Tag Archives: Jig

Session Class I – Fall 2012

On to Hornpipes. Like reels, in 4/4 time, but have a different feel to them despite the same time signature. And I must say, I do have a fondness for them on banjo! Okay, first one we’ll do is Rights of Man, but since we missed a week due to Sandy, I’ve tagged on Boys of Blue Hill as well! One reason I chose Rights of Man first is that there is a very good opportunity in the A part to substitute triplets, eighth notes and quarter notes as variations (notation has the quarter note and eighth note approaches). You can hear some of it (quickly) in the recording, but we’ll go over it in class as well. The recording of Boys of Blue Hill actually has 3 hornpipes (comes back around to BOBH at the end). But since it was fiddle and guitar it seemed like a good choice, plus the kids playing it were just so cute and happy.

Listen to Boys of Blue Hill
Notation for Boys of Blue Hill Hornpipe in Key of D

Listen to Rights of Man by De Danann
Notation for Rights of Man Hornpipe in Key of Em
[Sorry, neither tune turned out to be in O’Flaherty’s]

Also, to follow-up with Scott’s question about how to make the tunes a little less monotonous, a couple of thoughts. First, especially for you fiddles and whistles (probably accordions too), playing it with a bit of a lilt (e.g. every eight note is not the same, some are longer than others – PINE-apple rather than pine-ap-ple) can make a difference. Also, you can add in (or take out) notes to vary rhythmic patterns. As an example, below I’ve changed the rhythmic pattern in the first measure of Merrily Kissed the Quaker (and the note as well) to show how you can create a variation to make the tune more interesting without really changing the basic tune. On the next measure (also 3 8th notes), you could leave out the B as well and mimic the same change in the rhythm. Give it a try and see what you think!

Our 3rd (and final) jig is Stan Chapman’s by Jerry Holland. I’ve also heard it called Willie’s Trip to Toronto. It is named after a well-known Cape Breton fiddle player. If you haven’t heard Cape Breton fiddling, here is a sample played by, why, Stan Chapman! I think from the example, you can see why Jerry named the tune Stan Chapman’s. Lively, fun stuff! I like this one following Blarney Pilgrim because the A parts are similar, but Stan Chapman’s is up a key (G->A) and very major, so it provides some real “lift” at the end of the set. See if you agree!

Listen to Stan Chapman’s Key of A, by Ed Pearlman and Tony Cuffe (followed by a nice Scottish tune for Erin)
Listen to Stan Chapman’s by Matching Orange (lovin’ the piano!)

Here’s the notation (remember, you can leave out the first or second pick up notes in the B part – the high A and F# – or use them as variations).

So, our second “jig” is called Merrily Kissed the Quaker, and I’ve seen it listed as a slide as well. Slides and jigs are certainly related, and many rhythm players will play a slide using a very rapid jig strumming pattern. But there’s definitely a different feel to where the rhythmic emphasis is between a jig and a slide. Anyway, we’ll play Merrily with a jig feel to it and it fits very nicely with Blarney Pilgrim. It’s also a 3 part tune (AABBCC) with a very recognizable 3rd part. To me, both these tunes set up the C part beautifully. Maybe that is one reason they seem to go together so well!

Listen to Merrily Kissed the Quaker by Planxty (a classic Celtic band)
Notation for Merrily Kissed the Quaker Key of G

Our first jig is a delightful tune with a very recognizable 3rd part called Blarney Pilgrim. Yes, so this one is a 3 part tune (AABBCC) in the key of G (though the 3rd part begins on the D, or 5th, chord). Oddly enough, I couldn’t find a recording that I was thrilled with for various reasons, but here are two that will do. The 1st one kind of cracked me up.

Listen to Blarney Pilgrim on whistles.
Listen to Blarney Pilgrim with a new age kind of groove.
Here’s the notation (with suggested chords).

Here’s a link to a very full discussion on various Irish rhythms (perhaps more than you want right now) found on irishtune.info, a terrific source for information. Also of interest is a survey of people on the site who play various tunes, so you can see which tunes of each type are most popular. Again, another source for answering the question, “which tunes should I learn first?”.

