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Jim Besser

Theme Of The Month, March 2015: Jigs

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As a Morris, ceilidh and contra dance musician, I play lots of jigs, but I'm like an addict - I always crave more. And what better place to search for great new jigs than here in TOTM land?

Let’s hear your favorite jigs: old ones, new ones, traditional or not traditional, easy or challenging, 32 bar or 48 or whatever. Maybe even a jig you wrote.

English and Irish jigs abound, and don’t be shy about recording and posting old favorites.

 

But I’m also hoping we’ll get some great tunes from other parts of the world and some quirky tunes.

Let’s not quibble about terminology. Is it a jig or a slide? What about slip jigs? Well, if it’s a good tune, who cares? If it seems like a jig, has jig in the name, makes you want to dance a jig, it’s fair game. (Yes, I know, there are tunes that have ‘jig’ in the name that are distinctly not jigs, Chorus Jig being a notable example.)

Edited by Jim Besser

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Here are a couple of nice three-parters to kick things off.

 

http://youtu.be/72AQ-qX7_zE

 

I can't remember where I learned "Snug in the Blanket," but it may have been from the CD of the same name by Paddy O'Brien of Co. Offaly. Just to confuse matters, I pair it here with "The Coming of Spring," which is a composition of the late Paddy O'Brien of Co. Tipperary, and which I learned from his book of tunes. So you get two Paddys for the price of one.

 

I hadn't meant to pounce so quickly on the Theme of the Month, but I've been meaning, for the sake of simplicity, to wean myself off the PC and move all the steps of video production to the iPad. This afternoon I was pondering what to record for a trial run when the ice storm raging outside brought to mind these two titles, which just happen to be jigs.

 

So here they are, and here's to The Coming of Spring.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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...I play lots of jigs, but I'm like an addict - I always crave more.

I think there's a 12-stepdance program for that. :unsure:

 

Let’s not quibble about terminology.

Oh, why not? :D

 

Is it a jig or a slide? What about slip jigs? Well, if it’s a good tune, who cares? If it seems like a jig, has jig in the name, makes you want to dance a jig, it’s fair game. (Yes, I know, there are tunes that have ‘jig’ in the name that are distinctly not jigs, Chorus Jig being a notable example.)

"Distinctly not" of the rhythms that are commonly called "jig" today -- the ones that sound like humpty-dumpty or jiggety-jiggety-jiggety, etc., -- but remember that in Morris dancing the word "jig" generally just means "solo dance", no matter what the rhythm. And some Scandinavian (and other) tunes have "jig"-like rhythms, but the locals don't call them "jigs".

 

English and Irish jigs abound...

 

But I’m also hoping we’ll get some great tunes from other parts of the world...

My above comment notwithstanding, I hope so, too. :)

 

Maybe even a jig you wrote.

Okay, I'll start off by recycling a pair of jigs I posted for last month's Theme of the Month,

Tompkins Square and Tobin's Favorite, since the first is one of my own.

 

And now I'll start a fresh post with some more jigs to potentially feed your "habit". ;)

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Here are a couple of Irish jigs that I often play in a "set" that I start with a slow air: Humours of Castlecomer and Road to Lisdoonvarna.

And here's another of my own compositions: Ripe Brie.

I may as well tell the story of that last one: A friend who was visiting asked me how I was able to compose tunes. Rather than attempt to describe a process that is really different every time, I decided to try to compose one while she watched and listened. She liked the result (so do I), so I asked her to name one of her favorite things... and that's how it came to be called "Ripe Brie". :)


Here are two more traditional Irish jigs: Shandon Bells and St. Patrick's Day (in the Morning).

The above were recorded at various times on various treble English concertinas (and under various acoustic and technical conditions).

Edited by JimLucas

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Let's not forget that tunes can also be used for songs, and jig tunes are no exception.

Here's a well-known sailor's song, about an infamous but actual person who ran a boarding house and "sailing school" in Liverpool. I follow it with a tune that just happens to start off almost the same as the song: Paddy West and Mouse in the Cupboard.

Next is a popular Irish song to a slip jig melody. I sing it in the key of F, but here I end on concertina alone, switching to the usual instrumental key of D. Rocky Road to Dublin.

And a song by Irishman Samuel Lover (1797-1868): Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

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And here's another of my own compositions: Ripe Brie.

I may as well tell the story of that last one: A friend who was visiting asked me how I was able to compose tunes. Rather than attempt to describe a process that is really different every time, I decided to try to compose one while she watched and listened. She liked the result (so do I), so I asked her to name one of her favorite things... and that's how it came to be called "Ripe Brie". :)

 

 

 

 

That is a really good tune!

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And here's another of my own compositions: Ripe Brie.

