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The Full English collections

Roud indexes

Bibliographies

Street lit indexes

Dance and tune books

Sharp diaries

Custom and dance indexes

You can search in other collections by selecting them from the pop up box that appears when you type in search terms. If you want finer grained control over your search, please use the advanced search.

Cross searching the collections

Search specific resources here.

Below is a brief description of each of the resources for collections to help you decide which would help you best in your research.

The Full English

The Full English resource comprises digitised images and descriptions of the personal papers including correspondence and notebooks of nineteen of the most prolific folk song collectors in the UK.

These collections contain lots of songs, with words and notated tunes, as well as a lot of ephemera with relevance to folk arts and performance. They also give a picture of the lives and connections of people, places and activity. In almost all cases the records in the Full English collections have linked digitised images.

The Roud indexes

The Roud indexes are a folk song research tool. They focus predominantly on songs (as opposed to tunes) and use 'Roud numbers' which are generally accepted as the authoritative way of identifying and categorising folk songs. The aim of the indexes is to enable the research of all English language songs in the folk tradition. An index record may be linked to a digitised image of a source, it may be a reference to a record, a published book or resources held in libraries and archives. Increasingly the records have links to resources on the web that you can view, but some are not yet linked. The Roud indexes are more likely to be a starting point in researching a song, rather than an end point.

The Street Literature indexes

The Street Literature indexes cover broadsides and other historical publications which published songs and tunes, as well as their printers and publishers. Street literature is essential for understanding the development of traditional songs in a historical context. Like the Roud indexes, these indexes include resources which are not yet online but which are available to be viewed in the Library at Cecil Sharp House in London.

Bibliographies

The bibliographies underpin the the Roud indexes, listing the records, books and other publications referred to in the indexes.

Dance and Tune indexes

These two indexes are quick reference finding aids to material held in VWML. They cover mummers' plays, dances and tune notations and can point you to an appropriate resource, whether this be a book, article or recording.

Basic search help

The buttons next to the search box allow you to choose whether you want to see the search results as a list of records or to see the results plotted on a map. For more control over your search click on 'Advanced search'.

More info...

Help

General

Can I truncate words in my searches?
Can I search for several criteria at the same time (eg a particular song from a particular place, with a tune provided)?
I am interested in finding our more about the research/collection side of traditional song.
I am interested in finding out more about folklore in general.

 

The Full English

How do I simply look through a collection to see what’s there?
Can I browse through more than one collection at the same time?
Is the Full English project closed, or will more material be added?

 

The Full English and Roud Indexes

What is the difference between The Full English database and the Roud Indexes?
How do I find all the versions of a particular song?
Do I have to know the full title of a song to find it?
Can I search for a particular type of song (eg a Sea shanty)?
Are children's games and rhymes included?
I only want items for which the tune is available.
I only want items collected in a particular place.
Is there a way of searching for songs about a particular subject?
I am only interested in broadsides. Can I isolate these in my search?
I have found a broadside. Can I get help to date it?
I am interested in broadsides and street literature. How can I find out more?

 

Roud Indexes

I only want to find sound recordings.
What is the difference between the Roud Folk Song Index and the Roud Broadside Index?
Are the Roud Indexes complete?
I would like to be kept informed of new versions, changes and developments in the Roud Indexes.

 

The Full English and Mummers Index

I am interested in Mummers’ Plays. Is there any material for me here?

 

The Full English and Dance/Tune Index

I am only interested in dance material. How can I limit my search to this subject?

 

General

Can I truncate words in my searches?
Yes, by using the asterisk (*). For example, by typing in ‘Farm*’, you will find ‘farm’, ‘farms’, ‘farming’, ‘farmer’, ‘farmhouse’, and so on.

Can I search for several criteria at the same time (eg a particular song from a particular place, with a tune provided)?
Yes. In the Advanced Search, type relevant words into the search boxes and choose the relevant fields to go with them. If you put more than one word into a field, you can choose whether to search for 'all' or 'some' of them.

'All' is more precise and retrieves fewer hits. 'Some' is less precise and therefore retrieves a larger number of hits.

