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A free-use online collection of traditional and historical songs, fiddle music and folklore from Ontario.
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97 backers pledged CA$ 5,160 to help bring this project to life.
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THE ONTARIO TRADITIONAL MUSIC LIBRARY                                                                                                               

We are looking for a few angels to help launch a free online collection of traditional and historical songs and tunes from the province of Ontario, Canada. Much of the initial offering of material is comprised of Ontario music that Ian Bell has collected and learned from a wide range of sources over the past four decades.

This resource is being created especially for singers and instrumentalists looking for songs and tunes from Ontario’s living musical traditions and for examples from historical sources. The multi-media collection will be arranged by theme, date and geographic location. It will include hundreds of tunes from 19th century fiddlers’ manuscripts as well as favourites from the playing of contemporary players. You will also find songs transcribed from early publications, manuscripts and broadsides, along with a selection of seldom-heard recordings by LaRena Clark. The site will contain historical images and written references to folk music, gathered from period journals, newspapers, posters and other sources, and will include links to related online resources. The site is being curated by Canadian folk musician and former museum curator Ian Bell and will be added to on an ongoing basis. The project's current collaborators include a mix of longtime folk musicians many with a museum background. These include Bill Nesbitt, Anne Lederman, Mac Swackhammer, Saskia Tomkins and Brad McEwen. As well, the library invites contributions of suitable content from the public.

We are asking for donations of any amount to help pay for the creation and ongoing hosting and upkeep of this website. The initial costs will amount to about $3500. Your donation will help us to pay these costs and make the site available to anyone who wishes to make use of it. The site will include a donation widget to accept contributions from new users once the site is launched.

All donors will be acknowledged (if they wish to be) on the website. A donation of $25. will entitle you to a thank you gift - a copy of the classic Muddy York CD "Scatter The Ashes" Music of Old Ontario".  The website will be up and running by February 2, 2017.

You can visit an online (mostly non-functional) mock up of the home page by clicking here: Here is a small jpg of the same thing.

Draft Layout of Home Page
Draft Layout of Home Page


Risks and challenges

This project is, and will continue to be a big job. As someone with decades of experience working in community museums the sort of work involved in this project is familiar territory to me. This can also be said of my collaborators on the project. The main challenge of this project will be to keep adding to the online database on a regular basis. Luckily, this will not be for want of material. The site's initial offering (of several hundred tunes and songs already transcribed and catalogued) represents only a small percentage of the material immediately available. While I am prepared to do the lion's share of transcription and editing myself, I would be very pleased to have the assistance of others who can do the sort of work from time to time. The library will always be happy to accept offered of help from anyone who has an interest in the project

I am anticipating the appearance of further material to add to the library as the project becomes more widely known. This may take the form of written music, textual material or recordings. The inclusion of this content may the most important function of the website as it moves into the future.

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    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $19


    CD - "Scatter The Ashes"by Muddy York. A classic 1984 Canadian folk music recording of music from old Ontario.

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Funding period

- (30 days)