By-Ear Open Band

Welcome to the By-Ear Open Band (BEOB)! We play for Second Tuesday Contra Dances, 7:30-9:30 at the Park Avenue Community Center in Swarthmore PA. Musicians get in for half price ($5), and it's fine to switch off playing and dancing.

NOTE — the July dance is rescheduled to Tuesday July 30, at our usual Park Avenue Community Center location.

We ask only that you play from memory / by ear rather than using written music.

So many of us are used to the world of written music and aren’t confident playing from memory or by ear. But it’s the norm with traditional music and playing for dances, and many unconfident people have done great getting off the page with a little practice. The benefits are a much better connection with the dancers and the other musicians! And it opens up the world of playing tunes socially with other people.

You don't have to know all the tunes—if you’re strong on just a few we’ll make sure to play them. And picking up tunes on the fly is a time-honored tradition!

Feel free to contact Rick Mohr ([email protected]) for more info.

Set List  —  updated October 11, 2023

Here's the current set list. Learn them:

Print the set list  •  See the tune archive


The Orphan (Em) / Jimmy Ward's (G)

Long Hot Shower (D) / Myra's (A)

Tatter Jack Walsh (Dmix) / Handsome Young Maidens (A)

Hotel Verret (Em/G) / Hommage à Jos Bouchard (C/Am)

Jig to Reel

Idlewild (D/Bm) / Road to California (D)

Seanamhac Tube Station (Gm) / Devil in the Strawstack (Gm)


Liza Jane (A) / Ragtime Annie (D)

Puncheon Floor (G/D) / Old Gray Cat (Em)

Lamplighter's (A) / Rainy Night in Montague (Dmix)

Lady Ann Montgomery (D) / Mason's Apron (A)

Rock the Cradle Joe (D) / Nail That Catfish to a Tree (G)

Shenandoah Falls (A) / Pow Wow (Am/C)


On the Danforth (A) / Pete's March (D)

Seneca Square Dance (G) / Jenny's Gone to Linton (A)

Trip to Dingle (D) / Reign of Love (Em)

Quarry Cross (Em) / Prince William (A)


Far Away (Bm)

Rose by the Door (D)

Haapavesi Waltz (D)

Upper Valley Waltz (Dm)


Hear play it