how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

not a wind up post…..Im an intermediate level player, started playing a few years ago. I have a fair amount of tunes now under my belt…Im gradually learning the "feel" and rhythm of jigs vs reels vs hornpipes, but is there any rule of thumb to tell one apart from another?

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Jigs: Rump-ada, rump-ada, rump-ada…

Reels: Rump-adidle, rump-adidle, rump-adidle

Some also use "Double-Decker, double decker, double decker…" for reels

I’m not sure how to sing hornpipe rhythm

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Smell! Dogs know the difference… The best way is around the backside… ;-) (~ and you probably think I’m jestin’ you…)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

"intermediate level player" ~ not yet you aren’t, not if you’re asking this. Additionally ~ it isn’t quite that simple, just 3 things to choose from, as those are just for starters and don’t include the sub-headings and related ‘others’… If you really are having a problem with this ~ do a little dancing, or go and watch others doing it. Put the two things together. If you’re struggling now to really understand the basic difference, the heart and rhythm of these forms, then it is likely you’re not putting the ‘dance’ into this ‘dance music’. Getting a physical feel for it would be best, actually experienceing some dancing, but if you haven’t the nerve to let go and give that a try ~ then go experience it visually, while hearing the music and seeing how dancers respond to it, rhythm and phrasing. It’ll do you a world of good and help you toward that greater understanding. Proof of that will be when you do start dancing the music with your instrument, your playing… So ~ ‘around the backside’ ~ meaning the legs, and really ‘between the legs’, what they do in answer to the music ~ ‘dance’. And in a heated hall when everything is up and crazy and we’re all having a kick, musicians and dancers alike ~ there’s a smell too…not always pleasant… ;-)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Number of letters in the word "jig" = no. of beats
number of letters in the word "reel" = no. of beats
dont know about hornpipes, hope this helps

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

I see you come from a ‘classical’ background, ‘classical guitar’. It has long been a problem that ‘classical musicians’ play dance music without a clue what that means. The plodding of the result, the lack of lift and life is proof of that. It can be technically amazing and yet have no ‘dance’ in it, while someone with rudiments but an ingrained understanding of ‘dance’ can lift and drive the music in a way that you can’t keep your feet still. I’ve seen this time and time again ~ flat music by the overly trained compared to say laughing and dancing music by some old fiddler with only three strings to his fiddle, a missing finger and a crap bow… I’d always choose the later…

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Oh I’m with you ceolachan… Great image there.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

I’m assuming, from your ‘details’ and claims that you know those basics ~ the count, the measure, and that what you’re really asking is about the ‘feel’, the nature of these things beyond just 123456 & 12345678…!? :-/

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

‘Owdy Savage! (~ said with a French accent! ;-) )

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

‘Ey Savage, you’d love this stuff ~ Brasil (Brazilian) Cachaça. I just bought half a dozen bottles of it from ASDA for £3 a bottle, YES ~ £3 a bottle… They’re 50cl, but that’s a steal, and they are great. It is basically made the same as rum, form the first pressing of sugar cane (cheaper ones are later pressings)…

Hick! :-) ~ sometimes when you stop struggling it all comes clear!

That was Quebecois not French…

Now ASDA shelves will be cleared of the stuff. I just know I should have kept this a secret… :-(

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Merci for the heads up Ceolachan…. I’m off to Asda now…. :-P

Theres nothing better than cheap booze ;-)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

If it’s a jig,you can fit the word ‘galloping’ into it most of the time. Hornpipes are usually slower than reels and sometimes have a dotted rhythm.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

In school we were always taught for reels to say man united along to the beat of a tune while tapping your foot also if it fitted then its a reel….for a jig its liverpool and again say it along to the beat!i’ll have to check up on the other wee rhymes we had for tunes but hopefully that’ll help for now.!!

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Sometimes at our session you can’t tell whether it’s a hornpipe or a reel….or at least the bodhráners can’t……


Agree with Ceolachan - you’re not yet intermediate if you don’t know the difference yet. Even if you can *execute* what you’re playing well, you need to know what it is you are playing.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

For the Sailor’s Hornpipe it’s "Aberdeen FC plays Kilmarnock FC"

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Ah so, in that vein a reel should be, as in the old headline: ‘Supercally Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious’

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

try fittin these phrases into the tunes your playing
reel—> Black’n’decker
double jig—> rashers and sausages/wrigeleys chewing gum
slip—>have no more rashers and sausages
hornpipe—>try saying the "mary had a little lamb" rhyme…it should have quite a bouncy jumpy feel…the way our teacher taught the other people in the class was to see if it made you want to swing your arms..if it does then its a hornpipe…if it doesnt feel right then its a reel!
hope that helps..:)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Seems to me that hornpipes have a lot of triplets and arpeggios in them.

If a fiddler started the tune, then it’s almost certain it’s a reel.

What I’m not sure of is the difference between a slide and a jig. We hardly ever play any in our session so I’m not all that terribly familiar with how they really should sound.

