“It can scarcely be too often repeated that such ballads as this were meant only to be sung, not at all to be recited. … especially one of those which, for their due effect, require the support of a melody, and almost equally the comment of a burden.”
— F.J. Child 2:3, 204.
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (digital edition) offers two music file types for use with the ballad texts.
Tune notations– Professor Child collected 55 tunes to accompany the ballad texts as he found them in the manuscripts. These were annotated and included in Volume V, Book 10, edited and published by Professor G.L. Kittredge almost two years after Professor Child’s death. These annotations can be found in the section titled: Ballad Airs from Manuscript. Each tune is preceded by the ballad number and title. Click on a ballad title to jump to the associated version of lyrics.
Embedded tunes– All of the tunes included in Ballad Airs from Manuscript (V-10: 411-424) have been converted to audio wave files (.WAV) and are embedded in the Book 10 PDF file. Click on the music notation for any tune to listen to the melody as played on the piano.