Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Ok, so someone asked me on the Irish Session Guitar Playing Rules thread about the 2nd Line March beat, as it relates to timing in Irish trad. I was thinking about posting something about this idea anyway as soon as I collected my thoughts about it because it’s actually helped me a lot as a teacher, in explaining it to people struggling with, say, jig rhythm.

Our adventure starts with the origins of jazz in America, mostly in its birthplace around New Orleans and the Mississippi River delta. But bear with me, there is a connection to Irish music. In fact, I think it’s central to what makes it work, and goes to the heart of what I suspect Michael Gill was talking about when he would use the term "torque," on these boards a few years back.

The term ‘2nd line march,’ as the Googlers probably found out, is the subject of a bunch of bad drum tutorials (and a few good ones). It originates in the New Orleans African American/creole traditional funeral processions. The first line in the procession is the family of the deceased, and the band marches along in the second line.

While western classical music out of Europe usually plays out in simple time (a single time signature and rhythm) jazz time is rooted in an import from Africa: simultaneous juxtaposition and interaction of two different rhythms, simultaneously. In the case of the 2nd line march beat, the simultaneous playing of 4/4 and 3 against 2.

I’ll let a much better musician than myself, Mr. Wynton Marsalis, explain and demonstrate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7hs0iP7oWA


The most relevant section starts about 4 minutes in.

Now, I’ve tried to explain this concept a few times in workshops and to folks struggling with it, with limited success, because I was trying to explain it linearly… but when I saw this vid a while back, I explained it more like Marsalis explains it, and the lightbulbs started to come on over peoples’ heads.

"We hear music in one time. But the Africans, though, they hear music in TWO times! They play in two, AND they play in three… at the same time."

So he demonstrates a little 6/8 rhythm, which is ok, but nothing special.

And then, a bit after 7:20, he says: "More difficult, is when we add the four to it." And he has his buddy clap the same 6/8 rhythm, and Marsalis claps the 4 over the top… and the room comes alive. The tension and push-pull effect from those two intersecting rhythms is like a nuclear reactor powering the music.

I heard it and said to myself "THAT is jig timing!!" It was very easy to mentally overlay a jig to what was going in the vid, with just the sound of the two men clapping. It’s ^two times, at the same time.^

With a little more imagination, though, you can also mentally overlay reels over the same idea. The dominant timing (for me, anyway) in reel playing is the 2/4, but the 6/8 is baked into the cake.

Now, back to the 2nd line march beat… I got the concept from the teaching of Hal Galpers, a great jazz player and educator, who is constantly after his students to really get into the 2nd line march. I figured "he knows what he’s doing. Must be something to this." And I watched several drum tutorials but most of them were bad. The drummers just didn’t get it.

But this guy, Mark Lanter, gets it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0euY6LTClEU


But the key isn’t so much in the Brazilian ‘Clave’ pattern (Think Buddy Holly and ‘Not Fade Away,’ ) but in the 8th notes he plays on the snare just after 1:40. They aren’t straight, of course (If you’re really feeling two times simultaneously you won’t play them straight!), but swung a little bit, and it creates a wonderful, live and spirited, rollicking sound. (The other drum tutors didn’t understand that in my view). At any rate, when he plays the 2nd line march, you can tap out the 2/4 or the 6/8).

I submit that the ‘two times at the same concept,’ and specifically the feel of 2/4 overlaid on 6/8 (or vice versa) is the same concept at the heart of jig playing as played in recent years, and while I had believed that this polyrhythmic concept was at the heart of how I wanted to play jigs for years, hearing it explained in this way, and therefore being able to explain it in this way, really kicked my teaching ability up a notch…

It seems to work to, say, play a jig, and challenge the percussionist, "don’t play until you hear it." "can you hear both? times? Tap out the 6. Now tap out the 4."

As I mentioned, I had grasped it for jigs, but it is great fun to go back to the Marsalis vid, go to 7:40, and imagine any number of reels over the same 2/4 vs. 3/2 timing… and that clued me in that this concept is central to a lot of great reel playing as well.

