Free Online Music Sources

Everyone loves a freebie, am I right? None of the lists below are in any particular order – click through and see what strikes your fancy. Have a link to share? Drop me a note at SofiaLeo2013 at gmail dot com.

Fiddle music is largely an aural tradition, the songs being played and passed on to others with no sheet music documentation. Below is a list of links to sound files in various formats for those who learn by ear all sorted by genre to make your search easier, ’cause I’m cool like that 🙂

Bloggers posting audio files and/or video:

New Tune a DayKatie Davis Henderson has set the goal of learning a new fiddle tune by ear every day for a year. A worthy project and she’s sharing the tunes with the ‘net so we can all play along.
Minnesota Fiddle – Michael Sawyer’s project to document the tunes and biographies of fiddlers from Minnesota.
New American School of String PlayingMark O’Connor‘s blog detailing the history of many American songs.
Fiddler’s Blog – David Grubb’s continuing fiddle journey.
Vi the Fiddler – Champion fiddler Vi Wickam’s fiddle tune a day blog with video.

Traditional American/English/Old-Time:
The Project – Charlie Waldon’s repertoire arranged into handy MP3 playlists
Fiddle Jammer – ongoing field recordings of jams all over the place in MP3 format
Fiddle Studio – Dots and MP3s in fast and slower tempos
Old Time Fiddle Tunes – dots, MIDI and field recordings collected by John Lamuncusa
Cornbread, molasses & sassafras tea – a fabulous blog with original recordings of interest to everyone!
Berea College Sound Archives – all the Appalachian music you could wish for
Jay Buckey’s Music Pages – sheet music, TAB and play-along MP3 files
David Brinkman’s Fiddle Tunes – original compositions with an old-timey feel. Sheet music and MP3 files
Roots of American Fiddle Music – Recordings of many, many traditional tunes
Fiddle-L Anthology – 88 tunes from 1999. Much more can be found at
Old Town School of Folk Music – MP3 format, many, many tunes
Slippery Hill – The Old-Time Fiddler’s Repertory by R.P. Christeson
Northumbria – songs and ballads – MP3 format
Theoretically Correct – Famous fiddle tunes by various artists
Old Time Tunes – Recordings of Old Time fiddle and banjo tunes from jams around Philadelphia, USA.


Jack Campin – incredibly rich site with tune history and a huge selection of tunes in various formats
Celtic Arts Center of Southern California – dots and MP3 files
Tunes at Ceolas – Huge resource in many formats
The Groton Session – Irish Traditional Music at various speeds and in various formats
The Roots Music Listening Room – MP3 files of Irish dance music from old vinyl recordings with many other categories listed here


The ToneWay Project

Backing Tracks are a fun addition to any solo practice session:

The Old-Time Jam – everything Old-Time!
Jam Studio – Interactive, create-your-own backing track site
Between the Licks – Rock, Blues, Funk
Free Jam Tracks – Aimed at guitar players, but lots of stuff for fiddlers including some theory pages
Jam Tracks – A little bit of everything, generic tracks by genre
eFiddler – Gypsy violin loops and more for a small fee for those who are recording their own arrangements
The Flatpick Apprentice
Sizemore’s Fiddle Music Backup Tracks

For those of us who prefer sheet music, or at least some type of notation, below is a list of sources sorted into their various formats –

Music in MIDI format:

The Old Gleaner – MIDI files of many Traditional tunes
Montreal Session Tunebook – Traditional with a Montreal focus. Dots and MIDI
The Contemplator – Folk music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and America in MIDI format with lyrics and history – fascinating information!
The Old Music Project – Traditional English, etc. sheet music, MIDI, and NWC formats
The Kitchen Musician – dots and MIDI Irish and Celtic
San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers – tunes of the month in scorch format plus lots of historical stuff
Wild Dismay Tunes – dots, ABC and MIDI Irish tunes
Wild Dismay Tunes – dots, ABC and MIDI
Northumbria – traditional tunes in MIDI among other formats

Music in TAB format for those of us who don’t read “dots” but still want something on paper.

Strum Hollow – Traditional tunes in TAB for several instruments
All Tabs Fiddle Tablature tunes for the TablEdit program which has a free viewer at the link to the left
ABC Notation Software: ABC notation is a text-based way of notating music. The resulting files are very small, making them easy to send via e-mail, and they are understood by many ABC programs. A list of some of the many ABC software programs can be found at abcnotation, The ABC Music Project and The Session.

ABC Notation sources:

abcnotation – well over 300,000 tunes in the ABC format from all over the world
Free Sheet Music ABC Links – a comprehensive list of sources for ABC music
Henrick Norbeck’s ABC Tunes – Irish and Swedish tunes
JC’s ABC Tune Finder – if it’s not here, it might not be anywhere!
The music of William Clarke – made available by Mary Humphreys who researches the music from East Anglia
The Session – all about the Irish tradition
Traditional Tune Archive – formerly known as The Fiddler’s Companion, ABC and dots
Cranford Publications – huge selection of Cape Breton tunes in ABC format

Classical music relies on written scores in order to be passed on and there are many, many sources on the web for material that is in the Public Domain. Below is a list of sources for scores by classical composers for violin:

Petrucci Music Library
Violin Sheet Music
Project Gutenberg
Werner Icking Music Archive
All Strings Scores
Mainly4Strings – there are many more scores available (with backing tracks!) for a small fee.
Free-Scores – sheet music and MIDI or mp3 files.
Every Note
Mutopia Project
The Violin Site
Music of Yesterday – composer biographies, historical music articles, public domain sheet music – lots of interesting information!

Irish/Celtic/Scottish Sheet Music:

County Champaign Irish Tune Collection – PDF format, collections of tunes
Irish Sheet Music
Scottish Fiddle Club of Oregon – huge collection of tunes
Online Traditional Tunes – huge selection of tunes by type
Cranford Publications – over 1000 songs in standard notation
Irish Traditional Tune Index – An index that identifies all distinct Irish tunes based on musical comparison of all tunes across 552 albums and 54 tune books.

Old-Time Sheet Music:

Indiana University -view and download sheet music
The Way of the Fiddler – a collection of old-time fiddle tunes, most of them from Appalachia
Prairie Mountain Fiddlers – a collection of tunes played by the Prairie Mountain Fiddlers in PDF and audio formats
The Bluegrass College Fakebook
Northumbrian Songs and Ballads – dots and lyrics

Things that don’t fit into any other category

The Last of the Mohicans – if you’ve seen the movie, you know that it’s filled with beautiful, haunting music, some of which can be found at the site linked above.
A Folk Song a Day – Jon Boden’s (of Bellowhead fame) project wherein he posts a traditional song online every day to promote the art of ‘social’ (or communal) singing.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Updates! | The Fiddle and Banjo Project
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 21:49:01

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