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Broken links? Corrections? Suggestions? Email Sarah Gowan ssgowan(at)gmail(dot)com


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Links and Resources

Tunes, Tips, and Other Good Stuff

Resources, Dance Compositions, Indices, and the like
Charlie Seelig's amazing links page for contra dance musicians.

Tune collections on the Internet Mickey Koth's massive list of links to tune collections in all formats.

Contra Dance Music: A Working Musician's Guide also from Mickey Koth, is a gold mine of links to articles about playing for dances by musicians and callers. In fact, just go explore her site for awhile - she has collected a TON of resources for musicians!

Exploring ABC

ABC is a language designed to notate tunes in text format. It is elegant in its simplicity, easy to learn and an incredibly useful tool for folk musicians.

Links to get you started on abc notation and software:

The ABC Home Page This site has EVERTHING abc.

ABC Instructional Videos Chris Walshaw, the creator of the abc notation system and excellent Balfolk musician, has created several instructional videos from beginner to advanced tips.  Each video is 10-20 minutes long. Highly recommended!

The abc Music Project a collection of resources for abc users.

How to interpret abc music notation a tutorial by Steve Mansfield

The abc standard V2.1
The standard currently in use. Contains great information for the advanced user.

abc examples This page contains a whole series of abc examples starting from notes, beams, etc right through to some fairly complex tunes.

Cheat Sheets from the 1/30/2021 Workshop.

Online Tools for ABC

NEW! Michael Eskin's ABC Tools A generous selction of online tools for converting, playing and transposing. Tunebooks, too! Highly recommended.

Jens Wollschläger's ABC-Transposer

Mandolin Tab Online Converter

Colin Hume has a great Online Converter

Our own super-simple converter for a quick look at any abc file

John Chamber's ABC Tune Finder is a searchable index of most tunes in abc on the web.

ABC Format Music Sites page o' links


There is a comprehensive list of abc software at the abc notation site.
You can find a complete list of applications for mac, windows, linux and mobile devices.

A few of our favorites are linked below

Easy ABC
an open source ABC editor for Windows, OSX and Linux. If you're overwhelmed and don't wnt to mess with a lot of research, I recommend this one. This is what many of us use to make pdf files for SPUDS.

TuneBook is an iPhone/iPad app from Jerry Huxtable for viewing abc tunes in staff notation. This is Sarah's go-to app on her iPad.

The Craic another iPhone/iPad app for organizing and playing abc files

TradMusician is an Android app from Nicolas Jouve which can display abc in standard notation, play it with midi and synchronize with an online tunebook.


Other Excellent Tools for Musicians

LiveBPM is a tempo monitoring tool for iPhone and Android that detects music and beats via the microphone and continuously displays the current tempo in beats per minute (BPM). It is easy to use and delivers high-quality results while being energy efficient.

An excellent Open Souce (read: legally free) sound processing program. In addition to numerous sound effects processing capabilities and the ability to cut-and-paste sound clips, it can slow down any MP3 file by pretty much any amount you want without losing pitch.

The Amazing Slowdowner from Roni Music
Not exactly for ABC's, but an essential tool for slowing down a tune that is being played at supersonic speed. Reasonably priced and available for PC and Mac.

More software that lets you slow tunes down. There is also a free demo available for downloading


Want to help? Please with suggestions, additions, corrections and tunes in abc format. Thanks!


Broken links? Corrections? Suggestions? Email Sarah Gowan ssgowan(at)gmail(dot)com