East Anglian Traditional Music Trust



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These resources are all produced by the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust.

The books are available to buy, along with many recordings, from our online shop.


Music resources


'Before the Night Was Out ...'


A tune book with a difference


'If I heard a good tune, I'd have it before the night was out!'


Through the twentieth century, music has been recorded from traditional musicians in Suffolk and Norfolk, and now many of the most important and unusual of these lively dance tunes are available in a printed collection.


Tune books from various regions in England have been published in recent years. To present something from East Anglia, a region renowned for its traditional music throughout the twentieth century, has proved something of a conundrum: how to portray in written form what is essentially an oral tradition? Before the Night Was Out aims to shed light on the way in which traditional music in Suffolk and Norfolk has thrived and mutated during the twentieth century, as well as providing a resource for practising musicians.


It is therefore a rather different kind of tune book…

  • Polkas, hornpipes, jigs, schottisches and waltzes, including comparative versions, transcribed from recordings of more than twenty different melodeon players, fiddlers and dulcimer players

  • Biographies, photographs and contextual information about the East Anglian musical tradition, plus a comprehensive discography

  • Fascinating details about the musical, social and geographical journeys these tunes have made through time

  • Guidance on how to interpret and play this music

A sample of the contents is available here. You can now order it from our online shop.

An article by Mike Yates about the provenance of the iconic East Anglian tune Oh, Joe, the Boat is Going Over, is also now hosted on our website.


Suffolk setlist


This set of instrumental medleys was produced for use as a community music resource in 2009. Together they make a good representation of traditional music from Suffolk, usually played on melodeon and dulcimer, with maybe a concertina or fiddle. Scores are available online and are free for community use although we'd love to know if you use them!


Suffolk setlist



200 year old tunes from Bury St Edmunds


Some years ago, we became aware of a small booklet called 'Twenty Four Dances for the Year 1812' which was printed and sold by J. Gray in Bury St Edmunds.


Other such collections were published from the middle of the eighteenth century, but most of the known comparable collections were published in London and occasionally other large centres of population. This one is rare in being printed in a provincial town, in showing the composers of individual items, and being of a late date: in 1812 the popularity of country dances was soon to wane as they were overshadowed by quadrilles and couple dances such as the waltz, polka and schottische.


To celebrate the bicentenary of the publication of this bok, we published transcriptions of the originals on our website, and they are free for community use.


200 year old tunes from Bury St Edmunds




Tracing the Tunes


This section of the website looks at the journeys some of our 'traditional' tunes have had across the centuries.


Tracing the Tunes



Song Resources
'Blyth Voices'

A 48-page A5 book containing 15 songs collected by the composer and folk-song collector Ralph Vaughan Williams in the Southwold area of Suffolk in 1910. You can order it from our online shop.


The book also includes original research, archive photographs and biographies of the singers William Hurr, Robert Hurr, Ben Hurr, Martha Cable and Charles Newby who sang to Vaughan Williams. As well as the fifteen songs listed below, one instrumental item is included, a Hornpipe played on the concertina by Robert Hurr.


Further information about Vaughan Williams' folk song collecting across East Anglia has recently been added: see the Ralph Vaughan Williams in the East webpages.


'North End Voices'


As part of the North End Voices project in King's Lynn in 2007, we put together an exhibition of photographs and information, including some original research into the singers, carried out specifically for the project. We have put this together in a spiral-bound booklet called North End Voices. The booklet covers composer Ralph Vaughan Williams' visit to King's Lynn in 1905, the singers he collected from, and the singing tradition amongst the fishing community in the town through to the 1950s and 60s. It does not include song texts or scores, although it does contain a full list of songs collected by Vaughan Williams and where they are published.


Please note this item is not available through our online shop, but must be purchased by post at the moment. It costs £4.00 including P&P: please send to EATMT, The Old Stables, Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1DL.


Further information about Vaughan Williams' folk song collecting across East Anglia has recently been added: see the Ralph Vaughan Williams in the East webpages.


There are many more song resources here, and link to resources. Browse the Behind the Songs section or look at the Portraits of Traditional Musicians section.


Dulcimer resources


In November 2015, we launched a whole new website devoted to the East Anglian dulcimer: www.eastangliandulcimers.org.uk This is work in progress, and we're constantly adding to it, so do look back regularly for further information on this fascinating instrument.


Two CDs of dulcimer music from East Anglia are available via our online shop: The Barford Angel and I Thought I was the Only One (released November 2015)


You may also be interested to read an excellent article from the Eastern Daily Press together with music clips of Billy Bennington and Billy Cooper.


We hope to be able to offer pairs of traditional cane beaters for sale again in 2016. For the time being, please email us at info@eatmt.fsnet.co.uk or ring 01449 771090 for further details.

During the early summer of 2007, we carried out some work on one or two old instruments we have for renovation. On stripping off the backing paper on one instrument we discovered a maker's name, and with a little research were able to identify him as James Caston, carpenter, of Forncett St. Peter, near Wymondham in Norfolk. We now know that this particular instrument dates from the first half of the nineteenth century, which makes it one of the earlier models in the distinctive East Anglian style. For further information on this dulcimer, see the section on Norfolk makers at www.eastangliandulcimers.org.uk


For further details of dulcimer events, please email us at info@eatmt.fsnet.co.uk



Stepdance resources


See the Stepdancing page for lots of links to video clips to some of the best East Anglian stepdancers.



Other resources


For recordings of traditional singers and musicians from all over the UK and Ireland, see the Veteran Mail Order website.


For song books including further songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, see the English Folk Dance and Song Society.


Also look at the Musical Traditions website which has Keith Summers' entire book, 'Sing, Say or Pay' about traditional music in East Suffolk, as well as other articles on East Anglian performers and traditions.


If you are thinking of carrying out your own research project, do get in touch with us.



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