This site contains supporting material for The Folk Handbook, published by Backbeat Books in 2007. In particular, it includes MIDI files providing the tunes for the songs in the book.
The Folk Handbook is the most comprehensive book of English folk songs for half a century. It includes words and musical notation for 90 songs collected from singers in the early years of the 20th century or more recently from unaccompanied singers in the same tradition.
Songs in the book include: ‘Barbara Allen’, ‘The Daemon Lover’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘The Farmer's Curst Wife’, ‘George Collins’ and nearly 90 more. Each one is provided with detailed notes on its origins and meaning.
The songs have been selected by Malcolm Taylor and David Atkinson of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, with annotations by David Atkinson, and are based on the original handwritten field notes of collectors such as Cecil Sharp, working at the beginning of the 20th century.
The book also includes:
- Detailed essays on the history and meaning of folk song.
- Notes on new developments in folk in the US and the UK.
- Guidance from folk giant Martin Carthy on performing traditional material.
- Full discography, bibliography, and guide to folk on the web.
- A 14-track CD of authentic field recordings of unaccompanied folk song.
- A foreword by legendary traditional singer Shirley Collins.
The book has been created in conjunction with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, based at Cecil Sharp House in London, the world authority on traditional song in the English language.