As I work on the transcriptions project I am also assembling a spreadsheet of tunes and metadata to try and get a grip on attributions, variants, and titles.
I entered all of the attributions from the three printed volumes today. There are printed attributions for the 1840 tuns in the introduction, giving names, places and dates of collection. For the tunes published in 1797 and 1809, we have the annotated volumes in the British library (Add MS 41508) which Karen Loomis drew to our attention.
I counted 285 tunes in total. Of them, 149 (52%) are tagged as coming from harpers. 88 of these tunes (31%) he either does not say, or he gives us only a place, or he gives us a name without saying who is is. My guess is that most of these are from singers, fiddlers and other traditional musicians. 9 (13%) come from pipers. 3 (1%) come from a book, and the remaining 36 (13% are sourced from a collector or correspondent.
To be more crude, half the tunes that Bunting published are from harpers; a third are probably from traditional musicians, and most of the rest are sent to him by scholars and gentlemen.
I tried to do the same with the transcriptions in ms29 and ms33(1) but I haven’t identified enough of the tunes, or gathered enough attributions evidence yet, for the numbers to be meaningful. In time!