Home Up Museums


Music in Britain Online

English Folk Music. SOURCE

This is a guide to Internet resources relating to English folk music. A fuller statement of the aims and scope of these pages is on another page. 


General guides



Libraries, archives and museums

Research and education

Magazines and journals

Discographies, bibliographies and indexes

Song, tune and dance collections


Specific genres



Folk music businesses

Regional resources

General guides

A good starting point, with many links to English as well as world music, is Folk Roots magazine's site. Two UK-based magazine-like sites with their own content plus links to many other sites are Folk and Roots, and A comparable site based in Germany is FolkWorld. FolkWorld's Folk & roots online guide is a listing of of Internet folk music resources. The Internet directory Yahoo! UK & Ireland has listings under Entertainment/Music/Genres/Folk_and_Traditional/ but most are American (restricting the listing to 'UK only' reduces the number of entries a lot, but cuts out many English ones in the process!).

The BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic site contains information about the folk scene in the UK: news, reviews, tours, artists, folk clubs, etc, and of course a site for the Mike Harding Show.

The main Internet newsgroup for discussion of English folk music is As with other Usenet newsgroups, Google (formerly maintains an archive of the group. There is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for the group.

In another area of this site, I have a listing of Music subject search tools: a guide to link lists, search engines, and subject gateways, concentrating on those covering folk music and ethnomusicology. I have also a list of general purpose WWW search engines, subject trees and directories: I do not advise using them for general queries as they are likely to overload you with results of little relevance. They can however be useful for some sorts of specific queries, such as bands with distinctive names.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page


There are interesting discussions on the tradition, and the meaningfulness of terms such as 'folk' and 'traditional' on the Musical Traditions magazine Enthusiasms and Letters pages. Maryl Neff discusses the term 'folk music' in a summary of a University of Florida doctoral dissertation. Bill Markwick's somewhat idiosyncratic Folk File describes itself as 'A collection of terms related to folk music, plus some mini-biographies, musicology terms, trivia, and miscellaneous facts and figures'.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page


The main national organisations with websites are:

The Association of Festival Organisers

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Capers Folk Activity Holidays (Folk Camps Society)

English Folk Dance and Song Society

Folk Arts Network

Folk Dance and Song Group of the Camping and Caravanning Club

Folklore Society

Grand Union Structured Training Organisation

Morris Federation

The Morris Ring

The Musicians' Union Folk, Roots & Traditional Music Section

Open Morris

Traditional Song Forum

West Gallery Music Association

The UK Folk Index mainly lists folk song clubs but includes some dance clubs. My Folk and traditional music in specific areas of England page on this site lists folk song clubs and other local organisations with Web pages. Martin Kiff's Webfeet pages contain lists of English Ceilidh and English Folk Dance series and dance clubs.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page

Libraries, archives and museums

Many libraries in England such as the Bodleian Library have substantial printed and manuscript collections of English folk music material. The major specialist collection of printed material and sound recordings is the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. The national collection of sound recordings of folk and traditional musics is the International Music Collection of the British Library Sound Archive. The IMC holdings are listed in the Sound Archive catalogue Cadensa, now available online. The archive's policy on traditional music of the British Isles is available on the Traditional Song Forum site. The National Centre for English Cultural Tradition and Language Library at the University of Sheffield also contains major collections of material. The Cecilia project aims to produce an on-line guide to music collections in archives, libraries and museums in the UK and Ireland

The most comprehensive collection of folk and traditional musical instruments is in the Horniman Museum in London. Other museums with musical instrument collections are listed in the CIMCIM International Directory of Musical Instrument Collections: UK.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page

Research and education


Folk music - and folklore generally - barely exists as a academic study in England. We have no organisation equivalent to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in the USA, or even the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Perhaps the major university department in this field in England is the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition at the University of Sheffield. The University of Newcastle upon Tyne now offers an undergraduate degree course in Folk and Traditional Music. The Open University's Musics and Cultures Research Group is no more, but its web page has details of past activities.


The Traditional Song Forum is an association of people interested in research, collection and performance of traditional song, principally of the British Isles.

The British Library Sound Archive's Traditional Music in England Project is digitising, cataloguing and making available a number of important collections of English songs and music from the second half of the twentieth century.


