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English Country Dance Tunes Book and CD - Dave Mallinson

Pub Session Series


Easy Peasy Tunes
English Country Dance Tunes
English Pub Session Tunes
Popular English Session Tunes

101 Easy Irish Session Tunes

Only 14 notes are required to play all 404 tunes. Ideal for all traditional musicians.

The 404 tunes presented in the above four books represent the core repertoire played in English pub sessions. Each book has its own theme and identity as described by the title. Together they form a wonderful reference work, bringing the most popular tunes to your fingertips.

The tunes are suitable for every instrument associated with traditional music, and only 14 notes are required to play them all. They are eminently suitable for playing at country dances, ceilidhs, barn dances and hoe-downs and most have been recorded by notable bands and personalities.

To facilitate musicians identifying repertoire suitable for their current personal ability, the tunes in each book are presented in order of difficulty, and start and finish progressively harder throughout the series, in the order listed.

Introduction to the series

A friend remarked at Sidmouth Folk Week, “Mally, I’m going to recommend your Easy Peasy book to everybody, it’s great! It reflects very closely the repertoire we play at our local session.” Another friend commented at Cleethorpes Folk Festival, “Mally, you do a gross injustice to some really good and useful tunes by labelling them ‘Easy Peasy’, it gives the impression that they are only of any use to beginners to cut their teeth on.” “Very true,” I thought, “I play many of these tunes myself at dances, in sessions and for the morris dancers. Wouldn’t it be a great to extend Easy Peasy into a series.” The idea was born, and soon developed into this set of four books which contain the most popular tunes that are played in English pub sessions, at folk festivals and by country dance musicians and morris players. Each book has its own theme and identity. Given average luck, with these tunes under your belt, you’ll be able to join in most of the time.

Because most traditional airs only require the fourteen notes D, E, F sharp, G, A, B, C, C sharp, D, E, F sharp, G, A and B, I decided it would be a good idea to continue the theme, meaning all the tunes can be played in the first position on the top three strings of the fiddle, all the notes are in the range of the wooden flute and tin whistle and all the music is within the scope of the D/G melodeon without accidentals.

Chord arrangements are more or less as played on the soundtrack, but nevertheless, are only suggestions. The dominant chords (i.e. D in the key of G, A in the key of D and E in the key of A etc.) throughout these books are noted as plain major chords, whereas many musicians prefer to play the seventh (D7, A7, E7 etc.). Feel free to play either type of chord as the mood takes you.

You’ll notice many of the tunes are not English. It’s the pubs, sessions, folk festivals, ceilidhs etc. that are English. In, what might be termed, a general English session, melodies from Northumberland, Ireland, Scotland, America, France and Scandinavia are to be heard alongside English airs, which tend to be associated with the more southern regions of the country

Hundreds of personalities, records, bands, books and sessions have, unknowingly, made tiny, almost imperceptible contributions to the settings and choice of the tunes found in these books (some of the more influential are listed below). They have also been moulded further by the limitations of my instrument, the D/G melodeon, and, of course, the fourteen note rule. All the settings are my own versions and every tune has, to a greater or lesser degree, my own personal stamp on it. But, I’m sure you’ll find all the tunes ‘session friendly’, you can learn them exactly as written and have a perfectly acceptable version. However, I consider it unwise to learn a tune from only one source and I would suggest strongly that, when learning a new tune, you pay heed to other books, recordings and live performances.




This Old Man
What Can the Matter Be?
Aiken Drum
Polly Wolly Doodle
Some Say the Devil's Dead
The Heel and Toe Polka
The Bear Dance
Here We Go Round Mulberry 
The Boston Burglar
The Orkney Rope Waltz
The Gentle Maiden
My Love Is Like a Red Rose
Green Grow the Rushes-o
The Greenwood Tree
Boil ‘em Cabbage Down
The Road to Boston
The Year of Jubilo
Goodbye Girls
Bonny Breast Knot
Corn Rigs
The Scartaglen Polka
The Big Corral
Big Rock Candy Mountains
Jumping Cactus
The Sidbury Four Hand Reel
The Thistle of Scotland
Marching through Georgia
Pop Goes the Weasel
Golden Slippers

Another Jig Will Do
Come, Let Us Dance and Sing
Circassian Circle
A Life on the Ocean Wave
The Geud Man o' Ballangigh
Finnegan's Wake
The Bourton Six
The Lass o’ Gowrie
Twelve Reel
The Road to the Isles
Chinese Breakdown
Turkey in the Straw
The Cumberland Reel
The Arkansas Traveller
Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed
Ap Shenkin
Horses’ Brawl
Herbert Smith’s Four Hand
Double Lead Through
Barney Brannigan
A Man's a Man for A' That
Durham Rangers
The Sussex Polka
Little Diamond
The Magic Slipper
Swedish Masquerade
The Goathland Square Eight
Voulez Vous Danser
The Tempest
Jack’s Maggot
Three Meet
Dorset Four Hand Reel No. 1

Dorset Four Hand Reel No. 2
Tavern in the Town
The Haymakers' Jig
Highland Laddie
The Dashing White Sergeant
Sellenger’s Round
Sir Roger de Coverley
The Triumph
The East Neuk of Fife
The Sweets of May
Miss Forbes' Farewell
The Fandango
Orange and Blue
The Flop-Eared Mule
Bonny Dundee
The Duke of Perth
La Russe
Jeanie's Blue E'en
Bottom of the Punchbowl
Peacock Followed the Hen
The Friendly Visit
The Sheffield Hornpipe
Proudlock's Hornpipe
The Humours of Donnybrook
Father Kelly's Jig
The Morpeth Rant
Pay the Reckoning
Haste to Wedding
Phillebelula All the Way
The Blarney Pilgrim
Banish Misfortune
The Ship in Full Sail

English Country Dance Tunes Book and CD - Dave Mallinson

  • After selecting all the common tunes that have their own dance, the emphasis was on choosing a varied selection of genres, time signatures and tune lengths required for a good night’s dancing. You’ll find Scottish, English, Irish, Welsh and American tunes; there’s reels, polkas, hornpipes, single jigs, double jigs, slip jigs and waltzes; also 48 bar tunes and Playford dances for good measure.

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