Thank you all for sharing!  You’ve been very helpful.

As a caller I’ve always known that callers who are staring at a card and not looking at the dancers are not in tune with the dancers I.e. so much information coming from the dancers is lost.

I’ve always assumed the same is true of musicians.

The reason I’m asking is I’m playing percussion in a band with very good players.  They play good music but it could be more exciting.  Their fear is preventing them from going dotless.

Reading your responses have made me think more about this and I’ve come up with the following:

Playing exciting contra music requires;

Mastery of the instrument.
Willingness to take risks
Ability to multitask: listen to others, the caller, watch the dancers.
Know the ins and outs of the activity (rules, norms, traditions)

I’m sure there’s more.............


Sent from my iPad

On May 17, 2019, at 2:49 PM, bschmid55 <> wrote:

That is such an evocative question and I'd love to hear how that came to your mind. I agree with the jeffs and meg and others... the ability to watch the dancers is an asset... and having spent lots of time with a particular tune so the rhythm is a part of you i think leads to knowing how to manipulate a dance that you're watching. 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: Jeff Kaufman via Musicians <>
Date: 5/17/19 8:34 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: tom hinds <>
Subject: Re: [Musicians] Dots

I think learning the music well enough that you don't need to see it
while playing is well worth it: once you're playing from memory you
have much more ability to vary what you're doing in the moment in
response to the feel of the hall and what the dancers are doing.
(This goes for written chords as well as written notes.)

On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 6:53 AM tom hinds via Musicians
<> wrote:
> I’d like to know people’s opinion of using music while playing for a contra dance.   Is it easier to create excitement if the musicians play by ear?  Thanks in advance for your opinion, Tom Hinds
> Sent from my iPad
> _______________________________________________
> Musicians mailing list
Musicians mailing list