Getting Started

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Welcome to the Australian Traditional Music Tunes Archive. This archive contains the music of Australian traditional players. It is based on the work of collectors who sought out the musicians and singers who carried Australia's musical social history and recorded their performance. Dancing was an important thread in the social fabric prior to the phonograph, radio, television, internet influences. It was central to most social functions and provided opportunity for both country and city folk to meet partners. So dance musicians generally were held in high regard in their communities.

Many recordings made by collectors have been lodged with libraries around the country, chiefly the National Library of Australia. With the demise of many of the primary sources of tunes some keen musicians are turning to these collections and finding a wealth of great music. Their transcriptions are the basis of this collection but it should be noted that dots on a page or screen largely lose the style of the performer - the nuances or timing, decoration, variation and technique. To gain a feel for the music it is recommended that musicians listen to the old players on the recordings such as at the NLA.

This collection derives from a series of collations of tunes put together by Ray Mulligan and Greg O'Leary and presented at the National Folk Festival over a number of years. It has been set up so that you can view the tunes and listen to them online.

This site is a Wiki, a website that allows users to collaboratively edit it. If you've not used a wiki before, you may want to have a look at the What are Wikis, and Why Should You Use Them? and Wikipedia Wiki pages. More specifically, this site is powered by the Mediawiki software (used on Wikipedia, the Traditional Tune Archive and many other sites).

Using This Wiki

Anyone is welcome to browse the tunes on this wiki. To find tunes of interest you can:

  • view the list of All Tunes
  • Browse Tunes belonging various categories (key, meter, rhythm)
  • Find Tunes matching specified category criteria
  • search for pages containing the specified words in either their title or body by using the Search Box in the navigation area on LHS

Tunes on this site are notated using ABC music notation. We also provide guidance on the ABC Notation Conventions page for ABC tag use in tunes added to this site. When viewing a tune, the ABC music notation is rendered into a visible score by the ABC Javascript (abcjs) package. For this to work you must have Javascript enabled in your browser, which in turn must support Javascript. Otherwise you will only see the "abc music notation" for the tune, not the music score. You would then need to download the tune and open with, or copy and paste it into, your preferred ABC Notation program to view the score. Of course you would also do this to save a copy of a tune on your computer for your use. You can then use such a program to:

  • Read the score
  • Listen to a computer generated rendering of it
  • Edit the code (eg change key, arrange parts)
  • Print a PDF of the score, a dance set or even a book of tunes

Any tunes included on this site should either be out of copyright, or included with permission. Details of the site licence, and related copyright information is given on the Copyrights page. If you believe a copyright tune has been included on this site without permission, please Contact Us so we can correct this.

More on the Wiki Layout and Features

When viewing any page, there are several tabs visible over the main displayed content. The page tabs displays the current page (if you have moved to one of the other tabs here). The history tab shows you a list of changes made to the page, who by, and why. The other tabs are not really useful for most site users.

On the Left-Hand Side of the wiki is a navigation area. This starts with a list of links to useful pages on the site, starting with links to the the site Home, this Tunes and the associated People and Background archives, various search and display options, and finally this Getting_Started page. Next there is search box, where you can enter some text you want to find in either page titles or their contents. Finally there is the tools section with utility links. The most useful of these is the Printable version link to display the current page in a form suitable suitable for printing or saving as a PDF. There are also links to export the current tune as an abc file, to tag the page for later export, and to go to the page to export multiple tunes, where any tunes you've tagged are listed. Any other items in this box are not really useful for most site users.

Some pages may have an embedded audio player linked to an audio file (usually mp3), that looks as follows:

Black Haired Lass - played by Greg O'Leary

This will display in any reasonably recent browser. You can use the player controls to play the audio file, or click on the player to access the menu to download the file. If the player is not visible because your browser is too old, you can still follow the caption text link to access the file to play or download.

Contributing to This Wiki

Registered Users are able to edit or create tune pages on this site. User accounts are available upon request to the site managers for collectors of traditional Australian Music. Note that you have a common username and password across the companion people and tunes sites. Once you have an account, you need to login to the site using the login link on the upper RHS. You will then have access to page editing and other site features.

More on the Wiki Layout and Features when Logged In

As a registered user, logged in to the site, you see a number of additional items on the page compared to user's who are not logged in. The general structure is as described in the #More on the Wiki Layout and Features section above.

Across the upper right area of the page are a set of links related to you account on the wiki. The first is your login. This links to your personal user page. You should say a little bit about yourself here, to inform other user's of the site. You can also use this page as a place to experiment with wikitext markup and content before placing it in the desired target page on the system. Next is a link to your talk page, where users can leave messages for you. In fact all pages on the wiki have a paired talk page for discussion about them (as we'll note below). That said, you don't always receive notification of changes to talk pages, so we don't really recommend using them, unless there are several people actively discussing a particular page, who are thus looking for these notes. Following this is the link to your account preferences which you can check and adjust. The remaining links are for your watch list (pages you've said you want to monitor changes to), a list of your contributions to the site, and lastly the log out .

Above the main displayed content, there are now some additional tabs. The discussion tab links to the talk page associated with the current page. As noted above, this should really only be used a by a group debating content on the specific page. The edit tab allows you to make changes to the page, as we discuss below on #Editing Pages. As a page contributor, the history is very useful for seeing who has previously made changes to this page. It even allows you to undo some changes, to revert a page to a previous version. This is usefu|l if someone has seriously mangled the page. This feature should be used with care. The move tab allows you to rename a page. This doesn't delete the original page, but rather leaves a redirection to the new page name. Again this feature should be used with care, but can enable you to correct an incorrectly named page. Last is the watch tab that adds this page to your watch list.

