Learn a Tune a Week (free)

Here is a selection of tunes from the James Aird collections (1782). I have added chords and, in some cases, harmonies or 2nd parts. The arrangements are designed for mandolins, citterns, mandolas, bouzoukis and guitars but settings will suit other instruments.

If you manage to learn a tune a week we can all get together next year and have an Aird's party.

Every week I will add links for the notation and to audio files, including some practice files. These tunes are fairly easy but where there are awkward things I will add something about technique.

With each lesson pack I will include a selection of practice files and an audio file of a mix I've made at home for you to play along with. Turn the BIG Mix up loud so you feel as if you are 'in the room'!

Let me know if you are enjoying these activities: clachanmusic@outlook.com Use your phone to record your version and attach it to an email.

See also

Backing Aird's

WORKING ON THIS - new unit coming soon.

Learn to Accompany Tunes from the Aird's Collection

Exercises in accompanying a selection of Aird's tunes. Designed for bouzouki and guitar, but may suit other instuments.


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WEEK 1 23/03/20 I'll Touzle your Kurchy

Lovely wee tune. I was preparing this for a wee class of two mandolins, one bouzouki and a tin whistle (maybe next year). A Kurchy may be a fancy collar or ruff that was worn at the time. However, it does sound like a threat; just add 'ya bass' after it. See.
5. Touzle MIX v 1.mp3

FOLDER: all resources

Note that I've played the practice files on the piano. The main mix (on this page) is played on 'real' mandolins and bouzoukis etc.

(Please read the introduction to this series).This tune is probably at intermediate level with this tune. If you are jut beginning please try the material in the Mandolin for Complete Beginners resources (also free)

WEEK 2 Quick Step 32nd Regiment

This has been prepared for a class or small group - maybe next year? This rendering might work as an arrangement.
5. 32nd Reg BIG MIX.mp3

FOLDER: all resources

Harmonies are odd things. I think it works here. If you record a version of this just as a mandolin duet I'd love to here it. You can hear my effort at this on track 3. Thanks to EC for the whistle on this.

WEEK 3 The Parson in the Suds

You can see him enjoying his morning soak before he gives his sermon.
4. BIG MIX.mp3

FOLDER: all resources

Remember that each folder contains not just the PDF but the image files so you can print out large versions of the tunes. Some of us are getting on and the eyes aren't working as well as they once did. Let's hope the parson prays for us.

WEEK 4 The Amorous Goddess

Another march. Quite an elegant wee tune.
4. Goddess ALL SYNC.mp3

WEEK 5 Lord Kelly's Reel

It'is called a reel so it could be played fast - but only with difficulty as there are some technical things that are easy on a whistle of fiddle but not so easy on a mandolin. I like it here as a 4/4 march. Note the extra repeat of the 2nd part. Not sure if that works - but it's in the original book.
5. Lord Kelly's Reel.mp3

WEEK 6 A Rock and Pickle Tow

This one is a set dance and I understand it was a traditional song even before Burns used it (There was an auld wife had a wee pickle tow, and she wad gae try the spining o't). Loads on the net about it.
6. Rock and Tow MIX v 1.mp3