American Folk Song Collection


American Folk Song Collection

Holy Names University is excited to announce the newly designed and expanded online American Folk Song Collection ( The new site includes additional songs and search features and is now available on tablets and smart phones.

The American Folk Song Collection is a unique resource for teachers, parents, and all those interested in the rich tradition of American folk music. Since its launch in 2004, the AFSC has become the premier online resource for American folk songs for teaching and remains the only such resource to provide both scores and recordings in a searchable format.

The collection can be searched by any combination of musical, cultural and pedagogical categories, enabling music teachers to quickly and easily find appropriate songs for classroom and choral use. The site also contains short films which can be used to introduce the Kodály approach to parents and administrators.

The upgraded site contains the following new features:

  • Search the Collection, the heart of the website, provides faster results. With each selection of a search category, the result of the search is displayed immediately on the same page, so that the user can see at once whether a more refined search is needed.
  • Four new search categories have been added to the 15 categories originally on the site: sub-subject, game type, melodic context and melodic motive. The last two will be especially valuable to Kodály teachers in making connections between songs.
  • The three short films of the Kodály Vision page (History, Philosophy, Classroom) now fill the screen, are easier to access and can be paused while viewing.
  • The site no longer requires downloads such as Scorch and Quicktime.
  • The site has been optimized for use on hand-held devices and the newest generation of computers.
  •  A new resource area will include curricula by grade level, with links to the folk song database.
  • Over the next year, the collection will double in size, broadening the site’s coverage of geographical regions, ethnic groups, and song types. New material will include Spanish language songs and additional songs from the Library of Congress. The site is the creation of the Kodály Center for Music Education at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, an international center for music education, with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

You are invited to visit, to join the mailing list to receive updates, and to share this valuable resource with others. If you wish to link to the site, here is a brief description for your use:

The American Folk Song Collection ( provides field recordings and scores of hundreds of traditional folk songs. The site is searchable by multiple categories, including title, state, subject, song type, musical characteristics