I don’t hear the same layers in jigs or polkas… not in the polyrythmic sense, at this time, but maybe that’s my own musical limitation: It’s there and I just haven’t mentally cracked the code yet.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Why does Irish trad do this and not other kinds of music out of Europe? Dunno. The two communities certainly mixed in the port cities of New Orleans, New York, Boston, Savannah and Chicago though the mass migration of blacks to Northern cities didn’t really happen until the Great Depression. Or Irish musicians decided to evolve this way independently because it’s fun, and it works, musically. Or some combination of the two. Irish music in America has ties to vaudeville and ragtime and would have rubbed up against old jazz quite a bit. Ceili band drummers in Ireland would doubtlessly have enjoyed some of the jazz 78s coming out of America, and George Gershwin, etc, and the two worlds crosspollinated in this way, as well.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Can you point to an unaccompanied melody example? (ITM, of course.)

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I would say just about any well-played jig.

It’s not unaccompanied, but this is the most vivid example I can think of. It’s the first recording I think I noticed the polyrhythm on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_EEbcxUqnA


When they transition into the 2nd tune, Micheal O Domnhaill, the guitar player, noticeably switches gears: The 2/4 feel backs off a bit, and O Domnhaill brings a 3 against 2 feel to the foreground. It’s not an either/or thing. Both timings are present throughout, but M o D creates a dramatic shift in mood when he emphasises the off-beat 3 over 2 timing. It’s also very much in the foreground in the first time through The Rolling Waves, in the 2nd phrase of the A part.

Kevin doesn’t have to change anything, timing-wise. Both times are baked into the cake:

Explaining it in terms of a mnemonic, it’s common to teach jig timing with the phrase "rashers and sausages rashers and sausages."

The 3 against 2 is what you get when you start on "1" and hit every other syllable:

"RASHers AND sausAGes RASHers AND sausAGes"

But that’s not quite right, either.

Closer is this:

"RASHers AND sausAGes RASHers AND sausAGes"
"RASHers and SAUSages RASHers and SAUSages"

… at the same time. It’s the interplay between the two distinct feels going at the same time that makes the magic.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I’d like to hear jigs played with the emphasis on the 2nd and 5th note all the way through :)

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Sounds to me like a solution in search of a problem. People have been playing ITM jigs and reels just fine, with the correct timing, for a very long time without ever hearing of Second Line March. But if this is a trick that helps you understand how jigs works, great. Personally, I think it is simplistic to think all jigs follow a single rule. Phrasing varies quite a bit from jig to jig. A backer shouldn’t have an idea of the phrasing that is different from the melody players.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Well, no. SOME people have been playing jigs just fine. Others have been messing them up, and need a little coaching to get it.

I think every regular session junkie among us has seen it with people who are new to ITM, guitar players especially, who just don’t hear jig timing. Some people get it right away, some people don’t catch it until someone points it out. This is one way of pointing it out, in a way that’s understandable and can be readily grasped and felt by anybody. And approaching it from the direction of second line march time is a way to rope in the jazz/blues/rockers and get them up to speed quickly in a new style.

Yes there are other ways to explain it, and other ways to push the beat. I notice Canadian and Scottish players will push the syncopation further back in the measure. But their backers sometimes don’t. If that’s what you hear and feel, or matches what’s going on around you, do that. Or something else.

I would still submit that mastering the hemiola/sesquiatura polyrhythm will go a long way to improving a lot of peoples’ playing, and it will do it across many genres of music.

It is not necessary to know the Latin /Italian musical volcabulary to do it. But it IS necessary to grasp:

Two times, at the same time. And to grasp the 3:2 against the 2:4.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Is there an African drumming group equivalent to thesession.org? Because I think that is where this thread belongs. Polyrhythms don’t really have anything to do with traditional music.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Uhh, yes. They do. See above.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Just my opinion, but I don’t like the idea of imposing a framework like this from "outside" the music. The pulse is in the melody line. All you have to do is listen for it and follow.

The music may fit within broad dance rhythm categories of time signature, but the subtleties of the internal pulse will vary, depending on the dynamics of each individual group of session players, and what individual tune they’re playing. Are they swinging their rhythms a little or playing it straight? Is there a backbeat pulse or not? As a guitar player, you can only follow those differences by active listening, not by imposing some outside rhythm concept.

Maybe this concept will help someone, but it seems too rigid to me. I have visions of a guitar player reading this post, and then showing up at a session counting superimposed metronome beats in their head, and playing the same syncopated strumming pattern on every tune.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason I am confused. In an earlier discussion you talked about jig rhythms in terms of 3/2 superimposed on 6/8 (https://thesession.org/discussions/32196#comment689710 (thanks for the revival AB Steen)). Above your "THAT is jig timing!!" refers to 4 over 6/8.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hi, Conical!

Respectfully, I don’t think this is a framework from "outside the music" at all. It is simply a descriptor for what is happening INSIDE the music. The musicians of Sub-Saharan Africa do not have a patent on the concept! This is easily something that could develop independently in two places at once, or maybe it has ethnomusicological roots in exchanges between cultures. The Irish, after all, crewed a lot of British and American ships going all over the world.

"The pulse is in the melody line."

Well, sure. But what is that pulse doing? Why does this pulse "work" and not that? If you have a struggling learner or novice, simply saying "listen" could elicit the response, "Ok, what am I listening for?"

"Uh, the timing."
"What about it?"

And then the teacher has to do something more specific, concrete and directed.

"Maybe this concept will help someone, but it seems too rigid to me."

I think this would be true of any music theory principle or application ever developed, anywhere in the history of music pedagogy. Here’s a general principle, or a useful concept for explaining something that happens in the music. Here’s the theory, which may help you get within horseshoes and hand grenade range on the reality of it out on the gig, or the sesh or the dance or what have you. And it’s always up to the player to adapt to the environment and what is going around him or her.

I think that’s true of any general piece of advice ever written on this board.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I see what Jason is getting at and I guess that’s what I try to do when accompanying some tunes (especially ones that will take a fairly static harmony) to break up the monotony of the simple rhythms. Never heard the term "Second Line March" before for this, though, so I’ve learned something.
It can be a hard concept for students to grasp because, in the player’s mind, it is very much a feel thing and there is no counting involved. Perhaps I forget though that, many years ago, I was one of those nerds who practised playing 3 against 2, 2 against 3, 4 against 3, 3 against 4, 5 against 4,…. you get the drift, as well as the usual 3-3-2 stuff.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Yes, the danger in music pedagogy - or any kind of pedagogy - is for the teacher to develop "fish in the water" syndrome. If you’ve spent your whole life in the water, like a fish, you know very well how to swim, breathe and function in it, and it comes naturally to you. But if you ask the fish to EXPLAIN "water" to someone who’s never been in it, he may not even realize it exists! It just IS. Like fruitcake recipes!

Sometimes the best math teachers are people who had a terrible time struggling with math, and eventually learned it, anyway. They remember what it took to get the lightbulb to come on over their heads. Someone who grasped math instinctively his whole life may not grasp WHY the student doesn’t get it. Indeed, he may take things so much for granted that he has no idea that the student still doesn’t get it.

The Guitar Playing Rules thread was not intended for people who ALREADY get it and are accomplished players. They’re gonna do their thing. Nor was this thread, which was just a response to a specific question. "What’s a Second Line March?"

And yes, it IS a feel thing. If you have to count it, in the act of playing it, you’ll be lost. But some people HAVE to go through the counting process to GET it to the ‘feeling’ stage.

Check out this neat vid from pianist Mike Longo:

From 2:41, and (you can skip the student testimonials) and again from 3:40, where he demonstrates the interaction of two times together. Fun stuff!

Now, let’s take the polyrhythmic idea a step further…

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

So, what’s going on here?

https://thesession.org/tunes/11585
The tune "Runaway," off of an album by Ciorras.

Look at the first two measures of the B part. If you don’t think polyrythms exist in ITM, you would be totally lost on this tune, if you had to pull it off the page.

Fortunately, you don’t! We have a recording. But if you listen to the recording (Spotify is great) or a lower-quality YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy-YfuK8pAI


Is it trad? Well, I think Tara Breen and co. know what they’re doing. It’s a slip jig and can be written as such. But here we have the normal meter we normally hear in a slip jig suspended for two whole measures while the melody players actually bring out a 4:9, using the strength of the melody, rather than accenting, to bring it out.

