Traditional folk music, dance and customs - Harrogate, North Yorkshire - Chas Marshall's Website

Music Sessions

Anglo Concertina Anglo Concertina

What is a session? I can't improve on what Ryburn 3 Step say: "A session is an informal gathering of musicians, usually in a pub, to play, sing, step-dance etc. for the amusement of themselves and any innocent bystanders who can't get out in time! It's not a performance, it's not a class, it's just friends gathering together to share music in the same way that people share conversation, jokes, news, etc."

Tuesday Music Sessions, Harrogate

Musicians sessions are held every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Some players are music readers and some players are ear players. Music can be provided for the readers for some of the "standard" session tunes used. All instruments are welcome - at a typical session you will see (and hear!) northumbrian pipes, fiddle, melodeon, mandolin, guitar, whistle, recorder, bodhran and concertina. Music includes English, Irish, Scottish and even some continental tunes. The session was originally instigated by Ray Black and though Ray continues to act as a contact the session more or less runs itself now.

We moved the session to The Tap and Spile in 1998, but a change in that pub meant that we then briefly moved to the The Alexandra in April 2017. The Tap and Spile has been refurbished and renamed the "Tap on Tower Street" and we are returning the session to its natural home in October 2017.


Hales Bar, 1 - 3 Crescent Road, Harrogate. HG1 2RS

Instrumental session along similar lines to Tuesdays in the Tap. This is a monthly session and happens on the second Sunday of the month. All skill levels welcome. Tunes from various traditions played. We welcome all folky and acoustic instruments. Previously held at 10 Devonshire Place, from December 11th 2016, this session will take place at Hales Bar, 1 - 3 Crescent Road, Harrogate. HG1 2RS

Times: Start 12.00 noon and finishing 3.30pm



"Tap and Spile" Session Tunes

Many of the earlier tunes which are regularly played can be found in the "Tap and Spile Repertoire" tune book which was put together by Ray Black. The front cover of this tune book is pictured to the right. Ray may still have copies of this tune book available and if you would like one try contacting him. E-Mail Ray Black or phone him on 01423 - 502875.

In May 2011, Ray produced a second volume of Tap and Spile Sessions tunes.

Ian Stalker kindly created a combined index of the tunes in volumes 1 and 2, so if you are looking for a particular tune or if you would just like to know what tunes are included have a look at Ian's Excel-based index here.

However all sessions are, by their nature, dynamic and some tunes become less frequently played and can pass out of use altogether, while new ones are introduced. Music for these newer tunes is often circulated by Ray to current session-goers. There are also one or two corrections to the published tunes. If you have missed out on this process then you can find some of the newer tunes in the archive below.

Clicking on the tune title will attempt to open the music in Adobe Reader, if you have this installed. From here you can print and/or save the tune. If you do not have a PDF reader go to the Adobe website where you will be able to download a free copy of Acrobat Reader.

The First Few Bars - A Crib sheet!

After a suggestion from David Cheesborough, Ray Black has cooked up something that may be of use to some of you. Just as we all learn music in different ways, we all recognise tunes differently. Sometimes just knowing the title of a tune brings it into focus for some, while others may prefer to see the first few bars of a tune. For these latter folk, Ray has made a crib sheet.

You can either print it or load it into one of those clever 'phone things, then when a tune starts you can flick through the jig section or whatever else is being played and with a bit of luck you will spot it quite quickly.

Roy Hardacre and Ray Black


Tunes since Volume 2

Someone asked Ray for a copy of the tunes that have entered the repertoire since volume 2 of the book came out. Ray had a large file containing lots of them, but quite a few were only ever played once. These have been removed and here are the ones that do get played in a single file as of February 2015. This is in addition to the many individual files which Ray circulates which are below. Ray sent the following supplementary notes:

"The emphasis in the title 'LONDON PRIDE(Idbury Hill)' should be the other way round. i.e. 'IDBURY HILL(London Pride)'

The spelling of Grewelthorpe is wrong in 'Trip to Grewelthorpe'. I thought I had corrected this when it first arose but it is still there in it's soupy "Please sir can I have some more" spelling. (What the Dickens can I mean by that?)

Regent's Favourite has returned home. In the file I retained the spelling 'Favorite' as I received it, assuming it must be American but it isn't. You can't imagine how much joy this spelling change will bring to an English language pedant like me.

Finally The Knife's Edge came to me in D and I didn't notice this. I have attached it in G as we play it (see below). You will also see the repeat structure of Regent's Favourite is now altered to match how it is played in the session.