Resources for picking tunes to play for set dancers

Resources for picking tunes to play for set dancers

For those of you who play for set dancers (think Corofin Plain, Caledonian, Lancers sets, etc., not set dances like Job of Journeywork), how do you pick tunes? Have you seen documentation of what tunes bands like to play for specific dances?

Looking at the number of bars in a figure’s progression (using a site like http://setdanceteacher.ie/setlist1.htm) is really helpful, of course. But I’d love to see what tunes other ceili bands use for certain figures and sets.

The recordings section of the Scottish Country Dance Database (ex: http://my.strathspey.org/dd/dance/2437/#recordings) is one of the closest things I’ve seen to what I’m envisioning, though it focuses on recorded versions of tunes for specific dances. Is there a site like that for Irish dances?

Re: Resources for picking tunes to play for set dancers

Thanks, Kenny and DetlefS. I see what you mean about the ISDMD: many of the recordings have no tunes named, but those that do have a wealth of information. Similar to the SCDDB in approach, cool.

Re: Resources for picking tunes to play for set dancers

Don’t worry about the number of bars of music specified, or try to pick tunes that will fit the number of bars exactly.

Decades ago, a band I was in was to play at a grand ceili and were told to prepare for specific sets, something we have never done before. We actually devised sequences of tunes that would last exactly 156 bars, or whatever the various figures required. On the night an experienced box player sat in with us and laughed when we showed her our plans. Pick any reel, she said, and we’ll stop when the dance ends - usually when they’ve gone round the house.

Re: Resources for picking tunes to play for set dancers

Ha! Sounds like a fair enough approach, Stiamh. :)