When I began researching ECD in November of 2009, I had no prior experience in dance of any kind, other than watching my sister’s ballet recitals. The process of learning ECD on my own through internet searches had me tearing my hair out in frustration, and I would spare all new dance groups that experience. I am a big fan of self-education, but if you can, don’t waste time(weeks, months, years) learning what an experienced person can tell you in one or two days. Listed below are my music suggestions for new and beginning ECD groups.
I would highly recommend CDSS as a starting point for any new ECD group. CDSS is one of a few places that sells music CDs by Bare Necessities:
Simple Pleasures CD and book. If you can only buy one CD, buy this one. It’s full of easy distinctive dances and it’s still our favorite. I do try to save money and look for the dance instructions online instead of buying the book, but if you’re getting started it might save you some stress to buy the book as well.
There is one Bare Necessities CD available to buy through Amazon mp3. All of the Bare Necessities CDs are good quality and recorded specially for dancing, so it’s worth it to buy at least a few if you’re setting up shop.
The Pride and Prejudice Collection by the Pemberly Players can be bought online and is well worth it. vol. 1 has many easy and enjoyable dances good for beginners.
I would also recommend the CD “Live from Dan’s Hall” by the Dancehall Players on Amazon. Some of the dances on this CD are more advanced than what I would use for beginners.
OldDD is focused on historical dances, so that’s what I’m emphasizing here. There’s tons of dance music out there, but I hesitate to buy CDs before I can hear clips of the tracks, and that’s one reason I buy CDs from Amazon mp3. I like to make sure the sound quality is good if not excellent.
The CD “Silence is Deadly”from Waits of Southwark certainly adds energy and variety with it’s Medieval sound.
We also use several individual mp3 tracks I’ve bought through Amazon:
Gathering Peascods(good dance for children):
Spanish Waltz(tune of Haapavesi)
Gay Gordon(tune of Pretty Peg)
What About Intermission??
We rarely have dead air at our events, and that means having a good stock of intermission music on top of the usual dance tunes. Here are a few of our favorites.
Spare Parts does excellent work, and we love the historical polkas and waltzes sprinkled throughout their albums. They’re not online for mp3 purchase, so one must order a hard copy of the whole CD. This does make it a little pricy if you only intend to use the polkas and waltzes, but still a good buy if you can afford it.
Spyglass: Waltzes are all great sounding waltzes
The Charleston is a lot of fun, even if not many people can do it! Make sure your sound system can handle old recordings, though.