Fiddle Tunes — About the Tunes

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Fiddle Tunes of New England, Canada, Sweden and Related Traditions

This section presents sheet music for a variety of fiddle tunes in a couple different formats, primarily abc and  PDF; abc format is discussed elsewhere in its own section.

On This Page. In general I am presenting a selection of traditional and some more contemporary tunes from New England, Canada, Sweden and related traditions. This page includes some introductory material about the way the tunes are presented, and then a table of contents including notes on the tunes, and quick links to each page of tunes.

How The Tunes Are Presented

The tunes are presented in a few different forms. (1) The basic form is abc notation, a method of writing out tunes in text form so they can be read by an abc reader program, converted to standard notation, printed, and played on your computer as music you can listen to. (2) I also present the tunes as PDF files you can download and print. In the abc Links page I have a number of links to information about abc readers that you can use to interpret and play the tunes yourself, and about vast amounts of additional music available on the internet in abc format. (3) Eventually I may offer the tunes as MIDI files as well, which you can play on your computer. If not, I tell you on the links page how you can convert them yourself.

The Tunes: Quick Links

I've included a variety of tunes here from many sources. I've also indicate which ones are played at the Wednesday night jam session and by the Lamprey River Band with any degree of frequency. I've included background information as well. (Note that some tunes may have been played by one or the other group in the past but no longer be.)

To get to the tunes quickly, here are links to all the tune pages; the first ones are in abc format:

Reels | Jigs | Square Dance Tunes | Marches | Polkas |

Canadian Two-Steps | Waltzes | Scandinavian Tunes | Other Tunes

All Tunes, PDF | abc Help File | abc Information/Links

The Tunes: Table of Contents

Here’s some information I’ve compiled about the tunes on the web site. Some is just based on knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years, some is from record/CD jackets, tune books web sites, etc. If you see any inaccuracies or know anything I’ve left out that you think would be worth including here, please feel free to get in touch at <peter . yarensky at unh dot edu> (you should be able to put that together).

Key to Symbols Used:

(W) = Wednesday night tune
(L) = Lamprey River Band tune

Note: Only the Green Words  are links. Black Words are just names of tunes.

The Tune List


Reel Boule de Neige (W) -- This tune is from the repertoire of the French Canadian fiddler Joseph Allard who recorded it in 1932. It was introduced to many of us who play at the Wednesday night jam session several years ago by Steve Muise who put it on the Maine Fiddle Camp CD in 2003.

Caribou Reel -- Written by Manitoba fiddler Andy de Jarlis. I include three versions: one as originally written; one as he played it on Favorite Old Time Fiddle Tunes, and one as played by Marcel Meilleur on the record Memories with Andy DeJarlis. Given that his playing of tunes evolved over time and Marcel was trying to recreate Andy’s band in this recording, I wonder if this reflects how Andy De Jarlis played it later on. Note that Marcel’s version has many notes sharped at least a quarter tone; quite a few all the way from C to C# and G to G#. Note that neither played the D# at the end of the B-part that would otherwise be a distinctive feature of the tune.

Reel de Chateauguay -- Another tune from the repertoire of Joseph Allard, recorded by him in 1929. Joseph Allard was born in Chateauguay, Quebec on July 1, 1873.

Fireman’s Reel (W) -- This one we learned from April Limber. It’s generally used for Lady Walpole’s Reel, the first dance of the evening; as the old-time fiddlers generally didn’t play the difficult Bb tune of the same name.

Reel Jean Luc Paradis -- Written by button accordion player Réjean Lizotte.

Logger’s Breakdown -- A great Bb Canadian reel.

Louis Cyr (W) -- A marvelous Québércois fiddle tune composed by Jean-Claude Mirandette; I learned it from Jean Marie Verret and Guy Bouchard at Northern Week at Ashokan.

Old French -- A classic Downeast Canadian fiddle tune, popular in New England, the Maritime provinces and in Ontario where it's known as the Rambler's Hornpipe.

Trumpet Reel -- Also known as the Trumpet Hornpipe and more commonly played in G. I learned it from George Wilson; I was curious about playing in Eb!

Whalen’s Breakdown -- A Can adian reel traced to Don Messer, it's one of the few tunes in the key of C.


Alph. Carriere’s Favorite Jig -- An excellent Canadian jig composed by Andy De Jarlis. The ornamentation and details are from his record Canadian Old Time Music. There are two versions here, one with the ornamentation transcribed as accurately as possible, and a more basic version with simpler ornamentation that’s close but easier to read and play. Alph. Carriere was Andy’s brother in law, married to his older sister Dolly. Thanks to Joe Mackintosh for that and other information about Andy De Jarlis, as well as for writing a wonderful book about him called Andy De Jarlis: The Life and Music of an Old-Time Fiddler, published by Great Plains Publications in Manitoba, also available more readily from Amazon.

Arnold Kennedy's Jig -- A jig in G from the Maine Fiddle Camp CD in 2007 that Carter taught in a class a few years earlier; it's a great jig in the Canadian tradition.

Murray River Jig (W) -- A jig in A written by Graham Townsend, apparently named for a Kings County, PEI town; see The Fiddler's Companion.