Here are the two tune compilations from O’Flaherty’s Retreat in Texas.
O’Flaherty’s Retreat Tune List #1
O’Flaherty’s Retreat Tune List #2

Though these tune compilations are wonderful resources, it is more important to listen than to read. Know the tune first before you refer to the notation and try not to continue to read the music after you’ve learned the tune. It will take a bit of practice to learn that skill if you’re used to reading music, but it will help improve your ability to learn by ear and pick up tunes at sessions. Remember, we’re in this for the long haul! I offer you these tips from Alan Ng to underscore that point. [Thanks to Brock for the link from his class]

So our tune for week 3 is (Joe) Cooley’s, a two part reel in the key of E minor. This is a good choice as last year’s session class also learned it, it has been in the BRIMS repertoire for a long time (I believe it is even on the first BRIMS learning CD by Tes and Sara), and is also a KGB tune. Point being, it is played in Charlottesville regularly. Also, played at most slow jams at Swannanoa. Yes, this is one that should be in your tune list!

Listen to Joe Cooley’s Reel by the Dubliners (can’t beat this banjo playing by Barney McKenna, Julie). Great set of tunes too!
Listen to Cooley’s on tin whistle (for Debbie)

Here’s the notation (with suggested chords). Like last week, try playing the 3 reels together in different orders. What order do you prefer? If it were up to you, how would you arrange the set?

Merry Blacksmith is a 2 part reel in the key of D (again, reels are in 4/4 time – 4 quarter note beats to the measure). And, when I say a two part reel, I mean that it generally follows the pattern of AABB, meaning play the A part twice, then the B part twice. Sometimes there are some variations to the parts, but most of the time a two part reel will follow that pattern. So, one thing you might listen for when you hear a new tune is whether it is a 2 part tune (AABB) or 3 part (AABBCC) or something else. Below are two recordings of Merry Blacksmith by very famous Irish bands. One by Planxty and the other from, oddly enough, the same Solas workshop that provided Father Kelly’s.

Listen to Merry Blacksmith (Planxty Live) Note that the tune begins at .35 in.
Listen to Merry Blacksmith (Solas Workshop)

Here’s the notation (with suggested chords). One suggestion for practice is to practice both tunes together but mix it up. One time Father Kelly’s first, next time Merry Blacksmith first.

For week one, let’s all learn the reel, Father Kelly’s. It’s a 2 part reel in the key of G. Three of us had it marked to learn, and it is new to the other two, so we’ll all be learning it together (including me!). Below are links to listen to the tune and notation as well. The video is played by members of the group Solas, but at a good learning pace. For those of you who like to learn tunes from notation, please listen to the tune multiple times so that you know the tune before diving into the notation… maybe even see if you can pick out the A or B part by ear! The notation is from the resources on O’Flaherty’s Retreat and yes, it even has suggested chords (Stacy and John!)

Listen to Father Kelly’s (video begins part way through the tune. The A part of tune begins at .28)

Here’s the notation:

BRIMS Classes: Session Workshop Spring 2012

Hi Sessioneers,

Welcome to the Spring 2012 link for our Session Workshop tunes! We’ll be meeting every other week for 7 weeks starting January 17. I’ve asked everyone to provide 3 tunes they’d like to learn and we’ll try to choose the new tunes from that list as our new tunes and then put those in a set with tunes we’ve covered previously. No worries if you only have time to learn one of the two new tunes. I’m just putting two out there for those who either already know one of them, or who just want to learn two tunes.

For April 17th Class:

Note that due to Spring break, class is 3 weeks from our last one. For next class, continue to work on Lark in the Morning and Drops of Brandy. We’ll decide on what to play for the recital and practice that as well. And remember to come to the session at C’ville Coffee on April 7th (Saturday before Easter – moved from Thursday).

New Tune for March 27th Class:

Lark in the Morning (4 part jig)   Watch   View Notation   Key of D

[Notes: Guy suggested this tune and although it is a 4 part jig, thanks to some fairly repetitive phrases, it isn’t as overwhelming as you might think. For those of you going to Swannanoa, it’s a good tune to pick up as it has been played nightly there in years past. The youtube video has it along with Jig of Slurs, another cooking 4 part jig with a great lift from the key change for parts 3 and 4.]

New Tunes for March 13th Class:

Humors Of Kiltyclogher (jig)   Watch   View Notation   Key of Am (needs the C)
Drops of Brandy (slip jig)   Watch  Listen   View Notation in G   View Notation in D   Key of G

[Notes: Humors Humours of Kilclougher Kill Clougher Kiltyclougher… yep, one of those. Nice tune and a little different feel from most jigs, almost slide-like at times. Drops of Brandy is a slip jig that we learned during our last trip to Ireland, so it is great to revisit it. I’ve included the notation in G and D. The notation in G leaves out the high variation in the B part that I’m familiar with and it is a different version than the D version which illustrates some of the potential variations. And just for Catherine, let’s make it a set with a regular jig thrown in at the end. That should help demonstrate the difference between a jig and slip jig beyond 6/8 and 9/8 time signature. Guy’s piping today drew me to this recording which also provides some very nice variations on a tune that really favors them.]