But here’s my assertion: The 4:9 was there ***all along***, bubbling and churning just below the surface. The conflict and interplay between the 9/8 (or three, if you’re counting out), is what gives it that rollicking, syncopated sound. The player, or backer, can choose to emphasize the alternate time, or emphasize the ordinary time, or as Michael O Domnhaill does in the Rolling Waves example, shift back and forth between emphasizing the two.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I’m assuming that this does not really apply to playing for dancers? I’m having visions of dancers suddenly falling over when the emphasis shifts.:)

Interesting, and food for thought.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I disagree. I think it’s especially important to do it when playing for dancers. This is dance music at its core. Why would you play dance music differently if you’re playing for dancers?

Getting the compound time right is central to the danceability of this music. It’s what makes people want to dance in the first place! Furthermore, it’s already in the melody of the tune. As I said, it’s baked into the cake.

The good step dancers have it in their feet already, anyway.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason have you tried this with dancers?

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Some of you folks seem to think I’m describing something exotic and unusual. I am not. I am describing something that happens *all the time, routinely.* This is not out of left field, and it is not a new import to ITM from outside the tradition. It is ALREADY idiomatic to traditional playing, among other genres. If you imagine that it’s at all unusual, I think you’re imagining some other rhythmic idea, and not what I’m describing here.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason your descriptions are a bit disjointed & you seem to be using circular explanations.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Fine. Go back to the musical examples, then.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

You began with the basic 3:2 ratio, which is basic & it can be counted, Wyton Marsalis counts in his videos. But you suggest not to (count), because it’s strictly a *feel thing*. >

"… it IS a feel thing. If you have to count it, in the act of playing it, you’ll be lost. But some people HAVE to go through the counting process to GET it to the ‘feeling’ stage."
Also when you were discussing 6/8 you mentioned 2/4. Which parts are you referring to as 2/4?

Then you latched on to polyrhythms, which is fine but if you’re predominantly describing 3:2 (for jig timing) I think introducing a slip jig might muddy the primary subject (i. e. ~ jig time).
I’m not sure what you mean by 4:9 in the following, "the melody players actually bring out a 4:9, using the strength of the melody, rather than accenting, to bring it out."
Could you clarify that, please?

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I ‘get’ it. I always thought there was something unusual about ‘Runaway’ (and other stuff too), but I didn’t really stop to analyse it.

I think Jason has explained the whole concept very well.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I’ll look for some other ways to illustrate the idea, both in and out of ITM.

Meanwhile, ABSteen, you found the same thread I just did! And two years ago, when the same subject came up, you seemed to grasp it right away! The hemiola!

I’m describing the same concept, but in more detail with more examples. For jigs, anyway. Does this help? Are we now on the same sheet of music, as it were?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hi, ABSteen…. A couple of posts up came off a bit curt. That wasn’t my intention. Dealing with car issues and got distracted. My apologies.

To answer your specific question, 4:9 means 4 beats, evenly distributed across the bar. The bar in "Runaway" is in 9/8. So 4 notes over 9 beats (but since we more commonly tap out 3 beats to the bar in a slip jig rather than four it’s equivalent to 4/3.

It’s clear if you look at the 2nd measure of the B part… I just looked at the moving line and counted four notes, although looking at it now it doesn’t start on the 1. Don’t get too hung up on the math. It’s a pulse, not a motor.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Fair play. Sure the hemiola is fairly basic. As is 3:2 for jigs.
But in a larger context polyrhythms are much more involved. So if you want to describe jig time (i.e. 6/8) you might want to be sure you communicate what you intend *there* before going to far into slip jigs, et. al.

Wyton Marsalis mentions additional rhythms beyond his main topic, yet he still manages to keep a focus on the original subject.

Mark Lanter, on the hand, probably doesn’t provide the best example for making a connection between jig time & second line march. I’d need to watch it again, but off the top of my head there are probably better instructional YouTubes for getting your point across.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

You must be feeling like a street preacher Jason, you feel you have some wonderful info to impart, but very few people seem to care!
Thanks for all your efforts anyway.
"I want to be in America" playing jigs…..

