The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

Steve Roud, Julia Bishop

Research output: Book/ReportScholarly Edition


This magical new collection of 151 English folk songs brings together all the classic folk songs as well as many lesser-known discoveries, complete with music and annotations on their original sources and meaning. Published in cooperation with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, it is a worthy successor to Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L.Lloyd's original Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPenguin Classics
Number of pages542
ISBN (Print)978-0-141-19461-5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

As the music editor, my contribution to the volume covers a) the Introduction to the Music (pp. xlii-lviii) and Note on Music Editing and Transcription (pp. lix-lxi) b) the transcription (from sound recordings and written sources) and editing of the music of 151 traditional songs and c) annotations, of varying lengths, relating to the history, musical analysis, melodic variation and performance style of their tunes (109 songs covered) - more extended examples include the notes to song nos. 45 (p. 412-13) and 47 (pp. 415-16). The book was launched at Cecil Sharp House,London, headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society on 12 June 2012 at which event I was a guest speaker. Reviews of the book appeared in the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, and was nominated by publishing director of Penguin Press as 'the book that made my year' in 2012 A selection of the songs from the book have been recorded by leading contemporary folk performers on the CD 'The Liberty to Choose' (Fellside Recordings, 2013 (FECD257).


  • folk song
  • traditional music
  • history of popular music
  • musical analysis
  • music editing
  • music transcription
  • England


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