About The Ontario Traditional Music Library


The online version of this project started under highly informal circumstances when my friend Brad McEwen (Artistic Director of the Millrace Folk Society ) brought my attention to a folk music website that he was a fan of. It was (and is) a wide-ranging regional resource of folk music and dance from Glouscestershire UK (glostrad.com). After a quick look around it seemed to me that it could be fun to have of those kinds of resources available to anyone interested in traditional music from right here in Ontario.

My closet seemed like it might be a good place to start.

After a bit of discussion with Brad, Bill Nesbitt, Anne Lederman, Mac Swackhammer and others I weighted the merits of creating the projects under the auspices of an existing academic institution or cultural organization. Once I came to understand that this could take years - I decided to go rogue with it. A Kickstarter Campaign raised money to get the website up and a talented and sympathetic website designer, David Bowen of Businesslore created the fairly complex platform required to be able to present the images, text, MIDI files, sound samples and videos that you can access through the site. The sheet music is in the form of JPGs. To print them just save them to your own computer first.

The Ontrad Library is curated by me. It is largely the result of my having performed Ontario folk music in many forms and in many situations since the late 1970s. Over the past four decades many people have given me many wonderful things. These have included old sheet music, photocopies of manuscripts, early recordings, musical instruments, photographs, and other ephemera. In the course of putting together programmes of historical music I have also done a lot of original research that has yielded more of the same. This material has been accumulating in boxes, bookshelves and more recently computer files in the room where I say I work.

When I first started wanting to learn and perform old Ontario music in the late 1970s I found it very difficult to find suitable material to work with. I spent a lot of time in libraries, archives, flea markets, jam sessions and square dances to learn the little bit that know now. It is my hope that The Ontario Traditional Music Library will make this task easier for anyone who might happen to want to do the same thing now.

Ontario has countless separate and equally valuable folk music traditions. I have made no attempt to make this collection all-inclusive. The initial (several hundred) entries are essentially the result of me digitizing the contents of the room I'm working in now. Thus, what you will find here are things that were of interest to a non-academic folk musician. None-the-less, there's quite a lot of it, and I still think it's pretty interesting. I welcome material from other traditions if someone with a good grasp of them is willing to submit examples.

Many volunteers have already stepped forward to help with a number of different tasks to make this site a reality. To them, all thanks.

Finally, I make no claim to hold copyright on any of the material that appears on this site. Whenever possible I have attempted to seek permission for to use of items that may be considered the property of others. If there is something on this site that you feel should not be there please contact me and we'll sort it out.

We have recorded sound files, sheet music, images and text
that can be found by browsing the following topics or through a keyword search below.

To find media about a subject select from the drop down menus below and click the "Search Library" button.

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About The Ontario Traditional Music Library

Browsing the ONTRAD Library

Donors & Contributors

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Social Life & Love

On the Farm & In the Bush

Reference Material

Ontario Fiddle Hit Parade

Other Music, Dance & Entertainments

Politics & Conflict

Lakes & Rivers

Songs of LaRena Clark

Manuscripts and Collections

Jack Hayes Tunes

Grenville Hall Collection

Choral Music

John Buttrey Manuscript

G.W. Bennett Manuscript

Allen Ash Manuscript



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Ontario Traditional Music Library

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