The 200 Dances Project - Music for Regency Dancing
We want to create and release high-quality and authentic music for 200 English Regency Dances
The 200 Dances Project -
Music for Regency Dancers
What is this Project?
We want to create historically accurate recordings of the music for 200 carefully researched dances from the English Regency Period. We want to offer our music as both CDs and individually downloadable MP3s of single dances. We want to release 16 albums over eighteen months, with the first release being two months after project gets funded.
There is a shortage of good, authentic music for Regency dancers to dance to, and our dance heritage is in danger of being swamped by a tide of modern Folk music - nice, but not the same.
Our music will be played by concert musicians, experienced in early music, on period instruments, and in the kind of ensemble that would have played for a small Assembly 200 years ago. Such an opportunity may not come again.
So as not to compete with good dance music that that is already available we will concentrate on less well known dances that are delightful but harder to find recordings of.
Here a sample of what we intend in our first album. Listen the introduction and the first 24 bars of Les Fleurs du Printems by Giovanni Gallini, 1770:
My name is Garth Notley and I manage http://RegencyDances.org - a free educational website run by volunteers specializing in dances of this period. This website has proved popular with historic dancers worldwide and the site is heavily used. I and the other editors will be overseeing, managing and supporting this unique music project in order to create a valuable resource for historic dancers and a significant complement to our website.
The first phase is completed. We have researched and interpreted the dances from their original source documents and you can study the dance notations on our website now - plus animations of the dances to make them easier to understand and where possible videos of them being danced. The next stage will be to record this music in high-quality professional recordings and this is going to cost us some real money - for recording studios, digital mastering, artwork and all the myriad elements that go into making a great album.
Now let me introduce Lidia Chang - Lidia is the Music Editor at RegencyDances.org and principlal flautist with Ensemble Ad Libitum. Ensemble Ad Libitum are recognized specialists in early music with an outstanding reputation, giving concerts in the United States, Germany, and the Nederlands.
We make quite an international team - I and my Research Editor, Paul Cooper, who researched more than half the dances for us, come from Winchester, England; Lidia and her colleague Dylan Sauerwald live in Boston; and Go Yamamoto, artistic director of Ensemble ad Libitum lives in Koln in Germany.
With your support we have the opportunity to create a major and lasting musical resource for historical dancers worldwide.
What's in it for You?
If you are a dancer your reward will be that you will gain a whole new source of music.
You will be able to purchase and download exactly the individual dances you want for your programme, those dances and only those dances - whether they are for a lesson, an afternoon assembly or a Grand Ball - giving you an unrestricted choice of dances at a very significant saving. Or you can buy the CDs and build your collection.
There will be no half measures. It won't cost you a penny if the project doesn't reach it's funding target - but if it does you will have a whole new world of good music at sensible prices.
Apart from the music itself, we'd really like to thank everyone who backs this project by publicly acknowledging their generosity and their contribution to the worldwide dancing community - you wonderful people! As just one example, if you become a member of the 200 Dances Project 'friends' you can vote for your favourite dances from the existing RegencyDances.org list. We will keep you updated as decisions are made, so argue your case and join the race.
Have a look at the other rewards we are offering - support us as much as you can - and hold your head up high!
What are our Plans?
We have a 'short' list of 372 dances to choose from (and this list is growing continually as research continues). You will help us decide which dances we should we choose. We have already chosen the first two albums: (1) Twelve cotillions by Giovanni Gallini, and (2) some Country Dances by Thomas Skillern.
But before we can do anything we will need to reach our minimum funding target in the short time available. If we get more funding than our target, that's good too as we have a load of ideas: including another 172 dances we could record, education videos and all sorts of other good things. But - if we don't achieve this target nothing will happen. It's true that then you won't pay anything - but you won't get anything either and we will all be disappointed
We will be launching our appeal on 1st August 2013 and it won't be open long - so don't miss it.
And tell your friends!
Together let's make this happen.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the Friends of the 200 Dances Project?
Anyone who backs the project for £25 or more are considered a friend. They get updates on the progress of the project and early announcements of releases and selections - and they get to vote on what dances we record.
2. Can I request recordings of particular dances?
By becoming a Friend of the 200 Dances Project you can vote for your 10 most favourite dances. The total number of votes for each dance will help us make the final selections.
3. £12,500 is a big ask. Does it have to be 200 dances or nothing rather than a gradual commitment as funds come in?
We could have decided to run a different Kickstarter project for each album, but the second and later ones would seem boring and likely be under subscribed. A big project gives us some valuable economy of scale - and we want it to be awesome - to do something world-changing - so we went for the big once-only project.
4. Where will the dances be available for purchase?
Immediately after each album is released the dances will be available as CDs and downloadable MP3s for sale from retail stores, CDBaby.com, the RegencyDances.org website, the LidiaChang.com website and other online outlets.
5. Aren't you competing with existing Regency dance music?
There are thousands of dances that have never been recorded and our plan is to select dances we like (and you like) which are less well known. Out of courtesy, we will also try to avoid treading on the toes of the performers who have kindly given their permission for us to feature their music by using a snippet to accompany the RegencyDances.org animations.
6. Will backers get free CDs or be able to buy at a cheaper price?
We tried to do this but the costs soared. So as not to have to ask you for too much funding at the outset we decided to squeeze the budget as tight as possible. It only covers the fixed costs - recording studios, digital mastering, Kickstarter fees and so on - not the running costs - so it doesn't allow us to give away the dances. There are some great other rewards, as listed on the right of this page, to thank everyone by publicly acknowledging their generosity and their contribution to the worldwide dancing community.
7. What musical instruments will be used?
The musicians will use various combinations of flute, violin and a wide range of keyboard instruments. Lidia was joking to me that she now almost has enough period flutes to match the month, let alone the year of composition!
8. Will the CDs be available to buy?
Yes - the dances will be available to buy as physical CDs as downloadable albums and as downloadable individual dances. In addition you will be able to download for free the dance instructions and the music notations - so you can train to the CDs and still have your live musicians play for your ball.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for the team will be the sheer scale - creating music for 200 dances - in the timescale we have promised. There is little doubt that we can complete it but there is a very real possibility that our schedule will slip by up to three months or more due to events that we cannot at this time foresee.
Lidia Chang and the other musicians have performed in many concerts worldwide and are well used to performing under stress. As you will see from my Bio (see the section 'Previous Life') I am experienced in managing and carrying through to completion quite large and complex projects.
In terms of completing the project, as long as we remain healthy we are confident that we can deliver the goods. If one of us does fall ill, we have identified specific alternative people who would be able to step in and fulfil each role.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)