They do play Road to Lisdoonvarna once in a while and it seems kind of like WOOMP -de -de -de -de -de -de WOOMP -de -de -de -de -de -de. But I’m not sure if we play others. I sit out a lot of tunes because I’m still a beginner.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Hey hey sb, you obviously haven’t played with this hornpipe and polka-loving fiddler, "if a fiddler started the tune…certain it’s a reel" - sheesh. ;-)

Good work on the slide rthythm too there, you got it. Slides are aka "single jigs" too I believe, so there’s where your single "WOOMP" comes in, no double "WOOMP", as in yer regular double jig:

WOOMP-dee-dee-WOOMP-dee-dee

Hornpipes are wonderfully mysterious, I can’t seem to find a decent explanation for them, but damn, they taste just like chicken and I could eat them for every meal. Like this?

dee-dah-DAH-dah-dee-dee-DAH-dah-dee-dee-DAH-dah-dee-dee-DAH…

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Well to my way of looking/hearing this;http://www.thesession.org/tunes/8217
Is a hornpipe.

Its the ‘feel’
I might suggest Hornpipes are a mix between a 4/4 and a 12/8 rhythm…… Swung with a strong emphasis on 1 DAAH dum da didaly dum da. ……..

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

If you can jive to it - It’s a reel. A slow jive is a hornpipe and you can do a Military Twostep to a Jig.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

It’s the time signatre that makes the differnce

Reels 4/4

Jigs 6/8

Slip Jigs 9/8

Hornpipes 4/4 but played slower than reels

Here’s a nifty site on Irish dance with an explaination

http://www.danceirish.de/music.html

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Tap your foot or whatever to the beat. If it’s a reel or hornpipe, you’ll feel comfortable and in time if you tap each 4 notes or 2 notes. But a hornpipe usually has a bouncier or more sing song feel and often ends on two longer notes.

If it’s a jig, then your foot will comfortably hit the beat each 3 notes. If you try tapping faster, it don’t make sense to your brain unless you go so fast to hit each note.

Try it on a few recordings that you don’t know - then look at the sleeve notes to confirm..

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Damn, my eyes are going all crossed and I’m developin’ one hell of a headache… :-(

You’re up a few more notches on the board SWFL…

Slides are now usually notate in 12/8 for a very good reason, that’s the major phrase, so "WOOMP -de -de -de -de -de -de WOOMP -de -de -de -de -de -de" doesn’t quite do it… Also common in slides and single jigs is a lot of slow-quick beats, or, as an example ~

A2 f A2 f A2 f fed | B2 g B2 g B2 g gfe | ~

The first beat of the four is the WHOOMP, and it kind of s-l-d-e-s down to the 4th, and then it picks up again… That’s ‘classic’ for the form… It ‘rolls’ along that way, like waves hitting the shore and then pulling back…

While we can call slides single jigs, we can’t call all single jigs slides…

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

We haven’t even touched on marches ~ 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8 ~ etc…

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

A reel reels, and a jig jigs.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Gee, you guys. It’s really easy. Look in the upper right corner of the sheet music and it tells you. "Jig" Hornpipe" etc.

I arrange mine in sections in the big notebook I take with me, and can retrieve them with a minimum of rustling and thumbing when someone tells me what song we’re playing. I’ve gotten so good that I don’t knock over the music stand much any more.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Call a slide a single jig? OK.

Call all single jigs slides? Oh no.

Call me late for dinner? Well now you’re REALLY in trouble there, pally…

…especially if we’re making Southern-fried chicken hornpipes! Hoo wee!

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Surely the best way to learn the main rhythms, and the difference between them, is simply to buy a few albums of Irish traditional music! The tracks whose sleeve notes include the title "Jigs", are jigs! The ones designated "Hornpipes", are hornpipes! - et cetera. The rhythms should sink in before too many playings.

By-passes these curious mnemonics, anyway.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Southern fried alligator tail ~ mmm, mmm, or better yet, southern fried rattler!!! You Florida boys are almost as bad as the Georgia boys, but compared to the Alabama lads your whooses!!! ;-)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

bodhran bliss ~ wouldn’t you just know it, the name says it all, the ‘bodhran’ and the being ‘blissed-out’ ~ a reel’s a reel’s a reel and a jig’s a jig’s a jigiddy jig jig jig ~ get real… As if they were all the same. Oh yeah, I forgot, for the greater majority of skin bangers they are… 8-) (I wouldn’t seriously dump you in with the majority Bliss, that would be disasterous…)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Alas poor Ceolachan, It was plagiarism on my part.

Seamus Ennis said the original, at a fleadh many years ago, when asked to explain the difference by a visitor to these shores.

But then, for the greater majority of bellows squeezers they are ….whether you dump Ennis in with the majority is up to you.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

1.start listening to Scottish Traditional music.

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Interesting suggestions so far for jig rhythm…

Rump-ada
galloping
liverpool
rashers and sausages

All of these with the possible exception of Liverpool offer the second two notes as notes of equal value.

