The Meertens Tune Collections

The Meertens Institute hosts a large digital collection of Dutch songs. These are accessible via the online interface of the Nederlandse Liederenbank, which currently contains meta-data of c. 170,000 songs, full texts of c. 50,000 songs, and music notation for c. 9,000 songs. The online interface offers search functionality and access to songs on an individual basis. Each song record contains a rich collection of meta-data fields.
With the Meertens Tune Collections (MTC), the Meertens Institute releases several collections of digitized songs. This release is aimed to serve those who wish to use entire data-sets instead of studying individual songs. The release includes collections that already have been used in various research papers.

Two highlights are: the full audio collection of Onder de groene linde, which includes field recordings of Dutch folk songs as made during the 1950s till 1980s by Will Scheepers and Ate Doornbosch, and the full set of 996 melodies from the printed series Oude en nieuwe Hollantse Boeren Lietjes en Contredansen (Old and New Dutch Peasant Songs and Countrydances, Amsterdam: Estienne Roger 1701- 1714,13 vols.).
The availability of digitized musical material is important for several disciplines. From a musicological perspective, the study of these melodies is relevant for understanding transmission and dissemination of folk tunes. The availability of entire data sets enables large-scale analysis of the material. For research in the field of Music Information Retrieval, the availability of large annotated data sets is of crucial importance to test algorithms and tools, such as segmentation algorithms, melodic similarity measures, and pattern discovery algorithms. In the area of music cognition, analysis of the songs may yield insight in melodic segmentation, melodic similarity and the stability and variability of motifs, intervals and rhythms.

The collections come with a wealth of metadata. Most melodies have a tune family label, which connects variants of the same tune. Several levels of membership are indicated. For the audio recordings, we provide date and location (longitude and latitude) of recording and date of birth and place of birth of the singer(s). For all folk song melodies, phrase endings, keys, and meters are indicated.


Further information and download: