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. Originally the links would bring the MIDI files up in your browser when you clicked them, so you could click play and listen to them. For some reason known only to themselves, modern browsers won't do this (progress!). If you click the link, Safari will download the MIDI. So will Chrome (which I don't use). Firefox will ask you which program on your computer you want to open it with. I use MuseScore. It's a free, open source desktop application. That is important to me.

If you would like a copy of the book, they can be bought. will sell you a new one for £49.88 (from Australia!), or a secondhand one for around £13. Make sure you get the CD. Amazon wants £67.14 for a new hardback, or £488.34 for a paperback. Good luck with that: there never was a paperback. I would discourage you from buying secondhand from Amazon or Abebooks, which is an Amazon front.

If you don't mind dipping your toes into the world of piracy, you can find a pdf online. Being a Bristolian, I rather like pirates. But it is a poor substitute for the real book, which is in a wiro binding, designed to be laid out flat and used.

I've just bought back the domain name, which was filched when we weren't paying attention. The site was written in html/css in 2007 and it will take me a while to get it the way I want it. In the meantime, please make allowances.

I wanted to call the book England's Glory, and if I do a new version, that's the title I'm planning to use. Meanwhile, back to 2007.

book jacket

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.

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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:

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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.