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Old-Time New England Fiddling, Contra & Square Dancing, & Related Traditions

There are two parts to this website: New Hampshire Fiddle Music and New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance. This page starts with a quick summary of the two parts, then presents  an overview with links to the major sections of each part. Finally there is contact information in case you have comments on any of the material, or if you find any mistakes or broken/incorrect links. material, or if you find any mistakes or broken/incorrect links.

Look for the Following at NH Country Dance: Quick Summary

Fiddle Music Website

This part of the website has notation for over 350 fiddle tunes. Tunes are available in abc format and as standard notation in PDF format. There 's also a section on using abc notation which is a very convenient text-based method of writing out tunes that's very popular for fiddle tunes. And there's a section on learning by ear vs. learning from notation, including differences in what's learned with the two methods and some thoughts on how they can work together.

NH Old-Time Country Dance Website

The dance website focuses on old-time New England country dance: contradancing and New England square dancing. There is a major focus on New Hampshire dance traditions and history, and especially on dancing in the Seacoast area. There is coverage of the Lamprey River Band. There are some historical articles, and some stories about dancing in New Hampshire. There is discussion of the New England tradition and how it has evolved, including a look at how some of our chestnut contras have changed over the years. I look at some of the important square dance callers such as Ralph Page, Duke Miller, Frank Fortune, Phil Johnson and George Hodgson. And I present a number of dance programs and repertoires from different callers.

  • Star Hampshire Traditional Music & Dance Weekend. Although not part of this website, it's closely related and important to the history of Seacoast dancing, so I include a link to it.

An Overview of What's There with Links

Here's a quick overview of what to find in each section of the website.

Fiddle Music Website

NH Old-Time Country Dance Website

  • NH Old-Time Country Dance Home. Introduction and overview of the website and website news.
  • New England Dance Overview. An introduction to traditional New England dance and history, and some information useful for both new and experienced dancers.
  • The Lamprey River Band & The First Thursday Durham Dance. The Lamprey River Band has been playing in the Seacoast area since 1983. This section presents some history, and news of the First Thursday dance in Durham, now on hold.
  • New Hampshire Country Dance History. In progress. Discussion of the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter and a look at some of the events, dance topics and issues discussed in the Newsletter.
  • Dancing in the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire. Here I present my own musical background, how I learned to dance and started calling. There is a section on the square dance caller Phil Johnson, and a discussion of dancing without the need for a caller.
  • Dancing in New Hampshire & New England. To be expanded further. There's a page about the Bradford square dance and the 2007 Reunion Dance. There are some stories about playing for New Hampshire dances, getting to play Dick Richardson's fiddle, and a page on dancing in Maine, including the Bowdoinham dance and the Maine Country Dance Orchestra, and the influence of Otto Soper and Dudley Laufman. And what discussion of Maine dancing would be complete without a section on Lady of the Lake?
  • The Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend. Ralph Page, the Ralph Page Collection, and the Ralph Page Dance Legacy  Weekend.
  • Passing On Our Living Tradition. The New England tradition as a living tradition, how it gets passed on, what changes, and what remains fairly constant. How the chestnuts have evolved, and how the traditions get passed on.
  • Dance Programs. Here I present dance programs from some important square dance callers of New England (Duke Miller, Frank Fortune, George Hodgson), and discuss their repertoires.

Star Hampshire Traditional Music & Dance Weekend Archival Web Site. Although not part of NH Country Dance, it represents an important part of our history, so I include a link to it here.


About this Web Site

This is the Home Page for the NH Country Dance web site. The web site is divided into two semi-independent sections. One is concerned primarily with fiddling and fiddle tunes; the other primarily with New England contras and squares. Obviously there is overlap. This is the common page that unites the two sites.

It is run by Peter Yarensky, fiddler, hammered dulcimer player, piano player, contra and square dance caller and dancer from Seacoast New Hampshire, now living in Newmarket.

In previous incarnations it included the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter and web sites for the Star Hampshire and Ralph Page Weekends. For now it will be more limited in scope.

Contact Me

I invite you to contact me if you find any errors, broken links, if you have something of interest to tell me or if you have a question.  If you want to reach me you can reach me at peter dot yarensky at unh dot edu.


abc Codexx
Tune Links (16, indented)

Old-Time New England Fiddle & Dance, & Related Traditions