Ditty Box Enterprises opened its doors as a going concern on 14.09.1999 with a small circle of business and private friends. On the same day, as part of the opening proceedings, webpages for Sönke Hohn's CD GAWD along with that of Walter Wiehert's Pinökel Grooves were launched into the World Wide Web.
Ditty Box Enterprises was set up as a new venture principally to provide Internet services for musicians. It was seen to be an ideal way of combining very active private music-making together with professional qualifications as an engineer with expertise in the various arcane arts (going back to the late 1950s with analog-computers) of computer hard- and software.
The enterprise was started resulting from dissatisfaction with the local music trade and being unable to promote my first CD, Ditty Box, in a manner fitting to the third millennium.
The Folk Music pages were launched in April 1997 at Geocities (Nashville/1242) as little more than a song list, a couple of anecdotes and a few *.wav files. The song list was derived from a Paradox 3.5 table which I then maintained to administrate my collection of songbooks and to produce programmes for the "Idle Fellows". I had just set up my business site, Technical Publications and Industrial Training Services and viewed these Folk Music pages as a vehicle to get to grips with HTML. I had no idea at that time, and certainly no intention, that these pages, Frankenstein-like, would take on a life of their own and that they would reshape and dominate both my business and private lives. Just like Topsy, they grew and grew.
As more and more anecdotes were written, then new webpages began to sprout. The first seedlings were the Irish and Plattdeutsch pages soon to be followed English and Australian pages. At this point the site was still manual, i.e. all pages were written using MS Wordpad which became ever more arduous as the site, number of tables, links etc. continued to grow. To put it bluntly the website had become unmanageable.. I had just completed a major software project and was in the luxurious position of being able to take time off and to find a software solution. Thus in January 1999, I wrote a Delphi 4 application to handle the problem. All data (anecdotes, links, etc. etc.) was put into a data base and my application converted the data into webpages. All HTML considerations are handled by the program which increased my productivity by at least one order of magnitude. In February of 1999, there was a veritable explosion of off-shoots: Sea Songs, Song Index as well as various recorder pages.
Due to my program it was fairly easy to absorb all the extra work necessary when entering the Amazon affiliate programmes in March 1999, this in turn lead to the Song Book, American, Gospel, German, Pub and Beatles webpages, all the while traffic increasing. The Folk-Music webpage were moved from Geocities in October 1999 to the present domain, run and maintained by my new undertaking, Ditty Box Enterprises. The last page to come on-line was the Scottish page. As of autumn 2000 the Chinese, Childrens, French, New Zealand and Welsh, tables have taken up independent existences as webpages.
The Recorder Music pages were launched in April 1998 at Geocities (Nashville/1242) as little more than tables of
other pieces, which were to be found in my personal library. There was just one anecdote on Albeniz-Tango with a mention of Ross Winters as a sort of trail-blazer. The tables were derived from Paradox 3.5 tables which I then maintained to administrate my collection of recorder music. In the following months I was bemused by the fact that these tables were attracting up to 30 surfers, occasionally more, per week and even more flattering, Nicholas Lander included me in his lists of "Recorder Players on the Web". This was during a period when my
folk music pages were drawing thousands. This shamed and jolted me into action so much that with very little ado, I threw my complete data base of
publishers and a little later an
index of recorder music into this wonderful World Wide Web of ours.
The next spike of activity came with the start of the Recorder Music Webring" in April 1999. At long last a few anecdotes (of low quality I must unfortunately hastily add) started to grace these lack-lustre pages and have since then slowly increased in momentum and entertainability. With the advent of becoming an affiliate with Amazon, the composer pages in particular started to blossom and my main musical references The New Penguin Dictionary of Music and The Oxford Companion to Music were heavily quoted and came to the fore.
The composers' pages have actually become the most complete on the whole website. They link recorder sheet music with CDs, websites and reocorder artists as well as not forgetting the publishers. They are even starting to make some impact on the folk music pages.
In response to many emails from people wishing to start recorder playing a modest list of Recorder Music Books was soon started and will continue to grow as more publications become available online.
A concert by Michala Petri in Bremen, North Germany, in December 1999, was the inspiration to finally start a recorder artists and ensembles webpage as a sort of homage to all those luminaries who got me, a young naval lad in the early 1960s, to blowing bits of wood with holes in them. The most daunting task of all (certainly never to be completed) was started with an E-commerce page on the complete discography (CDs) of recorder music.
Due to occasional difficulties with our domain here in Germany (www.grainger.de) we have been obliged to find alternative solutions and have opened up mirror sites at the following locations: