In earlier centuries, life was just as rich with music as it is in modern times and musicians played their fiddles, flutes, cellos, bassoons etc. in a variety of styles and for a range of purposes. They often wrote down their repertoire in music manuscript books. Some of these have been transcribed and published in recent years. The Village Music Project grew out of a realisation that these few manuscript books were actually the tip of a medium sized iceberg and in fact there were many more books lurking beneath the surface, hidden in archives and libraries.
Along with my colleague Chris Partington, I formulated a proposal to assemble as many copies of these manuscript books as we could get access to and transcribe them for the internet using abc code, a widely used method of sharing simple tunes electronically. and managed to raise some embryonic funding.
A number of people have contributed to the work of the project by volunteering help in unearthing manuscripts, transcribing the contents and researching the history of the original owners where possible. The results so far can be seen on the web site.