Twenty popular session tunes

There are many collections of popular session tunes in books and on internet websites. Here's a selection of people playing them on YouTube. Why not join in the videos as if you were in a session. The tunes are in no particular order, but all are played in either G or D or a mixture.

Jenny Lind Polka - played by the Boat Band A part in D / B part in G


Speed the Plough / Princess Royal / Soldier's Joy on D/G box


Three Around Three (A part starts at 0.11) - played in G

Curly-Headed Ploughboy - A part in D / B part in G


Galopede - played by Anahata in G on D/G box

(Oh Dem) Golden Slippers
- played by Gavin Atkin in G

Country Gardens
- played in G


Davy Knick Knack - played in G


Old Joe the Boat is Going Over - played by Gavin Atkin in D


Walter Bulwer's Polka No 1 - played by Gavin Atkin A part in G / B part in D

Oyster Girl - played in G

Uncle Bernard's Polka - played in G


Grandfather's Tune - played by Lester Bailey in D


Jimmy / Jamie Allen - played in G


Haste to the Wedding - played by Anahata in D


The Blue-eyed Stranger, Getting Upstairs and Princess Royal - played by Mark Insley & Jon Doran - in G


Brighton Camp - played in G


Buffalo Girls and Salmon Tails - played in G

The Weaver's March - played in D


The Sloe - played by Anahata in D


Winster Gallop - played in G

Sources of traditional tunes

Here are five fantastic sources of tunes - submitted by Mike Rudge


A huge archive of traditional, folk & old music - song-books with lyrics & chords, tune-books, sheet-music, scores, old songs, midi backing tracks, tabs, music lessons & theory, learn to play guides for various instruments, chord diagrams, scales and other music educational & academic reference materials.

abc notation home page

abc notation is a text-based music notation system and the de facto standard for folk and traditional music.



The definitive site for music resource, covering a vast range of tunes from many folk genres. Also includes discussion blogs from musicians and suggestions for tune sets.


This music project is primarily interested in the traditional social dance music of England – where it came from, where it went to, who it travelled with and where it is now. Because the places where we will be looking for this music also contain other sorts of material such as folk song, carols and religious music, band and military music, etc. we have left the aims more open, to allow for expansion of the project at a later date. We are intending to fill in a gap in the ethno-musicological research spectrum and not duplicate the research in which other people are engaged.


Paul Hardy's tunebooks contain tunes that he learned to play on my English concertina. They should also be playable on other folk melody instruments such as fiddle, whistle, flute, mandolin or dulcimer. Included are guitar chords, sometimes based on computer generated ones - so use these as guidance, not definitive! By far the majority are traditional tunes from the British Isles, including many English, Irish, and Scottish dance tunes, but others are an eclectic mix of session favourites. Some have been adapted from Internet resources, in abc, midi or visual score formats. Others have been learned by ear or handouts from various sessions in the UK and US. All are believed free of current copyright (unless noted explicitly), or else appear to have been placed in the public domain as part of the ongoing live folk music tradition.



This section of the website is for tunes in abc format. This format can be converted to sheet music (dots) using this online converter: 
The on-screen sheet music can then be displayed as a pdf file and printed .  Give it a try - it's a great tool.

Example tune: Morpeth Rant

X: 31
T:Morpeth Rant
% Nottingham Music Database
S:Kevin Briggs, via EF
A|"D"dA/2G/2 F/2D/2F/2A/2|"G"B/2G/2B/2d/2 "A7"c/2A/2c/2e/2|\
"D"ff/2d/2 "G"g/2f/2e/2d/2|"Em"ce "A7"eA|
"D"dA/2G/2 F/2D/2F/2A/2|"G"B/2G/2B/2d/2 "A"c/2A/2c/2e/2|\
"Bm"ff/2d/2 "A7"g/2f/2e/2d/2|"D"Ad d:|
f/2e/2|"D"d/2f/2a/2f/2 d/2f/2a/2f/2|"Em"g/2f/2e/2f/2 ge/2f/2|\
"A7"g/2f/2e/2d/2 c/2d/2e/2g/2|"D"f/2e/2f/2g/2 "A"f3/2f/2|
"D""Bm"d/2f/2a/2f/2 d/2f/2a/2f/2|"Em"g/2f/2e/2f/2 ge/2f/2|\
"A7"g/2f/2e/2d/2 c/2e/2a/2g/2|"D"fd d:|

T:Oscar Wood's
O:England, East Anglia
|EDC EDC| GAG A2 A|G2 c cDC| D3 C3:|
|:E2 G GGE|F2 A A2 E|E2 G GDC|D2 D D2 C|
|C2 G GGE|F2 A A2 G|G2 c cDC|D3 C3:|

Suffolk Folk

Norfolk Folk Association