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I still can’t see what you are driving at. You started off talking about second line marches and poly-rhythm, which involves two instruments (or the two arms of a kit-drummer) playing different rhythms at the same time. The you gave us Kevin Burke playing a straight forward jig (although the crochet at the beginning of some bars might fool you into counting "1 2 3 and 4" where it is actually "1 - 3 456") Then we have The Runaway, which yes, has a rhythm change, but you suggest the secondary rhythm is underlying the whole tune. It isn’t, and the whole band changes rhythm for those bars. There is no poly-rhythm, there is nothing that I can see that links it to the clips you originally posted.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Thank you, Mark M! That is a good description of what I’m getting for both the Kevin Burke clip & "The Runaway". Jig timing is not too complicated, & I doubt poly-rhythms are the answer for finding the lift or feeling the pulse.

Also, it’s an important reminder that if everyone shifts rhythm *together* then it is not a poly-rhythm.

Cheers ;)

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Sorry, I’m not getting the polyrhythm thing either. I’m not a stranger to it. As a teenager, I was a kit drummer and actually studied polyrhythms with a prof at the U. of Miami, who had me practicing different time signatures on the snare and kick.

But now, as a late-in-life convert to ITM, I’m just not seeing it. Whether I’m playing melody on mandolin and flute, or backing on guitar, I just listen to the pulse of the melody players and that’s enough to figure out what I should do.

"Also, it’s an important reminder that if everyone shifts rhythm *together* then it is not a poly-rhythm."

See, I don’t get this at all. Isn’t staying in unison on melody and rhythm what we do in ITM? What’s the point of a backer moving off the rhythm pulse of the melody players?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

"rhythm pulse of the melody players" ~ very nice, conical bore.
Yeah; playing with the melody, having a steady tempo, it’s always about the tune & giving it room to find the pulse & lift.

>https://thesession.org/discussions/25288#comment531985

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

"Can you point to an unaccompanied melody example? (ITM, of course.)" TomB-R
"I would say just about any well-played jig. " (Jason_Van_Steenwyk)

If your idea relates to Irish jigs in general then you should be able to find examples in recordings going back to the earliest cylinders and in solo instruments playing for dancers (sean nos, step and set).

Examples with that post date the introduction of accompaniment as a regular feature in the 1970’s run the risk of being circular, especially if they have guitar accompaniment. The accompanists are doing what accompanists do and sometimes that involves overlaying (?underlaying) different patterns. Quite often a ‘modern trad band’ will include some sets where the accompanists are laying down a rhythm that the melody players are refering to rather than the other way round. Just because someone is an all-Ireland winner does not mean they won’t do something innovative or not (yet) quite trad.

In the Mark Lanter clip he says at one point "Notice I am playing kind of sloppy and not really even eighths notes at all. They are kind of swung in the cracks. You don’t want it to be too clean" So he not actually explaining in detail everything that produces the effect. In contrast, in the much linked journal articles, Pat Mitchell does try to do that for jigs.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

So Burke and O Domnhaill don’t count?

LOL!

I would be hard pressed to find an early jig recording by a recognized name that DIDN’T have the 3:2 feel embedded in the playing. Slides, yes, but not jigs.

I can’t quite make out what the accompanist is doing on the iPhone, but Paddy Killoran is playing in two times quite clearly here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PR2_8DxcZVU


Interestingly, though, here’s Michael Coleman, who clearly does plays with a discernible and distinct 3:2 pulse on one of the tunes in this set …

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=79AKAMAmZhk


But not on the other one. The other one is in a pretty straight 6/8 without a discernible, consistent 3:2 pulse throughout.

Can you hear which one?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

No he’s not, he is playing in straight forward 6/8. If he was playing in 2 time the majority of beats would be divided into two or four notes, not triplets.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Where do you hear 3:2? There is no 3 in a jig, you might want to call what you are hearing 6:2, but then 6 is divisible by 2, so it isn’t a poly-rhythm, it’s just compound duple, which is jig time.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Ah, the light has come on, I think I might have guessed what it is you are talking about. You’ve noticed the occasional bars where the accent falls on 1, 3 and 5 , yes? But there is nothing magical or mysterious about that, I can’t see what it has to do with the clips you originally posted, and it is just one of numerous phrasing possibilities, not a change of meter - it can only be done for the odd bar here and there, if you were to do it continuously then you would be playing a waltz.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Not sure if you are describing what I’m getting at… It depends on what you mean by "3" and "5". If you divided the measure equally into 6, the notes would not fall on 3 or 5. They come a little earlier. Why? Because their timing doesn’t come from the 6/8. It comes from the 3:2.

and no, this isn’t ‘magical’ or ‘mysterious’ at all. It’s very straightforward: it’s just two times going instead of one.

