What is the Book of Song?

The Book of Song was created for the friends (and bards) of Tuatha de Bhriain of the Bog and for the Irish folk band Bardic Circle from the County Suffolk.

The intent of the book was to serve as a reference for the bards of Bardic Circle and friends and to replace the many loose sheets in three ring binders we ended up lugging around to sessions and events. In them you could find English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh folk tunes alongside folky re-workings of classic rock and metal tunes, sheet music for some less common songs (as well as many originals), or at the least, guitar chords.

There have been two released volumes to date, each with their own unique set of tunes reflecting the music we were playing at the time. To more easily get everyone "on the same page" each book was formatted for on-demand printing. These are no longer available.

The goal of this website is to provide all of that material and more, online with corrections, additions, and errata. Sheet music is created on the fly from abc notation using the awesome abcjs library by Paul Rosen and Gregory Dyke. Working on the sheet music was made so much easier by Clive William's ABC editor and player and Jens Wollschläger's ABC-Transposer. These tools made it easy to take existing abc notation and modify it to match what we play and I encourage you to copy the abc code available below the player and try it out yourself!

Book of Song Vol. I


The Book of Song Vol. I is a lyrics and music reference for the bards of Bardic Circle. The 2009 edition is 8.5″ x 11″ paperback 207 pages. This is the version with the classic tunes from the Mainlia era, the early Comyns years, and Momus’ hits.

While certainly usable, this version contains many errors.

Book of Song Vol. II 2nd Edition


The Book of Song, Vol I (2009) and Vol II (2012) each contain an entirely different set of songs. This all new Book of Song Vol II, 2nd edition (2015) is 8.5" x 11" spiral bound 197 pages and includes all of the songs originally published in Vol II, 1st edition (2012) but includes corrections and notations made during practices and performances since that time and has been expanded to include 48 new tunes learned and performed since then.

Sheet music has been added to many of the less common tunes (and originals), and there are some handy reference sheets for chords in DADGAD and on mandolin. Many new illustrations add color. While Vol I contains primarily Irish folk tunes, this work is slightly more eclectic. While you'll certainly find more Irish, Scottish, and Welsh folk tunes, there are some classic rock songs and folky re-workings of metal tunes that Bardic Circle regularly performs, as well.

Book of Song Vol. III


The Book of Song, Vol III (2024?) to date is about half songs and half traditional tunes. The goal of the trad tune section being to lay out the sheet music for a bunch of sets that Comyn, Angus, and Halfdan could do at events. Ideas for sets are coordinated on Google spreadsheet.

More effort has been put into providing written sheet music for the songs as well.