I may as well tell the story of that last one: A friend who was visiting asked me how I was able to compose tunes. Rather than attempt to describe a process that is really different every time, I decided to try to compose one while she watched and listened. She liked the result (so do I), so I asked her to name one of her favorite things... and that's how it came to be called "Ripe Brie". :)

 

That is a really good tune!

 

Thanks. (Where's the "Aw, shucks!" smiley?) I do think it's one of my better ones.

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And here's another of my own compositions: Ripe Brie.

 

That is a really good tune!

 

Agreed. It's lovely - almost Camembert.

 

Some jiggly offerings from me: a couple of pretty well known tunes - Sixpenny Money and Trip to Sligo - played on a John Connor C/G anglo. Regrettably, I originally learned these on my old G/D anglo so they're not in the right/usual keys here.

And you said slip jigs were allowed so here's the classic An Phis Fhliuch (or Boy in the Bush or O'Farrell's Welcome to Limerick), on English concertina. Still not really getting the pulse on EC but working at it!

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A Morris tune I rarely get to play because we haven't done the dance in years: the oddly named Picking Up the Meadows, written by my Foggy Bottom Morris musician colleague Jim Lewis.

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68325595/C.net%20Tune%20of%20the%20Month/picking%20up%20the%20meadows.MP3

 

Played in D and A on a 30 button Jeffries G/D.

 

The only other recording of the tune is on the informally produced "A Night with Big Nick," by the late, great Jeffries duet player Big Nick Robertshaw.

Edited by Jim Besser

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A Morris tune I rarely get to play because we haven't done the dance in years: the oddly named Picking Up the Meadows, written by my Foggy Bottom Morris musician colleague Jim Lewis.

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68325595/C.net%20Tune%20of%20the%20Month/picking%20up%20the%20meadows.MP3

 

Good example of a jig-time Morris tune. Does Jim (Lewis) play it on the melodeon?

 

Please tell him I said, "Hi". :)

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A Morris tune I rarely get to play because we haven't done the dance in years: the oddly named Picking Up the Meadows, written by my Foggy Bottom Morris musician colleague Jim Lewis.

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68325595/C.net%20Tune%20of%20the%20Month/picking%20up%20the%20meadows.MP3

 

Good example of a jig-time Morris tune. Does Jim (Lewis) play it on the melodeon?

 

Please tell him I said, "Hi". :)

 

 

Will do.

 

Funny thing - I've never actually played it with Jim. More often than not, I'm the only musician, and the few times we've done the Upton Hankie Dance in the 9 years I've been with the team, he hasn't been there. But I assume he does play it on melodeon.

 

I always thought it was a shame this tune wasn't more widely used; it's a really good one, IMO.

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Here's another jig -- or "gigue" -- of my own composition. It's actually the second "movement" of a 2-movement "suite" that I wrote for a young oboeist who said she really liked baroque music.

 

Fantasia Teresia - 2nd movement (Gigue)

 

 

Very nice, Jim. I can imagine it must sound wonderful played on the oboe, especially the B part.

 

Chris

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And here's another of my own compositions: Ripe Brie.

I may as well tell the story of that last one: A friend who was visiting asked me how I was able to compose tunes. Rather than attempt to describe a process that is really different every time, I decided to try to compose one while she watched and listened. She liked the result (so do I), so I asked her to name one of her favorite things... and that's how it came to be called "Ripe Brie". :)

 

 

 

 

That is a really good tune!

 

 

 

And not at all 'cheesy'! :ph34r:

 

Chris

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...Indian Point, written by Rick Mohr, a Philadelphia-area Morris, ceilidh and contra dance musician.

Philadelphia these days? Rick has been around. I remember him first from Connecticut, where I believe he was largely responsible for the New Haven Morris team's unique tradition.

 

Indian Point, by the way, is a nuclear power station on the Hudson River in New York State. I don't know for sure, but I would guess that Rick composed the tune during the period when the station's first reactor was often in the news, the focus of safety concerns and public protests. (That reactor was subsequently shut down.)

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...Indian Point, written by Rick Mohr, a Philadelphia-area Morris, ceilidh and contra dance musician.

Philadelphia these days? Rick has been around. I remember him first from Connecticut, where I believe he was largely responsible for the New Haven Morris team's unique tradition.

 

Indian Point, by the way, is a nuclear power station on the Hudson River in New York State. I don't know for sure, but I would guess that Rick composed the tune during the period when the station's first reactor was often in the news, the focus of safety concerns and public protests. (That reactor was subsequently shut down.)

 

 

I had the same thought, but never asked him. Rick plays for the Kingsessing Morris Men, and is in the Big Phat American Ceilidh Band - we did a big gig with them a couple of years ago.

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