And yes, there’s 3:2 in jigs. But not so much in Trip to Sligo. That one is pretty much in 6/8, with no additional timing within, that I can discern. But Coleman it turns the 3:2 on like a lightbulb in "Tell Her I Am."

I just had a listen to Coleman playing "Monagan Jig," and he does it every once in a while, briefly. Not all the time. I get the sense he was fighting his accompanist a little.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I’m not referring to a "change of meter."

The hemiola feel IS the meter, and doesn’t normally change.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

hemiola feel? The light has gone off again, I obviously don’t understand what you think you are seeing. How can you have a ‘hemiola feel’ in a single line melody? Hemiola involves two different beats played at the same time - because they are different the beats don’t coincide. Here we just have one beat, with some notes stressed and others not, and possibly an accompanist playing on some beats and not others, but he is always in sync with the beat.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I’m with Mark M - what you’re describing (or: trying to describe) is just the way some jigs sound, with the occasional three beats a bar (Xx Xx Xx - 1, 3 and 5 anyone?) instead of two beats (Xxx Xxx). The often mentioned Micheál O’Domhnaill does it now and then, especially with Kevin Burke.

And the sample you posted in the other second line thread sounds like:
XxxX xxXx|xXxx XxXx (3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2) - that’s exactly the spots the drummer stressed.

Anois beidh cupán tae agam.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Why would you need two different instruments? You can’t walk and chew gum at the same time? You can’t tap out one time with your left hand and a different one on your right hand on the same table top? Nobody ever played it on a single drum?

No, here we don’t have just one beat. We have two. At the same time.

And no, Jeff, what MoD is playing was NOT on 1,3, and 5. The last two capital X’s come before where 3 and 5 go in straight, even 6/8.

Why? Because they aren’t 6/8! They are 3/2.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

This is rubbish. 1,3,5 of 6/8 ARE the 1,2,3 of 3/2. If it’s not on the 1,3,5 then it isn’t 3/2.

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Ok, I took a look at some of the Web tutorials that try to teach this idea, and not all of them get it right.

They’ll explain it, but when they try to play it they can’t! They think they are, but they aren’t. (It’s probably tough to do it if you think about it too much!)

This guy, Peter Magadini actually does it really well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8Lr-704aCs


Demo starts at 2:10.

The term he uses is "Ewe," and you can look around for the loads of African examples. Or, as I believe, tons of Irish jig recordings.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Thanks for that last post Mark M. I was about to give up in confusion.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Mark: You would be correct if it were 3:4. It is not. It is 3:2.

If you were correct, then the three notes of one written beat in jig time would be evenly spaced. They are not.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I am trying to square this up with Seamus Ennis’ advice on rhythm, which he illustrated with a jig. Thanks to one of the now ‘nameless’ members for making a fragment of a workshop recording available for a time. What Ennis said was:

"Another thing I would advise those who are learning is to watch the pulse of a rhythm. And there is a thing to be explained is syncopation. Where you get a half beat just before the beat just before the bar. You get a half beat somewhere in the centre of the previous bar. And it’s only by listening to good players, by being in the company of good players that you really learn where that is. And if you are by yourself a lot you lose that. But then when you come in company of players again you will recognise whether they have it or not and you will realise there is something lacking if they haven’t got it. And if they have got it it will remind you and bring you back to it. But if you are playing a lot alone, and you haven’t heard music for a long time by anybody, you tend to forget and play it straight without this ‘pulse’ as I call it."

"Then another thing, there is emphasis. The tune must have it own nuances. That is its own expressions of feeling. There is no point in running it all off just like a typewriter, a good typist typing. It must have a certain feeling about it. For instance there is a jig called The Munster Buttermilk and it can be played [he plays and A part it ‘straight’] It can be played like that. But this is the The Munster Buttermilk [plays it through with repeats]"

Now, to my ear, Ennis’s example of how not to do it sounds like "rashers and sausages". His preferred way of playing has the features we hear in the Paddy Killoran and Michael Coleman clips above, and from Micheal O Domnhaill in the duo clip above.

