We are pleased to provide these publications, most now out of print, here on the web. We ask only that you respect the authors' intention and generosity in making these materials available free of charge (although donations to our programs are always welcome!). We are actively expanding our online offerings and welcome your suggestions for additional material you would find useful.
- Cracking Chestnuts videos: A page with links to YouTube videos of all of the classic American contra dances that are featured in the CDSS publication Cracking Chestnuts: The Living Tradition of Classic American Contra Dances.
- Ken Sheffield's collected dances The entire collection of Sheffield's "From Two Barns," Volumes 1-10.
- Charles Bolton's collected dances (html, pdf) The entire collection of both Bolton's "Retreads" series and his original dances.
- The Colonial Music Institute (compiled by Mary Jane Corry, Kate Van Winkle Keller, and Robert M. Keller): The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690-1783 — This publication fills a major gap in access to eighteenth-century American sources for research in the performing arts and related humanities fields. It includes all references to music, poetry (lyrics), dance, and theater found by our readers in American newspapers, from the earliest extant copy (1690) through the end of the Revolutionary War (1783).
- The Colonial Music Institute (compiled by Robert M. Keller, Raoul F. Camus, Kate Van Winkle Keller, and Susan Cifaldi): Early American Secular Music and Its European Sources, 1589–1839: An Index (HTML) — This is a series of indexes derived from a data base of musical information compiled from primary sources covering the 250 years of the initial exploration and settlement of the United States. It consists of over 75,000 entries that are sorted by text (titles, first lines, recitatives, chorus and burden), by music incipits (represented in scale degrees, stressed notes and interval sequences), with additional indexes of names and theater works.
- The Colonial Music Institute (compiled by Robert Keller): Dance Figures Index: American Country Dances, 1710-1830 (HTML) — A guide to the basic figures in all American printed and manuscript longways country dances in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century sources. It is drawn from a computer data base of information which was gathered from 82 sources, 53 printed and 29 in manuscript.
- The Colonial Music Institute (compiled by Robert Keller): Early American Songsters, 1734-1800: An Index (HTML) —An index of all of the known songsters currently available. The index draws heavily from Irving Lowens' Bibliography of Songster Printed in America Before 1821 (Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1976), for titles and other bibliograhical information. Lowens defines a songster "as a collection of three or more secular poems intended to be sung." Most of the songsters do not include music, although many contain references to the names of tunes to which the song could be sung. This publication comprises those songs published through 1800.
- The Colonial Music Institute (compiled by Robert Keller): Dance Figures Index: English Country Dances, 1650-1833 (HTML) — A guide to the basic figures in major English printed longways country dances in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century sources. This database only includes sources for dances with instruction for country dances, or dances that could be identified as such. It does not include other dance forms, such as Cotillions or Allemand or similar dances.
- Mary Dart: Contra Dance Choreography: A Reflection of Social Change (HTML)
Originally published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York & London, 1995
Mary Dart's classic study explores "the way the choreography of the contra dance, a folk dance tradition brought to us from the British Isles, has been changing, particularly over the last twenty years." The book, based on interviews with callers, dance composers and musicians, looks at new dances, how they are composed, and what aesthetic and cultural principles underlie the choreographic choices made. A "doc" version is also available for download.
- Robert G. Dalsemer: West Virginia Square Dances (HTML)
Originally published by Country Dance and Song Society, 1982
Dalsemer describes dance figures as done in five rural West Virginia communities in the mid- to late-1970s and reports on their regular dance events, including programming, type of audience, price and method of admission, and the traditions of figure calling and musical performance. The history of each dance event is discussed, as is their on-going process of evolution. With appendices: a list of tunes commonly played for square dances; transcriptions of calls; and tunes for caller Worley Gardner's singing and semi-singing calls. Single copies may be printed from this website. Please contact CDSS if you wish to print multiple copies.
- Robert M. Keller: The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium (online database)
The Compendium is a searchable database of all known country dances published in the various editions of The Dancing Master, published by John Playford, Henry Playford and John Young, from 1651-1728 in London, with facsimiles of each "unique" dance with its' music. This reference work is published by CDSS with the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the New Hampshire Library for Traditional Dance and Music at the University of New Hampshire.
- Patrick Napier: Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing (online - pdf (17M))
- Ted Sannella: Annotated Discography and Bibliography from Ted Sannella's SWING THE NEXT (HTML) The annotations and introduction for the Discography and Bibliography in Swing the Next (CDSS, 1996) are included here in their entirety. Swing the Next is a collection of 80 American square, contra, triplet and circle dances, the majority of them written by Ted Sannella, a master of the art of calling American traditional dances.
- CDSS, GEMS: The Best of the Country Dance and Song Society's Diamond Anniversary Music, Dance and Song Contest