The Old Box Stove -- One of Ward Allen's tune, in F/Bb, transcribed from one of his records. Ward Allen wrote many first class tunes and this is certainly among them.

A Starry Night for a Ramble (W) -- From the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra’s Mistwold record.

Steamboat Quickstep (W) -- A popular jig in New England, the tune of choice for the triple minor contradance Sackett’s Harbor.

Gigue du Violoneux -- From, likely composed by Joseph Allard; although if you listen to this and then listen to A Stary Night for a Ramble, you might find them to be surprisingly similar.

Square Dance Tunes

Darling Nellie Gray (W) -- This used to be the last called dance of the evening at many New Hampshire dances; especially the dances of Ralph Page and Duke Miller in the Monadnock region of the state. According to Phil Johnson, in the Seacoast area My Little Girl was the last dance of the evening, and of course in Maine Lady of the Lake was often the last called dance of the evening. Generally a waltz would follow. I call it in D, and Marcel plays it in D usually; Dudley calls it in G.

Don't Dilly Dally -- George Hodgson used to call this one at the Contoocook square dance; it quickly became a favorite once he started calling it.

Snow Deer (W) -- A tune from the early 1900's when there was a craze for American Indian songs; it goes with Redwing, Silver Bells and other such tunes, and quickly entered the fiddling tradition. It's usually played in G, but Marcel plays it in D so that's how I learned it. It's popular throughout this country and Canada. It's even played by some of the French Canadian bands; one of the best versions I've ever heard was played by Enterloupe.


Neil Vincent Orzechowski's Welcome to Earth (L) -- One of Bob McQuillen's great marches, and with a title like that I don't need to say much more.

Marche de Queteux Pomerleau -- I learned this tune from Lisa Ornstein originally although I've since heard it played by many other Québecois fiddlers. Thomas Pomerleau was a poor fiddler who lived in a shack in rural Quebec. This is one of two tunes that I know of associated with (and presumably written by) him. There's an interesting story associated with him having to do with the attitudes of the church toward fiddling and dancing, which weren't always favorable. At one point when the attitude was particularly unfavorable in his rural community his priest told him he had to stop fiddling, since fiddling inspires dancing which inspires activities that the church doesn't approve of. Furthermore, this being January in Quebec, the priest told him he had to do something drastic: namely, he had to put his fiddle in his wood stove. M. Pomerleau being a religious man wasn't about to disobey the priest, but he disagreed about fiddling being an evil activity and certainly didn't want to burn his fiddle. So he thought about it for some time, and eventually he obeyed the priest; and told the priest that he had in fact put the fiddle in the wood stove and left it in overnight. However, before doing so, he had allowed the stove to go out completely for three days, which must have made for rather uncomfortable living conditions! So the next day he was able to remove his fiddle, dust it off, and resume fiddling. The priest never said another word to him!

Sarah's Slightly Different March (L) -- Sarah Hydorn brought this in to band practice one night. We had fun with it, and we all agreed it was slightly different, but we still haven't figured out: slightly different from what? It works particularly well with the chords that are given.


Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow (W) -- A great Am polka from Old Grey Goose. I've heard it's sometimes played as an air or some other slow type of tune, but I can't imagine: I've always known it as a rousing polka.

Red River Cart (W) -- One of many great tunes written by Andy De Jarlis. If you look up "Red River Cart" on the internet there's a lot of information about what the tune refers to available. The Red River is the one in Manitoba, of course.

Canadian Two-Steps

Country Serenade (W) -- A great Canadian two-step from the playing of Patti Kusturok, now Patti Lamoureux, on her Y2Kusturok CD (the name explained by its being recorded right around the end of the last millennium). The first version is a fairly basic version; the second is an attempt to notate most of the ornamentation on her recording. To get a better feel for her excellent playing, it's worth buying copies of her recordings.

Golden Boy (W) (as played in New Hampshire) -- Written by Manitoba fiddler Andy De Jarlis, this was a favorite of Elise Nichols who used to play for Boston-area dances. One night George Hodgson was looking for a tune for a square dance and she suggested this tune; it quickly became one of his favorites. We learned it because he used it at the West Hopkinton (now Contoocook) square dance, often for Rod's Right and Left. It's become a favorite at the Wednesday night jam session, and more recently at Maine Fiddle Camp; and seems to be spreading among other musicians in the area. This is the New Hampshire version as played by Lou Heath, from whom we learned the tune.

Manitoba’s Golden Boy -- This is the same tune as named and written by Andy De Jarlis in 1969. The Golden Boy, a 13.5-foot tall statue made in France, has sat on top of the Manitoba State Legislature Building since it was completed in 1920.

Happy Acres Two-Step (W) -- A favorite among New England French fiddlers, written by Cecil "Cec" McEachern who used to play for Don Messer. This version is transcribed from a recording of Marcel Robidas who played it frequently.

Sleeping Giant Two−Step (W) -- Another Canadian two-step by Andy DeJarlis, written in 1961. The Sleeping Giant is north of Thunder Bay, Ontario; it's a peninsula that has the appearance of a sleeping giant.