If what we are hearing is polyrhythm why didn’t he say so ?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Maybe I am not following. So does 6:8 over 3:2 need two bars of 6/8 ? So to count as a crossing rhythm rather than just some one-off emphasis you need at least two cycles. That’s four bars of a jig ? A whole phrase or more ?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Interesting! I hadn’t heard of that workshop. But Ennis certainly had it (I don’t trust some of those old reel-to-reel recordings for timing issues, just because tape doesn’t stretch evenly, so some of those recordings don’t sound like rock solid time even though I’m sure these great players being recorded were masters of it, in person!

Perhaps it was because Seamus internalized over the years, and knew it instinctively, but did not have a formal music theory background to give him the vocabulary to explain it in terms of ‘polyrhythm’ and ‘hemiola,’ and what have you. IF that indeed was what he was referring to in that example! I would love to see it.

He knew when it worked and when it didn’t, and the guys who ‘got’ it were the guys who could get that feel.

I just listened to his recording of "Frieze Britches" off of "The Wandering Minstrel" and he definitely has a 3:2 going. You can tap it out easily, listening to him. Very distinct in "Slieve Russell & Sixpenny Money" (sp?) That’s how it’s listed in Spotify). Less so in some other recordings, but it might be the pipes were not cooperating that day.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

In this case, I don’t think it has to go by twice…in my imperfect example below, it happens for every "rashers and sausages."

"RASHers AND sausAGes RASHers AND sausAGes"
"RASHers and SAUSages RASHers and SAUSages"

It’s imperfect because the timing on the first line if you read it would be off. That’s not how you say "rashers and sausages!’ and so is an approximation. And it’s an approximation because, as you perceive, "rashers and sausages" is not quite right, either! it gets you in the ball park, but not to home plate. There is something else at work.

Another idea, combining the the two into one mnemonic.. "Plah, Ka tu kah," as CK Ladzekpo uses in this vid

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK42w0H8rSU at 5:45 and following.


Once he gets going, It’s easy to hear a slowish jig over that time… played as it should be, with the right syncopation in the right spots.

"Plah, Ka tu Kah" is missing a couple of syllables, but it’s useful for illustrating the concept. (The danger with mnemonics like this is there’s usually more than one way to pronounce them! This is why ‘rashers and sausages’ is a little imprecise, but still useful. It’s hard to screw it up!’

But in this case you do have to view the vid and do it you CK does it, because it’s too easy to read it differently than how he says it, and keep it going. I can pick any jig and play it in my head or on my mando along with his drumming and it works just fine. It’s a far sight better than "rashers and sausages."

I’ve been trying to invent one In English but haven’t got it right so far, with anything that has only one good pronunciation.

There’s no "torque" in "rashers and sausages." But it’s there in CK’s hands!

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hi Jim!

As written, no. There’s no polyrhythm. As played, yes, it is polyrhythmic, but that’s because we play the whole thing polyrhythmically!

I listened to the Capercaillie version. Now, the Scottish often do something different with jigs… the melody line hangs on to the first note in each group of three longer than the Irish do, and longer than a hemiola rhythm would dictate. That’s how it sounds like to me.

The backing on this track from Capercaille does not follow that timing, and sticks with a 6/8 and 3/2 juxtaposition like the other things described above.

Anyway, I would say that the meter doesn’t change in bars 21-28. That effect is the result of a syncopation… the rhythmic displacement of the melody line, rather than the sudden imposition of a polyrhythm.

But because the whole tune is a jig, there’s polyrhythm throughout. It’s just that it’s the same polyrhythm in measures 21-28 as it is anywhere else.

Same with the last part of the reel "Guns of the Magnificent Seven." There’s a syncopation, but not a polyrhythm (aside from whatever polyrhythm might be embedded in the way you swing the 8th notes in the melody).

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

>>"Mark: You would be correct if it were 3:4. It is not. It is 3:2."