I am interested in finding our more about the research/collection side of traditional song.
Suggested avenues: Visit the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML); become a member of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and receive the journal and magazine; join the Traditional Song Forum; join the Tradsong discussion list; see the online magazine Musical Traditions; listen to field recordings on the Traditional Music in England section of the British Library's website.

I am interested in finding out more about folklore in general.
Suggested avenues: join The Folklore Society, and receive their journal and newsletter; visit the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML).

 

The Full English

How do I simply look through a collection to see what’s there?
Choose the Browse facility; click on the collection you want to browse through. This will bring up a hierarchical list of the main sections (or series) in the collection. Click on the arrow symbol on the left to open up the list and the see individual items (sometimes you will get another list (file level), which you need to open to get to the individual items)

Can I browse through more than one collection at the same time?
No, you can only do one at a time.

Is The Full English project closed, or will more material be added?
The project is deliberately designed to be extended, and other collections will be added as time and funds permit. Keep your eye on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) website for further announcements.

 

The Full English and Roud Indexes

What is the difference between The Full English database and the Roud Indexes?
The Full English is a catalogue of selected manuscript and broadside collections, and gives a digital image of the relevant item in the collection. The Roud Indexes (Folk Song Index and Broadside Index) cover a much wider range of materials (including books and sound recordings) but simply tell the enquirer where the item can be found. However, if the item is available online (eg on The British Library’s Sound Archive site or the Bodleian Broadside Ballads site), a live clickable link will take the user straight to the required item.

Another difference is that The Full English includes songs, dances, tunes, customs, correspondence, and other materials found in the collections. The Roud Indexes only include songs. A further difference is size: The Full English has about 50,000 entries, the Roud Folk Song Index has over 205,000, the Broadside Index over 197,000.

How do I find all the versions of a particular song?
First you have to find one version. In the Advanced Search use the TITLE and FIRST LINE fields to search for the song you want. Having found a version of the right song, note the number in the ROUD NUMBER field which designates that particular song. Either click on that number to initiate a Roud Number search, or use it in the Advanced Search in the ROUD NUMBER field plus whatever other search criteria you wish to add (eg 'england' in the PLACE field).

Do I have to know the full title of a song to find it?
No. In the Advanced Search you can search for particular words or phrases in the TITLE and FIRST LINE fields. In the Roud Indexes, a search for keywords in the SUBJECTS field may also be useful.

Remember that many words can be spelled different ways – Bonny/Bonnie, Gipsy/Gypsy, Old/Auld/Ould/Ole, and so on.

Can I search for a particular type of song (eg a Sea shanty)?
No, not at present. There is no accepted classification of songs by type, although there are some roundabout ways of finding some (but not all) relevant material. For example, in the Roud Folk Song Index, a search for 'Shant*' in the SOURCE field will find book and record titles with the words 'shanty' or 'shanties' in them (but remember that in times past they were called 'chanteys' or 'chanties'). Similarly, a search for 'child*' or 'game*' will find many children's games and rhymes.

Are children's games and rhymes included?
Yes. Many of the collectors included in The Full English collected children's rhymes and games, and 'Children's game' is entered into the TYPE field when appropriate.

In the Roud Folk Song Index, children's games which include a sung or rhymed element are treated as folk songs, and are assigned a Roud Number in the normal way, but they are not distinguished in any other way (see also above).

I only want items for which the tune is available.
In the Advanced Search, type in your search terms (eg the song title or the placename) and type ‘music’ in the SOURCE CONTENTS field.

I only want items collected in a particular place.
In the Advanced Search, type in your search terms (eg the song title) and type your required placename in the PLACE field. You can search for a country (eg ‘England’), a county or state (eg Hampshire or Kentucky), or a town/village (eg Andover). You don’t have to type in the whole thing (eg 'England : Hampshire : Andover'), and don’t abbreviate (ie don’t type in ‘Hants’).

Is there a way of searching for songs about a particular subject?
No, not yet. There is no usable subject index to songs, but there will be one eventually. But you can find some subjects by judicious use of keywords. For songs about agriculture, for example, a search for ‘farm*’ in the TITLE or FIRST LINE field will bring up many relevant hits. Similarly ‘Sail*’ for songs about the sea.

