FARNE Archive Search :: Search Tips
1. Try starting with a simple keyword
search by typing a term in the entry box and pressing search.
This will search through the text and keywords of all the records
held in the archive.
2. If you have more of an idea what you're looking for try using
our specific searches. This allows you to search by person,
first line, or period.
For example you may want to see all of the songs in the archive
written by a certain composer, or perhaps you want to see items
relating to specific place in the region.
3. The advanced search facility
allows you to combine these specific searches. This allows you
to broaden or narrow your search as desired. Use one or all of
the options to create your search. For example you may want to
see all jigs, in 9/8 time, written between 1660-1700. Or you may
want to hear all sound recordings, made before 1950.
4. Alternatively you may not have a clear idea of what you are
searching for. Perhaps you'd simply like to browse
the archives. This search allows you to browse by collection,
theme or keyword.
Here you can page through the archive's collections from start
to finish or select material from one of the local themes (e.g.
industry, war, river and sea etc.). Or if you'd like to be more
specific use our keywords to find songs on any subject you could
5. If you have trouble finding what you are looking for try an
alternate spelling. Many of the items in the Archive contain local
dialect which can vary depending on the age and origin of the
item. This may effect your search results. For example using a
First Line Search to find the local song the Keel Row, many people
would naturally enter:
'As I came through Sandgate'.
However the spelling of this line can vary from version to version
and is often written as:
'As I cam' thro' Sandgate'
Try various spellings when using free text searches such as this
for the best results. Try not to limit your results by being too
specific and entering long lines of text as this will only reduce
the chances of finding an exact match.
6. Try using our indexing system to search for a familiar tune.
Where possible tunes in the archive have been indexed using the
Gore's index. This search will be especially useful to those who
have heard a tune and wish to find the notation. The index is
explained more fully below.
There are many ways of classifying and indexing tunes by means
of codes, and all have their advantages and disadvantages. If
the code is too detailed it may not provide a match for two versions
of the same tune, while if it is too vague it will give matches
with tunes which on examination are quite different.
The codes here use the system described in Charles Gore's 'The
Scottish Fiddle Music Index' (The Amaising Publishing House Ltd,
Musselburgh, 1994), which is in turn based on the work of the
great Irish music scholar Breandán Breathnach. Gore's Index
has itself been useful in writing the commentaries to the tunes
on the FARNE website, by providing titles for untitled tunes,
identifying composers, and also in showing when a tune is NOT
in one of the many publications listed by Gore.
Before going into detail about how to work out a theme code,
hum the first bars of The Keel Row to yourself and see if the
following makes any sense:
3142 3125L. If it does, you are more than halfway there. Now
for the details.
The two main factors in establishing theme codes are PITCH and
The system is based on a simple numerical code which does not
depend on the key of the tune, so that versions of the same tune
in different keys will have the same code. For doh, re, mi etc.
substitute the numbers 1, 2, 3 up to to 7. The top doh becomes
1H (H for high), and higher notes still are 2H, 3H etc. For notes
below the MAIN OCTAVE we use 7L, 6L etc (L for low). A higher
octave than H is represented by T, and a lower octave than L by
F - both are very rare in traditional tunes.
2/ MAIN OCTAVE
The main octave is probably easiest for fiddlers to understand
- it is the highest octave in the relevant key which can be played
in first position. For tunes in C major, C minor or C# minor for
example, 1 is third finger on the G-string and 1H is second finger
on the A-string. For tunes in Bb major or B minor, 1 is first
finger on the A-string and 1H is fourth finger on the E-string.
For non-fiddlers, the main octaves of each scale start on middle
C (first leger line below treble-clef stave) for tunes in C, on
D above middle C for tunes in D, and so on to Bb and B.
The numbers 1 to 7 refer to the notes in the Major scale, or Ionian
mode (see the section on MODES for more information). If our tune
is in A minor, for instance, the 3rd note is C natural rather
than the C# of the major scale, so the pair of notes A C is represented
by 13b, the b representing the flat sign. The G natural below
our main octave is 7bL - G# would be 7L. F natural would be 6b,
F# would be 6. If our A minor tune has an exotic D# in the main
octave it would be 4#, and so on.