Sites relating to collectors from previous generations include the catalogue of the James Madison Carpenter Collection, (a major collection of traditional song and drama, from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the USA) now online. Martin Graebe has as a site devoted to Sabine Baring-Gould. And in August 2003 various Cecil Sharp Centenary events were organised to commemorate Sharp's collection of his first folksong in August 1903.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page

Magazines and journals

British Journal of Ethnomusicology - information about the journal, and abstracts of papers

Folk Roots (fRoots)- some tasters from the printed magazine, plus a lot additional information and links.

Folk Music Journal - general information and the contents lists of recent issues.

Folklore - subscription information and list of recent articles.

Musical Traditions - an online magazine, containing articles, reviews, and shorter items such as news.

Tradition magazine

Traditional music maker - information about the magazine

There are also a number of local folk magazines on the Web - mostly online versions of printed publications.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page

Discographies, bibliographies and indexes


Rod Stradling is compiling a Discography of Recorded Traditional Music on the Musical Traditions site. This site also contains Mike Brocken's Topic Records Discography. David Atkinson's English Folk Song, an introductory bibliography: Discography is part of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library series of study guides and annotated bibliographies. Jane Keefer's Folk Music: an Index to Recorded Resources contains almost 45,000 songs and tunes from over 3,700 recordings. Coverage is largely American, but British and Irish records are included; it is indexed by title and performer. Rufus' Links to English Folk Song contains discographies (including track listings) for about twenty English revival performers. Many of the artists' pages mentioned below contain individual discographies.

An important resource - though not of course limited to folk music - is Cadensa, the catalogue of the British Library Sound Archive, now available online.


The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library has started publishing its series of study guides and annotated bibliographies on the EFDSS website. Those available so far are:

English Folk Song by David Atkinson and Addendum

Sword Dancing in Britain by Stephen D Corrsin

An Introductory Bibliography on Morris Dancing by Mike Heaney

Although their focus is on American and Scottish folk music, the listings at Folk Ballad Bibliography contain much material of interest.


Two useful indexes to printed collections of English, American and Celtic tunes are James Stewart's TuneIndex (55,000 entries as at July 1996 ) and Andrew Kuntz's The Fiddler's Companion (30,000 entries as at November 2000), both on the Ceolas Celtic music site. The TuneIndex Introduction has a good discussion of tune types. The Village Music Project has a list of manuscript collections and publications of English country dance tunes.

Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle of California State University, Fresno have compiled The Traditional Ballad Index: An Annotated Bibliography of the Folk Songs of the English-Speaking World. Bruce Olson's Roots of Folk: Old English, Scots, and Irish Songs and Tunes has links to collections of tunes and of texts of broadside ballads. Cathy Lynn Preston has a "Working" KWIC Concordance to Francis James Child's The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898)

The Plymouth Library Service's Plymouth Song Index is an "index of over 60,000 song titles in nearly 2,000 songbooks": it is not restricted to folksong, but includes many folksong collections (the Library houses a Baring-Gould collection).

Contents Back up to contents list for this page

Song, tune and dance collections

There are a number of online songbooks, tunebooks and dance collections, few restricted to English music. Most have been compiled as practical tools and often give little indication of the provenance of their contents.


The biggest online collection of Anglo-American folk song is the Digital Tradition database; the latest (Spring 2002) version contains 8981 entries, some with music. There are fewer distinct songs as some variants have separate entries (eg there are five versions of Barbara Allen). It can be searched online, or downloaded for use offline for PCs (DOS or Windows) or Apple Macs. Searching is possible using words from titles or texts, assigned keywords, and various other ways including Child and Laws numbers. The Digital Tradition also has an active online forum which is a useful place to post requests for words of songs. Previous discussions in the Forum archive are searchable, and you can find some texts of songs not in the main database in this way. Indeed the default is to search both the database and the forum.

Another American resource is Lesley Nelson's Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and America which contains texts and tunes (in midi format) including Child ballads. Richard Kopp has a similar site which includes Songs of England.

The Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads site contains indexes to, and facsimiles of, over 30,000 broadside ballads.

For those who cannot find the words they want in any of the above, there is a large number of more general sites on the web containing words of songs: a good list of these is on Yahoo! at: Entertainment/Music/Lyrics/. Otherwise, using a general search engine -- such as Goggle -- may come up with the answer, especially if there are unusual words in the text.