G.M. Laws’ book American Balladry from British Broadsides (1957), which can be consulted in the Library, assigns many songs to broad categories, which are reflected in his numbering system. Thus ‘war ballads’ are assigned numbers beginning with ‘J’. If you know the Laws prefix, you can search on the LAWS field (eg type in ‘J*' to find numbers beginning with ‘J’).

I am only interested in broadsides. Can I isolate these in my search?
Yes, in the Advanced Search type ‘broadside’ into the FORMAT field.

I have found a broadside. Can I get help to date it?
The best way to date a broadside is to note the printer’s name and address. Search for that name in the Street Literature Printers Register. Or, if you have found the item in the Roud Broadside Index, click on the PR number in the PRINTERID field, which will take you straight to the Printers’ Index.

I am interested in broadsides and street literature. How can I find out more?
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) site includes a number of useful street literature items: The Full English has over 3,000 broadsides, many of which are housed in the Library; the Roud Broadside Index includes details of nearly 200,000 broadside songs, and there is a Street Literature Bibliography and Street Literature Printers' Register. You can also go to the Bodleian Broadside Ballad and the English Broadside Ballad Archive sites; you may also like to subscribe to the street literature discussion list 'Pedlars_Pack'; or contact the Library.

 

Roud Indexes

I only want to find sound recordings.
In the Advanced Search, choose Roud Folk Song Index, type in your search terms (eg the song title or the placename) and type ‘audio’ in the SOURCE CONTENTS field or type ‘sound’ in the TYPE field.

What is the difference between the Roud Folk Song Index and the Roud Broadside Index?
See Roud Indexes Introduction page.

Are the Roud Indexes complete?
No. There are numerous sources, large and small, not yet included, but additions are being made all the time, so new versions of the indexes are issued at least four times a year.

I would like to be kept informed of new versions, changes and developments in the Roud Indexes.
Subscribe to the RoudIndexes discussion list.

 

The Full English and Mummers Index

I am interested in Mummers’ Plays. Is there any material for me here?
The Full English includes the T. Fairman Ordish collection, one of the major English collections, but other collectors (eg Clive Carey and Alfred Williams) also collected plays. In the Advanced Search, put ‘Mummers’ in the SUBTYPE field to find them all. The Mummers Index database is a simple finding aid which helps the user locate plays in the Library’s extensive collection of books and periodicals.

 

The Full English and Dance/Tune Index

I am only interested in dance material. How can I limit my search to this subject?
The two relevant databases for dance material are The Full English and the Dance/Tune Index. In the Advanced Search, select The Full English database and type 'dance' into the TYPE field. Alternatively, select the Dance/Tune Index (under 'Performance Indexes), and enter your other search details (eg title keyword, etc). You can search for a type of dance (eg 'Morris' or 'Clog') in The Full English SUBTYPE field or the Dance/Tune Index DANCE SUBTYPE field. This latter index is under construction, so this field may not yet include all the right data. See also the gallery of Early Dance Manuals.

More info...

Help

General

Can I truncate words in my searches?
Can I search for several criteria at the same time (eg a particular song from a particular place, with a tune provided)?
I am interested in finding our more about the research/collection side of traditional song.
I am interested in finding out more about folklore in general.

 

The Full English

How do I simply look through a collection to see what’s there?
Can I browse through more than one collection at the same time?
Is the Full English project closed, or will more material be added?

 

The Full English and Roud Indexes

What is the difference between The Full English database and the Roud Indexes?
How do I find all the versions of a particular song?
Do I have to know the full title of a song to find it?
Can I search for a particular type of song (eg a Sea shanty)?
Are children's games and rhymes included?
I only want items for which the tune is available.
I only want items collected in a particular place.
Is there a way of searching for songs about a particular subject?
I am only interested in broadsides. Can I isolate these in my search?
I have found a broadside. Can I get help to date it?
I am interested in broadsides and street literature. How can I find out more?

