The Gleeman

Site Copyright

All the traditional airs and song texts on this site are in the public domain. These include the following:

The copyright of the following (of which there are currently none) has yet to be determined:
The rest of the site is © Copyright 2005, 2012, J T Hallel. This includes the following:
Except for the LilyPond .ly files, all material copyright by J T Hallel is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

The LilyPond .ly files copyright by J T Hallel are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License.

(For more on the Creative Commons, see

Explanation for Site Copyright

All the traditional airs and songs are from sources out of copyright and in the public domain. These are available to all. Indeed, it is the purpose of this site to ensure that they are available to all while remaining in the public domain.They can be downloaded, modified, used, (and even published) without the need to ask permission of anyone.

The background information, and explanatory notes have been produced to document the provenance of these works, so users of the these works can be confident that they are, indeed, in the public domain. I have maintained copyright on these in order to ensure the integrity of this evidence. It as a mechanism for mainitaining trust in the site. That said, it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, so as long as the evidence is not distorded, please feel free to use, amend and share. (It can even be used commercially).

The LilyPond files are  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License. Although they can be used and shared, they cannot be amended or changed. The reason for this is that they are the source from which the public domain .png scores and .midi sound files are generated. If they are amended there is no guarantee that the resulting score or sound file would be in the public domain!  Additionally, the Lilypond syntax can (and does) change, so I'll need to keep them up-to-date. Secondly, I'll need to amend them to correct any typesetting errors that may occur.

That said, I am happy to reconsider this licensing regarding the .ly files.

To ensure that what is public domain remains separate to what is covered by copyright, I have tried to ensure that mixed (copyright and public domain) content is kept to a minimum.. This is one of the reasons that the notes are separate from the scores and texts. Where there is mixed content, I have tried to indicate what is in the public domain.

Should anyone have comments or suggestions on the site copyright, please feel free to contact me.

Markup vs Content

Those pages which are marked as in the public domain are in the public domain as viewed or printed. The underlying HTML (as produced by me) is copyright (by me). This is not to say that it can't be used, but if it is, it is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License mentioned above.

What is Public Domain?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and the following should not be taken as legal advice. The following could also be wrong.
I feel I need to explain what I believe to be meant by the phrase "public domain".

Copyright laws vary from country to country. I am a Citizen of the United Kingdom, and thus also an EU citizen.  As copyright laws have been harmonised across the EU (on 1st January 1996), I have assumed that what is out of copyrignt in the UK will be out of copyright in the EU. Thus,  I have tried to ensure that the texts used are out of copyright in the UK.

I have also tried to ensure that the texts used are out of copyright in the US. Being a non-US citzen, theoretically I could just keep to UK and EU law (where I am based and where this site is published). However, as I want to make this site as useful to as many people as possible, I have also taken US copyright law into account. In all fairness, many of the major texts referenced e.g. Child (1882-1898)CPB and Bronson (1959-1972)BTT were originally published in the US, so it only seems fair to keep US copyright law in mind.

As to other jurisdictions, I have assumed that if a work is in the public domain in the UK (EU) and the US, it is likely to be in the public domain elsewhere! I am not aware of anywhere else in the world with longer copyright periods.

As to copyright law. In the UK, according to, "Copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work lasts for the life of the author and 70 years from the end of the year in which he/she died". US law is more convoluted, as there have been a number of amendments extending copyright period. However, these have not been retroactively applied, so the length of copyright depends on the original copyright date. According to, before 1978 copyright was for 28 years from date of publication (or registration, if not published), renewable for another 28 years (in the 28th year). For those works in copyright on 1st January 1978, this was extended through a series of acts, but only for those works in copyright at that time (as the laws wasn't retroactive).  This means that works published up to the end of 1922 in the US are now in the public domain (in the US). However, those works published in 1923 and beyond won't  enter the public domain until 2019! (See this entry for more information).

This Site and the Public Domain

I have tried to ensure that the texts and airs are out of copyright by trying to ensure that:
In the Bibliography page of this site, as far as possible, I have tried to recorded both the dates of the editions used, and the dates the authors died (as well as the date they were born - it seemed respectful to record both). Although texts in copyright are listed, they have not been used as direct sources - I have only used them as reference works. All the texts and all the airs are only taken from those works in (or believed to be in) the public domain (although they may also be in the other works). In the notes linked with each public domain air/song transcribed, I have recorded my source for that air/song. I will also keep any "corrections" or amendments to a minimum. Where amendments or changes are made, they most likely to be (i) to transcribe only the voice part of a melody, leaving out any accompanying arrangement, (ii) to add lyrics to the score (if possible) based on the accompanying text), (iii) minor typsesetting changes for the score, for instance line breaks may be different than in the original. I will try and indicate where such amendments have been made.

Despite my attempts to only publish traditional songs and tunes in the public domain, should anyone note any copyright infringement that I have made, please let me know, and, assuming that copyright has indeed been infringed, I will remove the offending material. Additionally, if I have inadvertently added copyright to material that should be in the public domain (e.g. through typography), please let me know.

For further information on the public domain, see this article.

Arrangements and Composite Versions

At some point, I may attempt to create re-arrangements of airs and tunes, or attempt to create a "composite" text (based on a number of texts). This may be tempting where there are a large number of variants, each with slightly different wording, none of which satisfies me (as an individual). Or for airs where I may wish to add accompanyment. Should I do so (and I feel this would be fully in keeping with the "folk" tradition), I will indicate as such, and will keep such arrangements and compositions separate from that material which is known to be public domain. (Such arranegements and compositite creations may be themselves released in the public domain. However, there is always the distinct possibility that someone else may have re-created the same composition and added copyright! The certainty of the work being in the public domain is not there).

Where re-arrangements are more a matter of simple editing rather than creation, and where the result (I believe) should be in the public domain, I will indicated as such.

In Conclusion

I realise the above is rather convoluted. I hope it makes sense. It is a rather long winded way of saying; you can do what you like with the material on this site that is in the public domain, and you can also use the rest of the material on this site under a Creative Commons license. If you feel the wording could be improved, or have any other useful comments to make, let me know.

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© Copyright 2005, 2012, J T Hallel.  Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.