Search by Classification

The classification field in the drop-down menu contains references to several standard classifications of songs and tales. Each reference consists of a letter (or letters), which identifies a certain classification system, followed by a number in that classification system, which identifies a specific song or tale. To search the classification field it is necessary to use this exact format. Please ensure that all letters are entered as capital letters (NB: the * wildcard may also be used).

The following table shows examples for each standard classification system:


Example search query:

Roud Folk Song Index


Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection


The Child Ballads


Laws Numbers (songs)


Aarne-Thompson Tale Type


N.B. Song or tale numbers can also include letters of the alphabet, e.g. Laws P9 is LP9

Any given track available on the Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches website may contain several such references, though only one is required when searching. For example, the ballad named 'Andrew Lammie' is both Roud Folk Song Index no. 98 and Child Ballad no. 233 - searching for either of these references will return the same track(s).

More information on the classification systems is included here:

  • The Roud Folk Song Index is a reference-database for songs collected in the oral tradition throughout the English-speaking world, appearing either in print or on sound recordings held in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in Cecil Sharp House, London. The database was founded by Steve Roud and is available for searching online through the website of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. The Roud Index is particularly useful for identifying a song with many different titles - a unique Roud number links all such versions.
  • The Grieg-Duncan Folk Song Collection (8 vols., 1981-2002) consists of 1,933 songs collected from the oral tradition in the North-East of Scotland by Gavin Greig (1856-1914) and the Rev. James Duncan (1848-1917) in the early years of the 20th century.
  • The Child Ballads are a collection of 305 English and Scottish ballads compiled by the American scholar Francis James Child (1825-1896), published between 1882 and 1898.
  • The Laws system refers to the song catalogue compiled by George Malcolm Laws (b.1919) in his 'Native American Balladry' (1950) and 'American Balladry from British Broadsides' (1957).
  • The Aarne-Thompson Classification System is a catalogue of traditional tale types, compiled and developed by Antti Aarne (1867-1925) and Stith Thompson (1885-1976).
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