In the navigation area area on the LHS, there are some extra links in the tools section. The Upload file link allows you to upload a file (e.g. image) to the wiki. However this is better done as part of the process of including the image on some page, as described in Lawrie's guide to Getting Started Editing Wiki Pages (see #Editing Pages section next). The Special pages provides access to a suite of advanced site features. These are mainly relevant to site editors and administrators, others should tread very warily!

Editing Pages

To content on a wiki, you Edit the relevant page. This will place you in the wiki page editor. On this site, most pages are tunes, notated using ABC music notation. Please follow the guidance given on the ABC Notation Conventions page for ABC tag use in tunes on this site. The content of tune pages must follow the standard "Tune Template" that should have been used when the page was created, in order for the site features to work correctly.

Please note that each person adding information to this site is responsible for meeting the copyright requirements for that information.

The standard "Tune Template" has, after some instructions in a HTML comment, a section for the abc tune notation that you most likely wish to edit, placed inside a HTML pre-format block, that looks as follows:

<pre id=abc>

T:title of tune
L:note length
R:rhythm (use multiple R: tags for multiple suggested rhythms, or separate rhythms with '/')
|"D"D D A A|"G"B B "D"A2


Following a couple more required lines and comments, is room to provide additional details on the tune, links to music files, or to pages on the companion Related People Archive. This information uses a special markup style know as wikitext. Only brief additional information should be included here. If you have more extensive related content, this should be placed in the companion Related People Archive. To find out more about the wikitext markup used on these pages, have a look at Lawrie's guide to Getting Started Editing Wiki Pages. There are other links on the Help:Contents page. This part of the page looks as follows:

<!-- Additional notes and comments, links to related material, e.g. recordings, info on tune, collector etc 
can be included below this line using standard wikitext markup. -->

eg. You can see more information about the source of this tune in the page on [[austtradpeople:related person page|link text]]

The additional details most likely include either an embedded media player to play a recording of the tune, or links to either pages on the companion Related People Archive, or to external web pages. These are all done using the standard wikitext link tags described in the references quoted above. Many of the tunes on the site were added in bulk, as noted below, and will include some brief cross-reference links and a media player in a standard form. This information can edited and extended as needed.

If you want to link to pages in the companion Related People Archive, you can use the "interwiki" tag "austtradtune" in a link of the form:

[[austtradpeople:related person page|link text]]

To include an embedded audio player, linked to an audio file (usually mp3), along with a caption including an explicit link to the file below the player, you need to include code that looks as follows:

<br><caption>'''[url_of_music_file caption text]'''</caption>

Please note that the Tunes wiki does not allow file uploads. Hence linked media files should be located in some suitable repository elsewhere on the web. Recordings made by Bush Traditions for the National Folk Festival Collections are located on this site, but managed manually. If you have a relevant collection of tunes that you believe should be held here, please Contact Us to discuss this.

At the bottom of the page is a section that starts as shown below. As the comments says DO NOT CHANGE any of the following lines!

<!-- Please DO NOT CHANGE any of the following lines. The category tags will be automatically created/updated when you save the page. -->

When you edit a tune, the page is automatically tagged with key, meter, and rhythm categories, based on the relevant abc notation tags, to assist users of the site to locate tunes of interest. Please don't try to change the category tags at the bottom of the page, after the comment noted above, as they will automatically be replaced when the page is saved.

The usual edit process on any page goes as follows:

  • you make some initial changes to the window wikitext content
  • you enter a brief "Summary" message that will appear in the page history giving a brief idea of why you're editing the page (which helps other users know what you've been doing on the page)
  • you select "Show preview" to see the effect of your changes
  • you say "bugger" because its not quite right, so you tweak your changes to the page content
  • you select "Show preview" to see the effect of your new changes
  • repeat above make change & preview cycle until satisfied with the new page content
  • select "Save page" to commit the changes to the page, which others can then view

Creating Pages

Registered Users can contribute suitable collected tunes not already included, or different to existing tunes, on this site.

If you have a collection of tunes you wish to add, please contact the site managers, providing the tunes in an abc music notation file, as they can "bulk add" a collection of tunes "behind the scenes".

Otherwise you can contribute a small number directly by creating a new tune page for each.

To create a new tune page, you should search for it by the name you wish to use. Please note the following naming conventions for tunes. The name (title) of the page should match that of the tune, with the following caveats. Do not duplicate a title that already exists: instead, use parenthesis after the page name to indicate a different version with the same name e.g. "Knotted Cord (3)". Place the articles "A", "An", "The" in parenthesis at the end of the title, and after any version number [e.g. "Knotted Cord (3) (The)]. Also note that only some punctuation characters are allowed in the name (title) of a page. If you stick to A-Za-z0-9"()',.-^_ you will be fine.

If the page you search for does not exist (as expected), you will be offered the option of editing the page, which you should select. You will then be in the page editor, with a no content. You should start by selecting the Load button to pre-fill the page with the standard tune template, from the Boilerplate selection area near the top of the new page. You can then modify this template, as discussed above. Please note, if you want to add a page that is not a tune, then you should do this on the companion Related People Archive. If the tune you searched for already exists, and is different to the one you wish to add, please follow the convention described above to add a number suffix to distinguish the tunes.

Please follow the guidance given on the ABC Notation Conventions page for ABC tag use in tunes added to this site.

Important Note: that this site is not designed for, or intended to, support fully fledged ABC music notation editing. Whilst editing the ABC tags is easy, if you need to make changes to the notated music, you should copy and paste the abc notation into your preferred ABC Notation program (or at least into our ABC Sandbox), make the changes needed, and then copy and paste the modified abc notation back into the wiki page.


Further Guides and Tutorials

For further details, please see Help Contents for a list of additional guides available on this site.