Music Collection

The Canadian Traditional Music Collection was intended to raise awareness of modern Canadian culture and to shed light on its musical roots. Canadian culture is seen too often as a pale reflection of the culture of the United States. By looking to the rich diversity of Canadian musical traditions, we are more able to see what defines Canada as a country.

Alfred Montmarquette

Alfred Montmarquette

About the Collection

For the purposes of this collection, the term ‘traditional’ has been loosely defined. Rather than limit the scope of this project with definitions, it was deemed better to let the term be a starting point for discourse in thinking and talking about tradition. While the traditional nature of Cape Breton fiddling is difficult to dispute, the debate created by Ashley MacIsaac’s radical deconstruction of Cape Breton fiddle is essential to understanding the nature of his tradition. The hope is that the collection will encourage users to define tradition for themselves and to look for the role tradition plays in their own musical heritage.

The Collection is the brainchild of Cody Case and Devon Léger (, a former student of ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. They developed the following Canadian music collections for UW Libraries. Devon currently works for local non-profit Northwest Folklife and recently completed research on the music of the Washington/British Columbia borderlands and oversees QuébecNW group featuring monthly music events. See the links below for the collections and QuébecNW.

Dr. Douglas Jackson deserves much thanks for his encouragement and support of this project as does Associate Director Nadine Fabbi, whose ongoing help was invaluable, and Lana Harvey, who built a beautiful website to showcase the collection. This Collection was made possible with the support of the Canada Studies department of the University of Washington.