New Tunes for February 28th Class:

Connie Walsh’s Slide   Watch   View Notation   Key of D
Banshee Reel   View   View Notation   Key of G

[Notes: The YouTube poster called both tunes in the Connie Walsh’s set jigs, but Connie Walsh’s is a slide and Old Favorite is a jig – remember that one, Julie? See if you can hear the difference in the rhythm. Slides and jigs are definitely related due to the groups of 3 eighth notes together, but there is a different feel to them. On Banshee Reel, I believe the recording starts partway through the B part, so you’ll have to wait for it to come around. And, at the end of the recording, you’ll hear the king of the Celtic Instruments – or at least the one that is hardest to argue with.]

New Tunes for February 14th Class:

Ballydesmond Polkas (1 & 2)   Watch Listen to #1 #2  View Notation #1 #2   Key of Am
Ballyvourney Polka   Listen   View Notation   

[Notes: On the Ballydesmonds, there is some discussion on which is #1, #2 and #3. For what it is worth, these are the two I’ve heard played most in our area and are almost always played in this order and known as #1 and #2. Joe also played the Ballyvourney which is a great polka to end a set, and I mistakenly called it the New Roundabout (which is another good polka, so I owe Guy a beer!). Since a few of you already knew the Ballydesmonds, figured I’d give you a bonus tune. Maybe this could become the Bally Set.]

New Tunes for January 31st Class:

(Jig) Mist on the Mountain   Watch   View Notation   Key of Am
(Hornpipe) Home Ruler   Watch   View Notation   Key of D

[Note: Found these tunes on a YouTube channel where both the melody and guitar accompaniment are nice and clear. Their channel has quite a few good session tunes (including some on our list). Thanks to Holly and Sue for the tune suggestions! Keep ’em coming! Also Mist on the Mountain is also known as Mist Covered Mountain and on the Home Ruler link, Kitty’s Wedding, another hornpipe, is also played. This is one of the most popular hornpipe sets and the two tunes are often played together.]

Jig Set (3x each)
Timmy Cliffords’s   Listen   View Notation   Key of G
Garrett Barry’s   Watch   View Notation   Key of Dm
Jimmy Ward’s   Listen   View Notation   Key of G

Also, for reference, here are some helpful links to past tunes and lists:
Fall 2011 Session Class Tune Sets
Spring 2011 Session Class Tune Sets
pdf of Fall 2011 Session Class Tune List

Pipe on the Hob

This week, Alex taught Patrick Ourseau’s version of Pipe on the Hob which is a completely different tune than the one I know. You might know this version from the Live at Mona’s CD which, not surprisingly, features Patrick on Fiddle and is a also great “source for tunes” CD!

Pipe on the Hob (reel)  Listen   View Notation

Now, since this is going on the internet, it seems only right to put up the other version that I was familiar with so that folks are aware of both versions. The 3 part version below has notation on thesession.org and in the Fiddler’s Fakebook. Here’s that version, as the first tune in a sweet set.

Pipe on the Hob (Alternate version) Watch  View Notation

So, who knows how we ended up with different versions out there? The question came up in session class as well with regard to different notation, or that the same tune is known by different names. The answer, of course, has to do with how the tunes have been passed down over the years. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about the names and just play the tunes! All part of my new mantra – “Delicious Ambiguity” – embrace it!

Session Workshop Tunes – Fall 2011

Hi Gang,

Welcome to the Fall 2011 link for our Session Workshop tunes!

First thing, this Fall there is a new twist on the class tune list. I’ve taken what everyone sent me and grouped them by rhythm and provided you (and me) with a list of who knows the tune, who is working on the tune, and who wants to learn the tune. This will help us choose set lists, and also help you choose a set list to play balancing your own playing skills with tunes that the group knows. The list is comprised only of tunes that were listed by at least two people. Please click here to view the pdf. Also feel free to update the list you sent me, now that you have a better idea of why I requested a list from you!

Below you’ll find links to where you can listen to / watch the tunes as well as a link to view a version of the notation from thesession.org. This Fall, I’m going to try to find links where the tunes are played in a session setting, to give you a different flavor for the tune. Also, you’ll be able to hear some additional tunes that might go with the tune we’re learning. When you listen to the set, what makes for a good set of tunes? Also, pay attention to the transitions. What makes transitions interesting / difficult / easy / smooth, etc.?