 

Roud Indexes

I only want to find sound recordings.
What is the difference between the Roud Folk Song Index and the Roud Broadside Index?
Are the Roud Indexes complete?
I would like to be kept informed of new versions, changes and developments in the Roud Indexes.

 

The Full English and Mummers Index

I am interested in Mummers’ Plays. Is there any material for me here?

 

The Full English and Dance/Tune Index

I am only interested in dance material. How can I limit my search to this subject?

 

General

Can I truncate words in my searches?
Yes, by using the asterisk (*). For example, by typing in ‘Farm*’, you will find ‘farm’, ‘farms’, ‘farming’, ‘farmer’, ‘farmhouse’, and so on.

Can I search for several criteria at the same time (eg a particular song from a particular place, with a tune provided)?
Yes. In the Advanced Search, type relevant words into the search boxes and choose the relevant fields to go with them. If you put more than one word into a field, you can choose whether to search for 'all' or 'some' of them.

'All' is more precise and retrieves fewer hits. 'Some' is less precise and therefore retrieves a larger number of hits.

I am interested in finding our more about the research/collection side of traditional song.
Suggested avenues: Visit the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML); become a member of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and receive the journal and magazine; join the Traditional Song Forum; join the Tradsong discussion list; see the online magazine Musical Traditions; listen to field recordings on the Traditional Music in England section of the British Library's website.

I am interested in finding out more about folklore in general.
Suggested avenues: join The Folklore Society, and receive their journal and newsletter; visit the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML).

 

The Full English

How do I simply look through a collection to see what’s there?
Choose the Browse facility; click on the collection you want to browse through. This will bring up a hierarchical list of the main sections (or series) in the collection. Click on the arrow symbol on the left to open up the list and the see individual items (sometimes you will get another list (file level), which you need to open to get to the individual items)

Can I browse through more than one collection at the same time?
No, you can only do one at a time.

Is The Full English project closed, or will more material be added?
The project is deliberately designed to be extended, and other collections will be added as time and funds permit. Keep your eye on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) website for further announcements.

 

The Full English and Roud Indexes

What is the difference between The Full English database and the Roud Indexes?
The Full English is a catalogue of selected manuscript and broadside collections, and gives a digital image of the relevant item in the collection. The Roud Indexes (Folk Song Index and Broadside Index) cover a much wider range of materials (including books and sound recordings) but simply tell the enquirer where the item can be found. However, if the item is available online (eg on The British Library’s Sound Archive site or the Bodleian Broadside Ballads site), a live clickable link will take the user straight to the required item.

Another difference is that The Full English includes songs, dances, tunes, customs, correspondence, and other materials found in the collections. The Roud Indexes only include songs. A further difference is size: The Full English has about 50,000 entries, the Roud Folk Song Index has over 205,000, the Broadside Index over 197,000.

How do I find all the versions of a particular song?
First you have to find one version. In the Advanced Search use the TITLE and FIRST LINE fields to search for the song you want. Having found a version of the right song, note the number in the ROUD NUMBER field which designates that particular song. Either click on that number to initiate a Roud Number search, or use it in the Advanced Search in the ROUD NUMBER field plus whatever other search criteria you wish to add (eg 'england' in the PLACE field).

Do I have to know the full title of a song to find it?
No. In the Advanced Search you can search for particular words or phrases in the TITLE and FIRST LINE fields. In the Roud Indexes, a search for keywords in the SUBJECTS field may also be useful.

Remember that many words can be spelled different ways – Bonny/Bonnie, Gipsy/Gypsy, Old/Auld/Ould/Ole, and so on.

Can I search for a particular type of song (eg a Sea shanty)?
No, not at present. There is no accepted classification of songs by type, although there are some roundabout ways of finding some (but not all) relevant material. For example, in the Roud Folk Song Index, a search for 'Shant*' in the SOURCE field will find book and record titles with the words 'shanty' or 'shanties' in them (but remember that in times past they were called 'chanteys' or 'chanties'). Similarly, a search for 'child*' or 'game*' will find many children's games and rhymes.

Are children's games and rhymes included?
Yes. Many of the collectors included in The Full English collected children's rhymes and games, and 'Children's game' is entered into the TYPE field when appropriate.

