Most of my earlier dances are available in my books. I'm not going to publish any more books, so my new dances and interpretations will be published here on the website. There are also a number of dances by other people: in some cases the dances have connections with me; in others they're just good dances that I wanted to put before a wider audience. Some of these were published in English Dance and Song magazine when I was writing my “Dance Matters” column there.
Feel free to call any of the dances listed here, but please get them right and don't forget to tell the dancers who they're by!
I've categorised them the way I would the dance cards in my briefcase, so I separate the various formations and in some cases I separate Playford-style from American-style or General. A note for Americans: we say “Playford” rather than “English”, so you will find waltz dances under General. I've also included many of my interpretations (reconstructions) of dances from Playford and other publishers of that period.
As always, I've written the dances out as I would call them, rather than in a technical language which each caller will then have to translate into English. I've tried to make the instructions clear without being too pedantic. Unless otherwise stated, each paragraph is eight bars (measures) long. A full stop (period) marks the end of a four- or eight-bar phrase; a semicolon marks the end of a two-bar phrase. I find this very helpful when I'm calling a dance, but some people think I'm going out of my way to be difficult. All turns, circles and stars are once around unless otherwise noted.
Each dance has a [Print] button, so you can print out just the dances you want, instead of needing Print Preview to work out which page or pages to print.
The music is held in ABC format, which you can learn all about from the ABC Home Page. When you click the button the ABC is processed by programs on my server: ABCM2PS, ABC2MIDI, ABC2ABC, GhostScript, Timidity and Lame.
At this point you can listen to it as a MIDI or MP3 file — this gives you a chance to hear the tune without needing to be a musician. You can display the PDF output and then print or save it — you will need Adobe Reader which you can download here free of charge or you might prefer Nitro Reader or Sumatra PDF. Don't send anybody the address of the PDF file — that's generated dynamically and will not be kept on the server. You can see the ABC which produced all this. And you can switch from chords above the staff (American style) to chords below the stave (English style), transpose the tune into a different key, switch to a cello or viola version of the notation, and print the music in larger type with fewer bars to the line in case your eyes are getting old. There is now a Multi-Play option so that you can generate a recording of the tune a specified number of times through, with an introduction and a final chord, so if you call to recorded music and there isn't a recording of the tune you want, this is your best bet — you can even specify what instrumental sounds you want and change these each time through the tune.
If you want to edit lots of tunes and print out the modified musical notation (I can't think why you would!) you can pick up all the Tunes from colinhume.com and start from that. There's also a very nice way to see and hear all these tunes at abcnotation.com/searchTunes? q=site:colinhume.com/ABC.txt. If you're searching for tunes in ABC format, the two search engines I use are abcnotation.com/tunes and http://trillian.mit.edu/ ~jc/cgi/abc/tunefind
Browse to www.schristiancollins.
Copy some of the contents to a folder of your choice — the only file you need is GeneralUser---.sf2 but you might want to listen to the demo MIDIs — if you have good speakers they sound amazing.
Browse to coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth#download and download the current version of VirtualMIDISynth — just accept all the defaults and run the program once it's installed.
Click the + button, navigate to the folder of your choice and select GeneralUser---.sf2
You also need to click the MIDI Mapper tab and select VirtualMIDISynth #1 for both boxes.
Click “OK”. Your MIDI files will now sound so much better.