Zero is used when a rest falls on a main beat, and is more common
in song tunes than instrumental tunes.
Occasionally when the same tune is found in different keys the
theme code will be different because of the registers involved.
When this is known to be the case then two versions of the code
are given. Key signature is not a reliable way to find the keynote,
or 1, of a tune, if the tune is in a mode other than Ionian and
Aeolian ('standard' major and 'natural' minor). The keynote must
be found through playing the tune or hearing it in ones head.
Although often a tune starts and ends on its keynote,
this also is not a safe guide, particularly with pipe tunes whose
strains frequently end 'up in the air'. Although many tunes are
described 'double tonic' this usually only means that they are
built on two chords, one of which is definitely felt as the 'home'
chord, but a few tunes are ambiguous, and with these two versions
of the theme code are given.
The codes are based on the main beats of the first two or four
bars of the tune and consist of two groups of either four or three
numbers. The notes between the main beats are not counted. If
a note takes up more than one beat (e.g. a minim or a dotted crotchet
in a 4/4 bar) then it also provides the number for the next beat.
Note that some rhythms (3/8, 6/4, 3/2, 9/4) are
interpreted differently by Gore, so if using his Index this must
be allowed for.
If the tune is in 4/4 or 2/2 then the bar is divided into four
and the note which falls on each beat is given a number, as in
our Keel Row example. Two bars are numbered. If it is in 2/4 then
each bar has two beats, so four bars are numbered to give the
two groups. 6/8 is treated like 2/4 with two beats per bar: the
first note of each quaver triplet, dotted crotchet or other half-bar
group is numbered and four bars are numbered to give the two groups.
One bar of 12/8 counts as two 6/8 bars and gives four numbers.
6/4 is an older way of spelling 6/8 and is treated in the same
way as 6/8, two beats ber bar, though beware of incorrect time
signatures - sometimes 6/4 is mistakenly written for 3/2 which
is treated differently, see below.
These are used for 3/2, 3/4, 3/8, 9/8 and 9/4 rhythms. In each
case the bar is divided into three to find the numbers of the
notes which begin each beat. The advantage in using the same division
for all tunes in 3/2, 3/4 and 3/8 is that matches will be found
whether a waltz is written in 3/8 or 3/4 and whether a triple-time
hornpipe is written in 3/4 or 3/2.
If a reel or hornpipe is written in 2/4 (mainly semiquavers) rather
than 2/2 or 4/4 (mainly quavers) then it will have a different
theme code. When tunes are known to have more than one rhythmic
spelling then both codes are given.
6. You may notice that many of the tune records in the archive
contain 'Suggested Corrections'. This has been used to alert users
to possible changes that would improve the playing of the tune.
The corrections are a simple sequence of numbers and dashes used
to identify a note or group of notes in a tune, e.g. 2/4/6.
The number before the first dash identifies which strain of the
tune we are concerned with. Strains (often called Parts) are usually
separated from each other by double bars and/or repeat marks.
They are usually but not always four, eight or sixteen bars long.
The majority of tunes have only two strains, but you'll need to
do some counting in some of the longer variation sets.
The number between the two dashes identifies which bar of the
strain we are concerned with. Occasionally this number is zero
- 0. This is when it refers to an upbeat or anacrusis, a metrically
incomplete bar at the start of a strain.
The number after the second dash identifies which note of the
bar we are concerned with, counting all the notes as equal regardless
of their rhythmic value.
The letter following the number sequence is the Note which is
the suggested correction. Only capital letters are used, and they
refer to the note of that name NEAREST IN PITCH to the note to
be corrected, unless otherwise stated.
Sometimes longer permutations involving commas and/or dashes
2/4,8/6 - the same correction for note 6 in bars 4 and 8 (only)
of strain 2.
2-5/4/6 - the same correction for note 6 in bar 4 of strains 2
to 5 inclusive.
2/4/6-8 - an inclusive sequence of three notes (6, 7 and 8) in
bar 4 of strain
2. The correction might read A-B-C# for example.
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