Many tune collections use Chris Walshaw's abc musical notation language, described in The abc home page. This page contains a list of tune collections which use the format and the web-wide abc index which includes "24812 titles for 22142 tunes" from over 250 collections (as at April 2004). Another index to abc collections (and some in other formats) is JC's ABC tune finder.

Richard Robinson collection has a list of links to a number of other tune collections. The Round English Country Dance Club have a Folk Music Index which is an index to dance tunes on the Web in various formats. Though neither is restricted to English tunes, the best sources of English dance tunes are Richard Robinson's Tunebook (in abc format) and Eric Foxley's Music Database (Nottingham ASCII format). Steve Allen has an ABC library of morris tunes.

John Adams's Village Music Project at the University of Salford aims to locate original manuscript material and recordings of traditional social dance music of England and make them available for research and performance.


A small number of callers have started to put collections of dances up on the Web, but there is nothing very comprehensive. Martin Kiff has a list of these on his English Folk dance index page.

Robert M. Keller's The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium contains a database of all the dances from all the editions of John Playford's Dancing Master.

Contents Back up to contents list for this page


There are quite a few websites and newsgroups devoted to specific musical instruments. Obviously, most instruments are used to play many different types of music, so it is easier to find folk-related resources for those (such as free-reeds, dulcimers and bagpipes) which are primarily folk instruments. The collection of instrument links has disappeared again.

Although not exclusively English in scope, the following resources certainly include English folk music and contain links to further resources. Although there are dozens of fiddle and guitar sites, I have only found a couple which are particularly relevant to players of English music. Further recommendations welcome. There are a few instrument makers listed on my folk music businesses page.


The Free Reed Festival: Accordions of the World

Phoebe Sengers' Accordiana

Jeroen Nijhof's Accordion links

The Usenet newsgroup


Julia Say's Northumbrian small pipes encyclopaedia - perhaps the only instrument used solely for playing English music.

The Usenet newsgroup


Chris Timson's very comprehensive Concertina FAQ

Paul Schwartz's

The Usenet newsgroup


The Nonsuch Dulcimer Club page

The Usenet newsgroup


Elaine Bradtke's Fiddle Notes

Chris Bartram's site contains a lot of interesting material on the fiddle in traditional music in southern England.

Pipe and Tabor

The Taborers' Society

Contents Back up to contents list for this page



Britain – a great choice for a tour

Britain is home to a vast number of different styles of music, celebrated in many of the festivals that take place all over the country. Spectators and performers from all over the world are welcomed to these festivals each year. Ranging from youth orchestra events to professional ‘big name’ performances, there is something for everyone.

England Festivals
Scotland Festivals
Wales Festivals

VisitBritain, the official tourist board for Britain, provides destination information for tour operators with performing groups.


Country Music in Britain is loaded with details.

British Music Links and much much MORE.


Music (c)


The Brits Awards


UK pop charts


Finding song lyrics


Study English using pop music


Concerts & gigs


British/Irish pop music




The words to a pop song are known as its lyrics. Lyrics to pop songs can often be found by using a general search engine such as Google ( with a search such as the artist's name, the song title and the word "lyrics", eg "beatles yesterday lyrics". Alternatively, use a specialist search engine such as LyricCrawler at (the title and artist should be used for the search term: for example, "beatles yesterday").

For the words of some of the most popular recent songs in the UK charts (every number 1 since October 2002), see: Britain/Music/Lyrics. This page also gives brief explanations of the songs, background notes, and links to the CDs (both the single and the album on which it appears).

How about some Beatles Links: FROM

Glenn's guide to London and Liverpool Beatle sites

Bill Harry's Merseybeat online. Feedback and suggestions welcome and appreciated.

Another guide to Beatle Locations in London

Info on guided walking tours of Beatle sites in London.

A Liverpool Beatle locations site

The official BEATLES website

George's All Things Must Pass

The massive Beatles Index site.

Beatle discography site.


The Internet Beatles Recording Index: a fantastic central point for cross-indexed information about every song

Steve's Beatle Page, with lyrics and song info Beatle Internet Resource Guide

The Bootleg Zone, with detailed information about Beatles recordings (and many other bands) song lyrics and info

Forever: A Tribute to the Beatles (Beatles Tribute Band)

Give Peace a Chance, a John Lennon Tribute site.

Harmony Central, for chords and other music info for Beatle songs.

