This collection, often referred to simple as "NEFR", contain 168 tunes that should be known by anyone playing for New England contra dancing, or any other related dancing. It was published in 1983, and has had several editions since then.
People who play this music will want a copy of the book. It is available from most suppliers of "fiddle" music, as well as from amazon.com. Or you can buy one directly from one of the authors.
This online collection came about when I noticed that most of the NEFR tunes seemed to be online in ABC form. This isn't surprising, since they are mostly well-known "traditional" tunes. So I started a small project to collect them all in one place. I gathered them from various sites, put them into subdirectories of the parent directory (../reel/, ../jig/, etc.), looked them over to find versions very similar to the NEFR versions, copied them here, and made small changes to push them closer to the NEFR versions. In a handful of cases, I (re-)transcribed a tune myself when no sufficiently similar version was found online.
Some of the transcriptions here are not exactly identical to the versions in NEFR, but they should all be "close enough" that hardly anyone will notice. Most are old tunes that have many variants. It's best to think of the tunes here as "working" versions of the NEFR tunes, as played and transcribed by assorted musicians in the ABC user community. You should get a copy of the book, and also learn that version, since a lot of people you meet at sessions and dances will know it.
The chords here have been worked out by me and others during playing, and are mostly fairly basic chords. Often other chords will work just as well, but the chords here should be good as a starting point.
As far as I've determined, all the tunes here are fairly old, and should be out of copyright. In some cases I've added a comment giving the earliest known date for a tune. If there is a copyrighted tune here, send me a message and let me know. If there are objections to a copyrighted tune here, I can remove it and replace it with an explanatory notice. Alternatively, send me an appropriate copyright notice, and I'll add it to the tune. And include contact information, so people can ask for permission in the future.
And I'll repeat the suggestion that you buy the book. It's small and well done, and any serious student of traditional New England music should have a copy on your book shelf -- or in your instrument's case, for the first few years, until it starts looking worn.
You might also want to look up the tunes and try some of the alternative versions. The NEFR versions are all quite good, but most of the tunes here have a lot of variants, and you are likely to meet people who play them differently. It's useful to be aware some some of the varitants when you are playing with others.
List files with:
Tune lister —
Collection lister —
These will all show the tune titles, and let you get PDF versions of single tunes or entire sets.