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Logistics for Dancing to Recorded Music

NashJc 09:56, 20 October 2007 (EDT)

In the Ottawa English Country Dance Club we have been evolving methods for providing recorded music for dancing. In historical sequence, these have been:

Cassette tapes

Some players (including a fairly inexpensive karaoke player we found at Canadian Tyre for <$100) have speed adjustment. Tapes are a great nuisance to cue and reset, are relatively fragile, often “noisy”, and get “lost” easily when being sorted and set out


Better than cassettes, but few inexpensive players can offer speed control. Some players are sensitive to vibration – especially in dances where the dancers like to “thump”. Easier cuing. Also a whole program for an evening can be burned onto a single CD

MP3 or Ogg-Vorbis files

Since the beginning of 2007 we have been using an old laptop computer (HP 1540, 256MB RAM, Celeron 2GHz processor, 40 GB hard drive) to provide music from MP3 tracks. We also have a few Ogg-Vorbis tracks (a similar compressed music format to MP3 with slig

Our system runs Ubuntu Linux (NashJc was President of the Ottawa Canada Linux Users Group This lets us choose from a number of music players and also to customize things. Thus we are using AlsaPlayer, of which the Octob

Wish list: A small, light laptop (coming according to friends working with the ASUS EEEPC). Flat, powerful speakers.

  NashJc: I now have an Eee PC. Gorgeous. 
  If I can now find battery powered speakers of sufficient volume 
  that are not too heavy,   I will have a truly portable system.  

Note: Making MP3 or Ogg-Vorbis files from recordings is a specialized topic. See Making_MP3s.

Other possibilities

Our laptop also runs Microsoft Windows XP and can use Windows Media Player to play tunes. This works fine, but seems to need a mouse and good motor skills on the part of the operator. WMP can speed up or slow down tracks.

Linux offers a number of “liveCD” or “liveUSB” versions. These are CDs, DVDs or USB drives that are plugged into (modern) computers and “boot” a complete operating system without touching the local hard drive. It is possible to have a complete dance syste

dance_logistics.txt · Last modified: 2014/07/15 21:47 (external edit)