The Complete Beatles UK Discgraphby

The Usenet Guideto Beatle Recording Variations

The Beatles Ultimate Experience website

The official Abbey Road Studios website

Beatle City from, with Liverpool guides, song lyrics, etc

Beatle song lyrics

Another song lyrics site

Beatles Website, with song links, guitar chords, biographical info, etc.

Beatles London News and Information Service

Help! info website

Beatles Karaoke(!)

Operation Big Beat anniversary celebration, November 2001.

Liverpool Beatlescene International Fan Club

Beatles 64 Liverpool site

Ottawa Beatles Site

Subscribe to the World Beatles Forum, a great newsletter from Canada Beatle website

Beatles Portal on PopTopix

The University of Liverpool Institute of Popular Music.

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

A good Hamburg and Astrid site

Helena's site of links

Beatles screensavers

David Rowley's " Story of the Beatles Songs"

Liverpool Books Online

Visit the on-line Beatles Karaoke(!) site

The Ultimate Beatles Archives

Join the Beatles newsgroup (

Alan W. Pollack's Notes On series

The British Export webpage (a Beatles tribute band).

Lennon-McCartney website

Wonderwall website

The July 6, 1957 page

"Help! In the World"page from Spain

Misc Saki posts and facts

Links to some worldwide Beatle homepages

Here, There & Everywhere Beatle links

A great site from Japan, with information on Japanese Beatle releases

The Internet Beatle album (click on song titles)

A good John Lennon site

Beatle magazines and related periodicals

Beatlefest homepage

Some Beatle reference books

University of Liverpool Beatle info site

A virtual tour of Mathew Street, Liverpool

The online Mathew Street Beatles Store

Liverpool tourism info, with maps, etc.

A guide to the real Blue Jay Way

A good page exploring the Paul Is Dead myth.

The butcher cover page (click here to see the butcher cover)

A listing, with pictures of Beatle stamps from around the world.

Paul McCartney 1984 Playboy interview

An account of meeting the Beatles in 1968.

1989 Good Day Sunshine tour with Beatle site photos

A Beatle travel guide

Liverpool Productions Magical Mystery Tour to England

Glenn's Beatle concert ticket stub, Washington DC, 1966

More from an instructor at Cornell. FROM

If you would like to know:

What SONGS the Beatles EVER performed

On which bootleg or released version to find each and every occurance

Where and when they first wrote their songs

Who wrote or performed other songs before them (i.e. music that influenced them or that they enjoyed)

Then this list is for you:






WARNING: These text files are large (~400KB each).

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about this SONG list.

KEY to abbreviations used in the SONG lists.

Or jump to SONGS beginning with the letter:


Discography and Bibliography:

Long List of Discs including Bootlegs (for reference only NOT FOR TRADE OR SALE!!!)

Long List of Books (for reference only NOT FOR TRADE OR SALE!!

INTERVIEWS (very incomplete)

Other articles of mine:

SUN KING - about the Spanish at the end of "Sun King".

MONO Mixes - where to find these.

12-Bar Original - Is NOT an original song!

"It's Just For You" a.k.a. "This Song Of Love" song identification.

Tell me more about Bootlegs, and where can I buy them?

Are you interesting in trading or selling discs or tapes?

I would like to sell some memorabilia, can you help?

Can you suggest where to sell some records, or tell me how much they are worth?

What about the Beatles song charts?

What are the lyrics to this song?

Which guitars did the Beatles use?

What is the latest news about the Beatles?

I have some questions for my school report, can you help?


Listening to pop music can be a good way to learn English and to study new vocabulary. If you have a favourite rock group, you can read its website, join its fan club or post messages onto its message board. You can buy some albums of British pop music and study the words of the songs (but note than most CDs bought in the UK do not include the words to the songs).

BBC World Service provide a free site for studying English through music at:

You can listen to British pop music by listening to a British radio station. If you are outside the UK, you can listen through the internet (for links to all the main stations, see: English/Listening).



Britain - Here is a music link rack. Click on each letter to hear a short musical piece.

















Click HERE to continue.


Follow the topics in this link rack to quickly go to your interests.
Britain Home Facts & Figures  My Favorite Cities Transportation 
 Food  Entertainment Music Museums
Education   Language Video Shopping
Books  Collectibles   Stamps Postcards
Google Search Translation Tool Dictionary Encyclopedia

2004-2009   Copyleft   
Enter search terms here to find details fast at VisitEuropeOnline

Other websites by David Ullian Larson which may be of interest: