The heyday of the Anglo-German concertina (1860s to World War I) coincided with a time when social dances in houses, barns, woolsheds and community halls were all the rage in working class urban and rural areas.  Here are 172 archival recordings of 36 early concertina players performing schottisches, polkas, quadrilles, waltzes, barn dances, mazurkas, and varsovianas from Ireland, England, Australia and South Africa - plus more from modern players in the old octave style.  

The digital book explores such topics as:

  • Nineteenth century social dances
  • Global sources of the house dance repertoire
  • Old-style octave playing on the concertina
  • The banning of house dances in early twentieth century Ireland
  • Biographies and playing styles of early concertina players (with archival recordings)
  • Modern players in the old octave style (with recordings)

It includes more than 150 photos and graphics, plus more than 200 sound files in MP3 format.

In CDRom format, it can be ordered in the UK (£12) and in the US ($23).


The recordings are immensely charming and illustrative of the musicians and their times…it makes for a wonderful experience to read through the generally brief chapters and to listen to the audio files, an experience I would recommend to every concertina player interested in the historical dimension of the instrument, its repertory, and its contexts. A striking contribution.
               - Dr. Gage Averill, Dean of Arts, University of British                                  Columbia

We live in an age in which modern technology is taken for granted. And yet every so often something pops up which seems to use technology in a new way and makes one feel so glad that we live in the 21st century. This disk is just such a product...I have to tell you that it is stunning. It is the ability to read the book on screen and listen to the audio samples at the same time which turns a first-class piece of musicology into a very special experience.
                 - Chris Metherell, English Dance and Song (UK), 2012

This book is so much more than its title suggests….it is a fascinating experience of reading and listening, and although you may not be able to pick it up and physically browse through it, you will find yourself coming back to it again and again.
                   - Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh, Béaloideas (Journal of the                                    Irish Folklore Society), 2012

House Dance: Dance music played on the Anglo-German concertina by musicians of the house dance era  (CDRom)

Pleasant Bend