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Open Band Resources


The dance of June 29 at Country Dancers of Rochester features an open band. The dance will feature an open band led by Mike Hoeschel (fiddle), Mark Henry (keyboard), and Fred Filbrich (bass). Any and all are welcome to play.

The tunes listed below were chosen by Eric Rounds for the March 30 dance, and may be played on June 30. We will post updates as they become available. The tunes were chosen to represent the standard repertoire of fiddle tunes for dance — the first tunes you ever learned — and also the local repertoire of dance tunes — tunes that you’ve heard played for dancing here at CDR over the years. They should all be easily playable: they’re in accessible keys and aren’t too “notey.” The goal is for musicians to come and play along without rehearsal or practice, and also without sheet music if possible: many tunes will be familiar to dance musicians, and all could be picked up by ear. However, beginners should also be able to participate — the tunes are mostly easy to read.

If you are a beginner, some things to work on are playing the tunes smoothly with lots of repetitions, switching from one tune in the medley to the other and back, and getting the tunes up to tempo. A metronome tempo to aim for — if you want to go that route — is 120. Many dances will be a little slower than that and we won’t get faster than that. It’s common to drop out for a time or two through a tune. Also, notice the “modal” quality of some of the tunes — some of the key signatures may seem unusual if you’ve never played this kind of music before.

The tunes are organized in medleys of two per page. Broadly, there are medleys of reels and jigs, with a set of marches and two waltzes. There are enough medleys to get us through the evening here. However, Eric may add a couple of reel or hornpipe medleys similar to Soldier’s Joy. We’re a little lacking there and it would give us some choice and variety. We’ll add them here as they become available.

We now have 14 medleys of tunes to play for called dances: contras, squares, etc. We also have two waltzes: one for the break and one for the end. We will play one sheet for each called dance, switching between the two tunes as seems workable, at Eric’s signal. We will end up playing most of the sheets if all goes well. We’ll see what the caller requests, but my plan for the first few dances is this:

1. Road to Boston/Jimmy Allen
2. Kitty Jones/Second Lovely
3. I’ll Buy Boots/O’Connor’s
4. Muckin’ of Geordie’s Byre/Cock of the North

Then we’ll see where we are.

Please spread the word: get people to come and play. All instruments are welcome. Play one dance, play the whole evening; it doesn’t matter. For those of you who teach this kind of music, please encourage your students to come. Let’s overflow the CDR stage!

There will be printed copies of the tunes available at the dance. Bring a music stand if you have one. Try to arrive between 7:00 and 7:15.

Mike Hoeschel (fiddle), Mark Henry (keyboard), and Fred Filbrich (bass) will play for all the dances. The rest of you should feel free to play as often (or as little) as you want. Feel free to dance, feel free to listen.

Here’s a word for you if you’re new to this: heterophony. It happens when two or more musicians play different versions of the same tune at the same time. It will definitely happen at this dance — the experienced musicians will undoubtedly know slightly different versions of the tunes than the ones I’ve written down. Embrace it — it’s part of the genre. It happens at most dances.See you at the dance!

Links to Sheet Music