us know how you get on with these. What other tunes would you like to see available?