Bal Folk was created from a selection tunes published as Massif Central Volumes 1 and 2. It has been completely revised and errors found in the original have been corrected. Copyright tunes had to be removed but a number of original compositions by Trevor Upham and Chris Shaw have been added. Trevor and Chris live in England but write tunes in the central French style. Trevor lived for many years in France and was very involved with the folk dance scene there, he writes some superb tunes which deserve to be better known.
This book will be of interest to anyone who enjoys playing French music, or playing for French dancing. The tunes are suitable for melodeon, fiddle and accordion and many will fit within the range of bagpipes and hurdy gurdy. It contains the usual mix of mazurkas, valses, scottisches, two and three time bourrees, and polkas that are encountered at a ‘Bal Folk’ in France. The majority of the tunes in this book come from the centre of France, the Berry, Bourbonnais and Auvergne regions, where there is a strong tradition of hurdy gurdy and bagpipe music.
In addition, there are a few examples of tunes for other dances that one can occasionally encounter, for example the five time waltz from Alsace. It should not be seen as an academic work, but a useful source of good tunes. Also included are a number of tunes written in the French style by Trevor Upham and Chris Shaw, two musicians playing French music in England. In France the usual tuning used for a two row melodeon is C/G, whilst in England we prefer G/D. The melodeon in C/G tuning fits very well with the ‘Auvergne’ tuned hurdy gurdy and bagpipes in C, when playing in C and G major. This is an instrument combination often used in France. It is for this reason that a number of tunes are written in C, however they can easily be transposed to G to fit on a G/D melodeon.