The world’s first crowdsourced online English Tunebook!

Three musicians at Oxford Folk Festival in a pub in 2013. Two musicians playing the accordeon and KE Fellow Alice Little (at bottom right) playing the violine.

Photo credit: David White

Become part of the world's first crowdsourced online English Tunebook!

In the past, many collectors of what we would today call ‘folk tunes’ organised their tunes by nationality: Scottish tunes, English tunes, Irish tunes, Welsh tunes, and so on. EFDSS’s Knowledge Exchange partner from Oxford University, Dr Alice Little, has been studying the eighteenth-century English tunebooks in the VWML collection, and during March 2021 she invites you to contribute to an online tunebook for the present day.


What makes a tune English? You tell us!

To take part, simply upload a video of yourself playing a tune to social media, and tag it #EnglishTunebook. If you want to, you can say in the caption or in your video why this tune is ‘English’. Is it because you learnt it in England, or from and English person, or because it was recorded in a historic manuscript written in England? Is it because it sounds English, or looks English, or is played on English instruments? There are no wrong answers.


Alternatively, you could play a tune that everyone thinks is English but isn’t.

Explain why (either as part of the video or in the caption). Or, indeed, play a tune that you think isn’t English (why?) but play it in an English style. We welcome contributions from all over the world – don’t forget to mention where you’re from!


Tag it!

Don’t forget to tag your post #EnglishTunebook, and you can also tag Alice @littleamiss on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or TikTok – or send her a link to your post via

She will publish her favourites at the end of March on her Knowledge Exchange Fellowship page Mapping English 'National Music' of the Eighteenth Century – where you will also find links to a new podcast series about folk tunes and Englishness, and further information about Alice’s research.


Back to Alice Little's Knowledge Exchange Project pages: Mapping English 'National Music' of the Eighteenth Century or English Tunebooks of the Eighteenth Century