I was introduced recently to "Panda bear", which puts a nice swing into the tune

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Just to add to the other many rhymes!
Try "Carrots and Cabbages" for jigs.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

I think you should feel like skipping down the street when you listen to a jig.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

for a rant, try "tomato soup", reel: "gobstopper"

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Might as well……
Reel 4/4…say Gen-er-a-tor to the beat..
Jig 6/8….say En-er-gy to the beat..
Hornpipe…say whoops-ee-dais-ee to the beat..
Sounds a bit odd,but it really helped me at the start ..

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

"Seamus Ennis" ~ bless the man, I’m laughing hard now. That figures Bliss. He was good with that sort of mayhem… Most of it would best only be repeated between friends rather than in public… ;-)

Dickens ~ "1.start listening to Scottish Traditional music."

Ha! ~ that assumes there is only ‘one’ ‘Scottish Traditional Music’, or that there is one… :-D

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Bliss, I know what SEamus meant, or the gist of it, and well remember his ways, having been on the end of his impatience myself… It was part of his character and ‘humour’, not always intentional… "A jig’s a jig and a reel’s a reel!" I can imagine a number of situations and possibly even several states that may have resulted in that response… You might have been able to tell that from my own first offerings here? ;-)

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Here’s a kiwi slant on the difference between Jig and reel rhythm:

Jigs: say Wanaka, pronounced won - a - ka, obviously with the major stress on the first syllable

Reels: say Invercargill.

Two towns in the south of the South Island. Fits perfectly

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

I like the bit about listening to more Scottish traditional. Only because that is what I have been doing lately.
Rounded or pointed rhythms? A reel in Scotland may not be a reel in Ireland.
Anyone remember the little didda’s Liz Carroll used for telling rhythms apart?
Slip jigs were; Buy the Band a Beer

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Scottish traditional music,hornpipes wtih real swing.reverse dots on strathspeys.fine music.

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Why does a thread like this get 46 responses?

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Brown Creeper - "Invercargill" would be a hornpipe wouldn’t it?

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

yeh, a reel would be "Taranaki Rugby Sevens"

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Try:

to
market, to
market, to
buy a fat pig

home again
home again
jiggity-jig

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

It’s an illness Björn…and now you’ve just increased the madness. You did notice we haven’t had a peep from Banjo Bongo since the opening…

You could, with this word rhythm thing, use that as a bit for a swung 4/4 tune ~

~ | Baanjo Boongo Baanjo Boongo | ~

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

I made that up about Seamus Ennis. Actually I heard it from a wee old man at the fleadh in Wexford a few years back.

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Was I in Wexford a few years back? :-/

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

hi guys, its me back again, this post got a lot of feedback, thanks! to the guys that said that Im not an intermediate level player, I did not say in my post that I did not have a clue, nor did I say that I dont have a feel for reels and jigs, as I think I do. my point was - and maybe I did not make it clear enough - is there an objective way to tell them apart the first time you listen to a tune "blind"? and the feedback seems to be yes there is, which was very useful and I appreciate it.
Thanks guys.
I will put into practise and one day will become a true "intermediate" level player!

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

There’s a fiddler I’ve been playing with at sessions who has been playing for decades. He has a smallish repertoire of maybe 100-150 tunes, learned entirely by ear, mostly from recordings and the occasional workshop. His playing is not polished, but it is as close as I’ve heard to an older Irish style from anyone in this area of New England. He also will sometimes get up and dance a few steps.

But he steadfastly refuses to learn anything (aside from the tune titles - and even that he’s not great with) that would allow him to communicate verbally about the music. He has no clue whether a tune is a jig, a reel, or a hornpipe, though he plays them correctly. He has no clue what key a tune is in (and often starts them in unusual keys - mostly down a string). If he’s learning a tune and is struggling with a passage, telling him what the notes are is useless. He knows the music, but not the language with which to describe it.

Does this mean that he’s not yet reached "intermediate" status?

Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

That’s a good distinction Gary. Though – without tying my words in knots, hopefully - I’d take umbridge with you when you say, "He knows the music, but not the language with which to describe it."

Surely the language with which to describe music is music itself. Asigning English labels, or for that matter, tadpoles on staves, if purly a secondary matter.

So, if you can play jigs and reels, then you know the difference. (That is, play jigs and reels, not merely tunes in 6/8 and 4/4, they, inthemselves are not jigs or reels)

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

Sounds like our old fiddle player, Gary, the one famous for saying "You mean you can play the same tune by putting your fingers in different places" when someone tried to introduce keys to him. He only knew about Donegall Quay.(In Belfast, with two Ls at the end)

How to tell the difference?

To know the music ~ that is what we are all about.
Music is primary as the subject. But this is a discussion board.
The means of communication is with words.
It is not an intermediate concept.
;)

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Re: how to tell the difference between reels, jigs and horpipes?

I almost forgot the Florida special for reels.

Come on, this is an easy one. What do we have in Florida? Swamps? Oranges? Retired people from all over the world? Yes, yes, yes and yes, but what ELSE?

AL-i-ga-tor, AL-i-ga-tor, AL-i-ga-tor…