Most Recent Class Notes
We were missing a bunch of folks on Tuesday, and those that were there weren’t quite ready for the new jig set, so I quickly changed gears and taught the Breton set I had learned this summer. For next class, we’ll work on the new jig set in earnest and, of course, practice the original jig set for the recital (note: for the recital, we’ll just play each tune 2x instead of the usual 3x).

For those who would like to review the Breton Andros set, you can listen to it here.

Jig Set #1 (3x each) Note that the recording may not start at the beginning of the tune.
Lilting Banshee   Watch   View Notation   Key of Am
Tripping Up The Stairs   Watch   View Notation   Key of D (A part) Bm (B part)
Banish Misfortune   Watch   View Notation   Key of D mix

Jig Set #2 (3x each)
Timmy Cliffords’s   Listen   View Notation   Key of G
Garrett Barry’s   Watch   View Notation   Key of Dm
Jimmy Ward’s   Listen   View Notation   Key of G

Slip Jig set (3x each)
The Butterfly   Listen  View Notation   Key of Em
Rocky Road to Dublin   Listen   View Notation   Key of Am   Dubliners singing it!
(Optional) Foxhunter’s Slip Jig   Listen   View Notation   Key of D

Hornpipe Set (2x each)
Chief O’Neill’s Favorite   Watch  Listen (KAJ version)  View Notation   Key of D
Rights of Man   Watch   View Notation   Key of Em
Harvest Home   Watch   View Notation   Key of D

Reel Set (3x each)
Cooley’s   Listen  View Notation   Key of Em
My Love is in America   Watch (note cool variations!)   View Notation   Key of D
Star of Munster   Watch – maybe just a tad fast 😉   View Notation   Key of Am

(and, we added this one in last week)
The Earl’s Chair (reel)  Listen   View Notation

Polka Set (3x each)
John Walsh’s   Listen  View Notation   Key of G
John Brosnan’s (aka John Walsh’s locally)   Listen  View Notation   We play it in key of G, notation here is key of D – so if you learn from notation, start on the G rather than D

It was a real treat to come across this video featuring Connie O’Connell playing this particular set of polkas that we worked on (plus one more). Let’s use his order for the set. One of the highlights of our recent trip to Ireland was learning tunes from Connie. Also, fiddlers, note his bowing style – he was quite insistent about the proper bowing on polkas!

I also have to add that there is likely to be some confusion over the John Walsh set. I spent a bit of time this week trying to sort that out and decided upon the above naming for the tunes, which is different than how Alex taught them in our intro fiddle class a couple of years ago, so I know I’m going against the local grain here! The session.org and several other sites listed John Walsh’s as what Alex taught as John Walsh’s #2 and I’ve listed as John Walsh’s above (and Tes taught years ago in BRIMS as John Walsh’s #1) but there was less agreement on the 2nd tune, so additional comments to raise our level of confusion are much appreciated. Ultimately, I think names are less important when it comes to polkas. Often they’ll just be listed as “Kerry Polkas” on a CD. But I did want to make sure that our students were aware of some of the alternatives here so as not to be caught flatfooted (so to speak) at sessions!

Class Tune List (pdf)

Banish Misfortune

Here’s yesterday’s tune for Alex’s class and lo and behold, it is also one of the tunes for our Session Workshop jig set. Great tune also! Session Workshop folks, this will have to hold you for a day or so as I compile the new tune lists.

Banish Misfortune (Jig)  Listen   View Notation  Key of D mix

Also, thanks to John B. from Session Class, here’s a pretty cool version of it. Click here for a banjo treat.

Sue (and any others having trouble playing the recordings), if you have a version of Foxfire 5 or above, it will have a built-in mp3 player (also better security and built-in pdf viewer). You can download the latest version here. Please let me know if this works!

Jig Lyonnaise

This is a little Em jig that I’ve been dabbling with over the last couple of months and finally decided it was finished just before I left for Lyon. All that remained was coming up with a name, so while I was in Lyon, I decided to name it after the city’s famous salad, Salad Lyonnaise, and the amazing lettuce we were able to get at the local market. It’s also kind of a slower jig, as life in France does seem flow along at a more relaxed pace (one of its many pleasures).

Listen to Jig Lyonnaise.

Katherine’s also been working on a delightful blog about her time in France. If you’re looking for a little escape from work, it’s a lovely diversion. But be forewarned, it should not be read on an empty stomach!