In the Roud Folk Song Index, children's games which include a sung or rhymed element are treated as folk songs, and are assigned a Roud Number in the normal way, but they are not distinguished in any other way (see also above).

I only want items for which the tune is available.
In the Advanced Search, type in your search terms (eg the song title or the placename) and type ‘music’ in the SOURCE CONTENTS field.

I only want items collected in a particular place.
In the Advanced Search, type in your search terms (eg the song title) and type your required placename in the PLACE field. You can search for a country (eg ‘England’), a county or state (eg Hampshire or Kentucky), or a town/village (eg Andover). You don’t have to type in the whole thing (eg 'England : Hampshire : Andover'), and don’t abbreviate (ie don’t type in ‘Hants’).

Is there a way of searching for songs about a particular subject?
No, not yet. There is no usable subject index to songs, but there will be one eventually. But you can find some subjects by judicious use of keywords. For songs about agriculture, for example, a search for ‘farm*’ in the TITLE or FIRST LINE field will bring up many relevant hits. Similarly ‘Sail*’ for songs about the sea.

G.M. Laws’ book American Balladry from British Broadsides (1957), which can be consulted in the Library, assigns many songs to broad categories, which are reflected in his numbering system. Thus ‘war ballads’ are assigned numbers beginning with ‘J’. If you know the Laws prefix, you can search on the LAWS field (eg type in ‘J*' to find numbers beginning with ‘J’).

I am only interested in broadsides. Can I isolate these in my search?
Yes, in the Advanced Search type ‘broadside’ into the FORMAT field.

I have found a broadside. Can I get help to date it?
The best way to date a broadside is to note the printer’s name and address. Search for that name in the Street Literature Printers Register. Or, if you have found the item in the Roud Broadside Index, click on the PR number in the PRINTERID field, which will take you straight to the Printers’ Index.

I am interested in broadsides and street literature. How can I find out more?
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) site includes a number of useful street literature items: The Full English has over 3,000 broadsides, many of which are housed in the Library; the Roud Broadside Index includes details of nearly 200,000 broadside songs, and there is a Street Literature Bibliography and Street Literature Printers' Register. You can also go to the Bodleian Broadside Ballad and the English Broadside Ballad Archive sites; you may also like to subscribe to the street literature discussion list 'Pedlars_Pack'; or contact the Library.

 

Roud Indexes

I only want to find sound recordings.
In the Advanced Search, choose Roud Folk Song Index, type in your search terms (eg the song title or the placename) and type ‘audio’ in the SOURCE CONTENTS field or type ‘sound’ in the TYPE field.

What is the difference between the Roud Folk Song Index and the Roud Broadside Index?
See Roud Indexes Introduction page.

Are the Roud Indexes complete?
No. There are numerous sources, large and small, not yet included, but additions are being made all the time, so new versions of the indexes are issued at least four times a year.

I would like to be kept informed of new versions, changes and developments in the Roud Indexes.
Subscribe to the RoudIndexes discussion list.

 

The Full English and Mummers Index

I am interested in Mummers’ Plays. Is there any material for me here?
The Full English includes the T. Fairman Ordish collection, one of the major English collections, but other collectors (eg Clive Carey and Alfred Williams) also collected plays. In the Advanced Search, put ‘Mummers’ in the SUBTYPE field to find them all. The Mummers Index database is a simple finding aid which helps the user locate plays in the Library’s extensive collection of books and periodicals.

 

The Full English and Dance/Tune Index

I am only interested in dance material. How can I limit my search to this subject?
The two relevant databases for dance material are The Full English and the Dance/Tune Index. In the Advanced Search, select The Full English database and type 'dance' into the TYPE field. Alternatively, select the Dance/Tune Index (under 'Performance Indexes), and enter your other search details (eg title keyword, etc). You can search for a type of dance (eg 'Morris' or 'Clog') in The Full English SUBTYPE field or the Dance/Tune Index DANCE SUBTYPE field. This latter index is under construction, so this field may not yet include all the right data. See also the gallery of Early Dance Manuals.

More info...