Waverly Two-Step (W) -- A two-step written by Graham Townsend that's been popular with many of the French Canadian fiddlers in New England (e.g. Marcel Robidas, Simon St. Pierre, etc.) This is based on Marcel's version as of one particular evening; he played it differently at different times. Atthough there is a B part, I've never heard a French fiddler from New England play it.

Waverly Variations -- These are variations of the basic tune from the playing of Marcel Robidas on one particular evening; he certainly has many others!


Florence Killen’s Waltz (W) -- As played by Lucien Mathieu, Maine fiddler who used to play with the Maine French Fiddlers and as Don Roy’s uncle taught Don to play. The “+” is a pluck.

French Club Waltz (W) -- From the playing of the Maine French Fiddlers, on the CD "In Memere's Kitchen".

Frisco Waltz (W) -- A waltz from the great Canadian fiddler Ward Allen who also wrote Maple Sugar; composed in 1956.

Valse des Jouets (W) -- A great French Canadian waltz; the Waltz of the Toys, by Michel Faubert.

Little Pot of Shamrocks (W) -- I learned this one at the French Canadian jam session (Cinq à Sept) at Northern Week at Ashokan in 1998 when someone (unidentified) played it and I got it on tape. After several years of playing it for people who said something like "Oh, it must be ..." and then hearing them play a completely unrelated tune, I played it for Eric Favreau at Maine Fiddle Camp in August, 2006 and he told me it was a waltz from Valcartier, an Irish community in Quebec, and the home of the Corrigan family which has a repertoire of great tunes. Finally, in July 2010 I played it for Lisa Ornstein who was on staff at Ashokan for the first time in over 15 years, and she confirmed what Eric told me and gave its name.

Monahan's Waltz (W) -- Learned from Eric Favreau, it's from the Valcartier region of Quebec.

Valse de mon père (W) -- I first heard this played by Gabrielle Labbé at the Champlain Valley Festival in the 1980’s, before restrictive laws made it difficult for Canadian musicians to play in this country. A lot of people there were speaking French, and many of the best traditional musicians in Québec were to be found there.

My Home (W) -- I learned this from Jane McBride (now Orzechowski), who played it on the New England Contra Dance Music record (1977). The G# chord is kind of odd but I like it; that’s from the Sloanker & Parkes chord book.

Norwegian Waltz -- This is Marcel Robidas’ version of the Norwegian Waltz. His brother Lucien plays a slightly different version, and Emile Langevin who also played it at Marcel's would add an extra measure at the end of the B-part, which I've heard other people do as well.

Norwegian Waltz #2 (W) -- This is a tune that was commonly played by Canadian fiddlers, and probably by many fiddlers in this country in earlier days. Interestingly, I found a moderately similar tune on a Scandinavian recording called the "Amerika Vals", so it seems to suffer from identity problems! This is a reasonably standard version based on the playing of Graham Townsend (slightly simplified from what he played).

River John Sunset Waltz (W) -- Composed by Florence Killen, I learned this one from Don Roy and the Maine French Fiddlers, who knew it as the St. John River Waltz. Thanks to Jim OÕNeil from Nova Scotia for pointing out the correct name in a comment on the web site.

Sweet Journeys -- A waltz by George Wilson that found it's way to Cape Breton where Jerry Holland gave it his own interpretation. Burt brought it in to the Lamprey River Band from Jerry's record not realizing I might already know it, and I did some further editing. We both prefer Jerry's interpretation; and George once expressed great admiration for it as well in a conversation.

Village Carousel Waltz (W) --  Andy De Jarlis is known for writing great waltzes and this is one of them; it was composed in 1969. I learned it originally from Omer Marcoux, a fiddler from Concord, NH. Omer played this and several other of Andy’s waltzes. Andy De Jarlis was a Métis fiddler (French-Indian), and for a while was playing on Isidore Soucy’s Chez Isidore show. During that time he recorded a few records that were released with both English and French versions, and he became popular among New England French fiddlers as well. The first version is the tune as written; the second is the tune as played by Omer Marcoux.

Scandinavian Tunes

Schottis efter Andrea Hoag (W) -- A great Swedish schottis learned from Andrea at Ashokan.

Schottis from Spaelimenninir -- Learned from the band of the same name.

Mars nr. 51 eftir Svabo (W) -- From the Faroe Islands band Spaelimenninir, they got this tune from a manuscript from Jens Christian Svabo (1746-1824), an important figure in Faroese history known as a linguist and ethnographer as well as being a dance fiddler.

Smed-Jens Vals (The Blacksmith’s Waltz) (W) -- I have a recording of this by a contradance band under the name Blacksmith’s Waltz; the first version is more the way it’s usually played. I’m not sure about the attribution (Annar Ghelten, 1995) because while I can’t find it right now I’m pretty sure my American recording is older.

Other Tunes

The Four Jacks -- Don Messer has a rather different version in one of his tune books, but I learned this from the great Nova Scotian fiddler Lee Cremo.

The Four Jacks #2 (with ornamentation, etc.) -- This is my attempt to notate how Lee Cremo played the tune with some of the ornamentation he used in his version.

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