Folk Song Index


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Folk Song Index


Notes and disclaimers


This is an index of the folk songs in books and recordings in my collection, plus some of the books and recordings in the collections of friends. The emphasis is on traditional folk songs in the English language, though there are songs in other languages (notably French), modern folk songs, and some instrumentals. There are 56,845 entries in the index. The index began very modestly as a homegrown database to enable me to locate songs in my collection of about 30 vinyl albums. It had been annoying me to have to pull out many albums to find the one song I wanted. The index has somewhat outgrown its origins.


* The Title column contains the name of the song or tune, and for some songs a distinctive phrase from the chorus or from a verse. The column also contains the name of the composer, if known. If words and music were composed by different people, the author of the words is preceded by "w:", and the composer of the music is preceded by "m:". The column may also contain capitalised initials, representing the identity of one of my friends whose books or recordings are in the index.


* The Location or Cross Reference column contains the name of the book or recording, plus the name of the author or performer. If the book or recording is from the collection of one of my friends, it contains a note such as "(collection of ABC)". The column may also contain the word "see" followed by text. This text may be an alternative title; a distinctive phrase from the song to assist in identifying songs when the title is not known; the name of the tune followed by "(tune)"; a reference such as "Child #085", which means it is number 85 in the collection of Francis James Child; the title of a related song; or the name of a generic theme such as "broken token" ballad or "night visiting" song. Songs that are related may be different versions of the same song, songs that share a tune, or songs that share a theme. Use caution, as a cross reference from song A to song B and from song B to song C does not necessarily mean that song A and song C are related. These cross references are not active links. To use them you will have to go to the top of the page, follow the link to the appropriate section of the index, and search within that section. Or use the site search feature in the upper right hand corner of the page.


* The Page column, for a book, gives the page number within the book where the song may be found.


* The Type column indicates whether the source has words, music, an audio recording, a video recording, or information about the song.


For alphabetisation, leading articles in English and French (a, an, the, un, une, le, la, les, and l') have been inverted, but this has generally not been done for any other language. There are no accented letters in this index (it was begun when most computers didn't handle accented letters). Words in song titles are usually capitalised, and distinctive phrases are generally in lower case.


This is an index, and refers to books and recordings only. None of them are on this site. There are no links from this index to Internet sites. Check with libraries, book stores, record stores, and online stores and resources. While care was taken during the preparation of the index, it has not been proofread. There will be errors of many kinds. There will also be inconsistencies. Purely instrumental numbers are not always indexed.


James Prescott, 2021-Dec-06, 2020-Aug-31, 2018-Oct-08, 2014-Feb-03, 2013-Nov-26, 2013-Dec-30, 2013-Dec-17, 2012-Feb-16, 2012-Dec-14, 2006-Apr-18, 2004-Nov-16


I am hosting another person's index here (opens new window)
I can recommend an index by Jane Keefer here (opens new window)
The Spring 2002 version of The Digital Tradition is here (opens new window)



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