Sharing traditional tunes

Sharing is Caring, and ofcourse we all like to share our passions. One of my passions is playing with instruments. Learning stuff by practice, listening and investigating. I don’t do it because I want to become the best, I do it for the joy of playing.

Certain tunes make my spirit dance, and make me feel very alive. They can express joy but also sorrow or peace. Whatever the mood is, there allways is a tune to match. Quite often I just grab an instrument just to change my mood – to be busy with focussing on something positive.


That is what playing music, tunes, rhythms and melodies to me is about. To spend time on practice. It is a positive activity, a useful activity and a rewarding activity. It is choosing to do what you want to learn in a very direct aproach. So in a sense, picking up an instrument is saying to the universe: I choose now to do what is good for me.
Instead of gazing at a tv, at a computer screen, cellphone, or doing other things that do not have a greater function then simply make time pass in a low energy- and attentionconsuming way. So it has also to do with awareness.

But enough of talking about my own motivation to play, this should be about how to easily get fired up into learning to play (Irish) traditional tunes.

First of all you could check youtube for nice traditional tunes to get inspired:

Irish trad Playlists on Youtube

If you found a tune you like, you look it up in the tune finder of

If you managed that, you click on the ABC-tab of the tune:

X: 1
T: Leitrim Fancy, The
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Dmaj
G2B dBd|edB dBA|G2B dBG|ABG FED|
G2B dBd|edB def|gfe dBG|ABG FED:|

You copy that part, by selecting it, right mousebutton and hit Copy.

If you copied the text, you open up notepad,

Paste it there and save it as a .abc extension – To do this you have to change save as txt, to “all files” and manually type .abc behind the name you chose. I usually name the abc file after the tune it contains. To make it visual:

Next step is to open the file in TablEdit 

Which is a completely free program that can make the abc file play nice, and convert it for many different instruments.

TablEdit download page

Ofcourse you could use any other ABC player as well, but I prefer TablEdit simply because it automatically adds the whistle scores into my tune in a way that other players can’t. If you can read music, you don’t need extra scores. But if you are like me, you like to play whistle, or any other instrument but don’t read the western music scores, this is ideal.

I will show how that little piece of abc-text turns into a lovely playable score in my computer:

1 Open TablEdit (click “ok” on the Demo notification – it never will expire, no worries)

2 Click File, Import, Import ABC

You locate the *.abc file where you stored it and open it.

On my screen it will look radically different then on your screen, because I have adjusted my TablEdit settings to be optimized for the Tinwhistle in key of D, because that is the instrument I use it for. So do not panic 😉 – I will also show the settings to get your screen exactly as mine.

On my screen it looks like this:

Now to set it up to look like this, you need to go to:

File –> Options, and then simply check and uncheck the same things you can see in my images below. That’s the easiest way, simply copy. Probably your english is better then mine, and you might fully understand every option, and play arround with it yourself. My main idea is to learn complete beginners how they can fully on their own make use of a world of free tunes and tablatures with the simple click of their mouse. No complicated bullshit, only once, when installing it and setting it up – but after that never again 😀 – it simply works!

Okay here we go: General


Fonts, Printing and Page Layout I dont think i’ve changed, so wont do those, neither multitrack…


Advanced: (this one is quite important, don’t fuck it up LoL)



Then we get to the Midi Options, I don’t know about you, but I dont really fancy robotic  beeping sounds. Thats why my favourite midi instrument for tunes is the Orchestral Harp – It sounds nice and acceptable, which is quite important if you have to listen a tune a couple of times in order to understand it’s feel.

Pick your instrument:

Score options for your instrument: Tin Whistle ofcourse, to be found under Score –> instrument etc.

In this image you can see what makes TablEdit so special, because it offers so many different scores for so various instruments, with complete adjustable tunings. All this for free, all you have to remember is to never save the transposed tunes (What doesnt matter, because you allready have them saved as ABC in your computer!).

I think I covered every aspect now, if not, simply ask!

I hope all these images and settings havent scared you off instead of motivated.

I just want to show that it doesnt have to cost anything, don’t need any musical knowledge, don’t even have to leave the house to start exploring the world of making traditional music. Traditional means none of it is copyrighted, no one will say you are stealing!

Let me know if it helped, I rather learn people to catch fish or something haha instead of feeding them. I dont know the exact saying – but you know what I mean 😛 – Nobody will probably ever read or use this – But – please just pretend you did, and leave a comment ;-).

I put alot of time in making this, eventho it’s fun to do – it adds to the fun if it actually gets seen.

And of course, spread the word, bring it to those that might just need to find it in order to get going :).

Don’t forget to throw out your own beacons, as we walk our paths, we leave tracks so the young ones can pick them up. When the tracks get walked more often the threads become thicker, and as they become thicker, they will be noticed easier, so more will walk them. Before you know it we are weaving the web, and everything becomes denser and we all will understand better how close related we really are. So we can remember, and can share the understanding of the wheel, the web, the threads that connect them. And how nice it is to feel that tinkle of a smile whenever we come across a beacon, and we recognize, feel the gentleness of kinship – Even if we are worlds apart.
I send you kind regards, wether u read this or not 🙂


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Interested in germanic heathenry, lore, original fairy- and folktales, shamanism and lots of other related worldly stuff. I walk and cycle alot in nature, read, play various instruments etc.

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