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Welcome to the Traditional Tune Archive
The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish traditional instrumental music with annotation, formerly known as
The Fiddler's Companion.

Featured Tunes

EXETER CHANGE. English, Country Dance Tune (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody also appears in London publisher Thomas Skillern's Skillern's Compleat Collection of Two Hundred & Four Reels (1780).

The Exeter Exchange [1], or Exeter Change as it was called, was a building in the north side of the Strand in London. From 1773 it was the home to a menagerie housed on the upper floors, in competition with the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London. Mr. Pidcock was the manager.

The Exeter 'Change from London in the Nineteenth Century by Thomas H Shepherd (1829)

An advertisement printed in Ackermann's Repository (1814) reads:

Royal Menagrie, Exeter ‘Change

The numerous parties of distinction that daily visit the Royal Menagerie, Exeter ‘Change, is a well-merited reward to its celebrated Proprietor, for his spirited and indefatigable exertions, in procuring, for the inspection of the public, those remarkable and rare living objects of the first celebrity in natural history, which no other capital in Europe can boast of.

The formidable Rhinoceros, which is grown so prodigiously since his arrival in 1810, as to be considered one of the largest ever seen, even in India, is so extremely rare, that many gentlemen have taken long and extensive excursions in its native country, without ever having an opportunity to see that animal; and his history, in many respects, is but very imperfectly known. Where it inhabits it is a dread to the human race, as well as to all beasts of the forest, being in strength inferior to none, and so protected, by nature, with his coat of mail, as to be capable of resisting the attacks of any other animal, and even the force of a musket-ball: but, what is more wonderful, in the adjoining den, in the same apartment, there is a fine large Male Elephant (indisputably one of the finest specimens of its species ever brought from India, and adorned with long ivory tusks); those, the two most formidable enemies in nature, are so closely united, and so reconciled, as to suffer to take their food from each other.


The other apartments contain the Tapir, or Hippopotamus of the New World, that elegant quadruped, the Quagga, or Wild Horse of Ethiopia, the beautiful Nilghaw, from the interior of India, and the grand assemblage of Lions, Royal Tiger, Panther, Leopards, Ounce, Cervat, Hyaena, Ursine Sloth, Arabian Camel, Antelopes, Southern Ostrich, Grand Cassowary, the Royal Crown Bird, Vultures, and hundreds of other rare and interesting quadrupeds, and birds of the most exquisite plumage, all in fine health and condition, and so perfectly clean and secured, that the most timorous and delicate may approach them without fear or being annoyed. So desirable an exhibition is justly considered a great acquisition to the metropolis, and cannot fail of giving universal satisfaction. [quoted in Rachel Knowles' Regency History blog [2] ].

After the death of the star attraction, the elephant Chunee (who, maddened by an infected tusk due to poor care, had run amok, killing one of his keepers), the attraction waned in popularity and was closed at that location. The building was demolished in 1829.

T:Exeter Change
R:Country Dance Tune
B:Straight and Skillern – Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (c. 1775, No. 19, p. 10)
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
d2|BABc B2A2|GFGA G2d2|edef g2 fe|dcBc d2d2|
BABc B2A2|G6 g2|fagf edef|d3e d2:|
|:d2|AGAB c2 BA|BABc B2d2|efga g2 fe|dcde d2d2|
BABc B2A2|GFGA G2c2|Bdfg AGAB|G3A G2:|]

(EXETER CHANGE full annotations and Past Featured Tunes)

Why there is a need for the Traditional Tune Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.

This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.

Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.

Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni

Getting started


Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditiona Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the bottom of the SideBar on the left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Index” on the SideBar on the left is “All Tunes”. Click on “All Tunes” to open up the list of tune titles in the TTA arranged in alphabetical order, 200 titles to a page. At the top of the page is an alphabetical breakdown that serves as a shortcut to pages. Clicking on any title will bring one to the music and tune fields. Once the tune appears, clicking “Tune Discussion” at the bottom of the page (below the notation) will open up the narrative information on the tune.
  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Index” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Drill Down. Cumulative information about TTA entries can be found in the “Drill Down” under “The Index” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Issues” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.

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