My Favourite ECD Music, and Links!

One of the greater challenges in a small community is to find suitable dance music. It's tricky to buy music on-line, too, if you can't listen to the music you are considering. Listen to all that you can, and be certain that you have the number of repeats you require. I have music that is a verse or two too long, and some a verse too short, so listen to the -full- song so you won't be disappointed when you are in the midst of sharing your new music with other dancers. Also, if your music system does not have the capability of shifting the tempo (without distortion), listen for suitable tempo, too.

English Country Dance was first recorded, to the best of our knowledge, in 1651 by John Playford, and sold at his establishment for the education of the masses. The name seems to imply a vulgarity in style, but is not so; ECD is merely non-courtly dance done in sets of couples, preferably in such a fashion to display the best of one's character and physical prowess. No gallumping, please.

The List, somewhat annotated

You can buy this music through
Broadside Band

English Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master 1651-1703 - The Broadside Band by John Playford; (Compiler), Jeremy Barlow (Arrangements & Direction), and The Broadside Band (Audio CD - 1994); one of my top picks because it's all danceable and ranges from Renaissance to, well, modern-ish; 'Cuckolds all a-row' has an extra verse and chorus, but I've used that as an entry piece successfully.

- Lovely for dance classes, as some Arbeau dance tunes are included; not lovely because the Arbeau pieces are "grouped" and can't be separated; some Playford dances.

Bare Necessities

ECD - came highly recommended, so I have one on order!

Some Links to Manuals, somewhat annotated

On Dance Instructions

The following are links that I have found useful in learning and teaching English Country Dance. Note that there -will- be some conflict between historical instructions and modern ones, as dance -has- evolved (just as skirts have risen and vehicles lost the horse and acquired speed); if you travel to dance with another group, their styling will likely be different, so you, as the newcomer to the group, will need to adapt. I have been careful to ask about certain steps that, being in a more vigorous modern style, would re-dislocate my shoulder; -that- style means I sit out a dance... but health comes first!

Some Links to Transcribed Manuals

Happy Dancing!