XXXXXX - 6 beats - a jig.
X_X_X_ - 3 beats
X__X__ -2 beats

The three beats and the 2 beats line up perfectly with the six, because 6 is divisible by both two and three. If you want syncopation you have to add a FOUR beat rhythm to the three or six.

>>"If you were correct, then the three notes of one written beat in jig time would be evenly spaced. They are not."

Whoa there. Since when were the beats of a basic jig not evenly spaced?

>>"RASHers AND sausAGes RASHers AND sausAGes"
"RASHers and SAUSages RASHers and SAUSages"

The beats in both are the same. There is no rhythmic difference, only a difference in which beats are emphasized. All you are doing there is slipping between the two forms of 6/8 - compound duple and simple triple, you’re not adding anything extra or changing the rhythm.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Now maybe I see what you are getting at, and why you are hung up on 3:2 - you are counting only the emphasized beats and thinking a jig is a 3 beat rhythm or a 2 beat rhythm, or maybe both. It’s not, it’s a 6 beat rhythm which you can accent either way.

What you’ve discovered’ has nothing to do with syncopation, Hemiola, syncopation or anything else. It’s just the fact that 6/8 can take two forms - compound duple (jig) or simple triple (waltz).

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

1.) What you are thinking of as a "basic jig" isn’t so basic. 6 beats in a measure does not make a jig!

2.) I didn’t write that the beats of a basic jig were not evenly spaced. I wrote that the three notes of one written beat in jig time are not evenly spaced. And they aren’t.

3.) Your first row of X’s doesn’t work. We don’t play six equidistant notes. We play "Dom da dee Dom da dee.," not "Dom Dom Dom Dom Dom Dom." I think that initial assumption that all six X’s are equidistant is throwing off your calculations. It looks that way on the page, but that is not the way we play jigs.

The six unevenly spaced notes that your row of six evenly-spaced X’s imprecisely represents is the RESULT of combining the different 6/8 and 3/2 feel. It’s the end product, not the beginning.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Ok, we crossposted.

No, it is not a six-beat rhythm. It is a 2-beat rhythm AND a 3-beat rhythm, combined. The six beats you are referring to are not equidistant in a jig. We write them that way to ease the job of reading, but there is no ‘six-beat’ jig, if you’re playing it right!

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

The difference between your doms and das is dynamic not rhythmic (or at least it should be). Variations are or course permissible but the basic timing should be even. Try putting your favourite jig into a DAW and looking at the spacing of the peaks in the waveform - they are generally evenly spaced, but vary in amplitude.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

>>"It is a 2-beat rhythm AND a 3-beat rhythm, combined."

No it’s not it is a 6 beat rhythm, that is why the time signature is 6/8 as opposed to 3/4 or 2/1.5

In your "rashers and sausages" each syllable is a beat.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

So you play all six beats the same length throughout the jig?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

People usually tap their foot twice a measure in jigs, on the 1 and the 4. That’s duple rhythm, isn’t it? Funny, though— I tire easily of the sound of backers playing a bass/strum boom-chuck on those beats for more than a measure or two.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

>>"So you play all six beats the same length throughout the jig?" A lot of the time yes, but not necessarily. But where you do "dot it a bit" it’s just a micro-variation and not a change to the rhythmic structure. Some are played distictly dotted, like 6/8 marches, but then the simple triple (your 3 beat rhythm) doesn’t work because you would land up trying to emphasize the semiquavers. Your idea that there is a 3:2 thing going on ONLY works if you play them straight.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Oh, dear. What does "dot it a bit" mean?

Semiquaver? A 16th note? You sure you’re talking about jigs? A 3 over 2 in a jig wouldn’t land on any such subdivision, except on the 1.

And no, the 3:2 thing is why the six notes are NOT straight.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Thinking about it now, my language was also imprecise. As joefidkid discerns, the way we hear it and tap our feet or clap along to it, it’s a duple rhythm. It’s not six.

So the compound timing in a jig is not 6/8 at all. We just write it that way for convenience. But the sound is not in straight 6/8 at all. Instead, it’s the combination of 2 and 3:2.

As CZ Ladzekpo demonstrates in his vid, linked to above.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason, is it possible for you to transcribe a couple of bars with this presumed polyrhythm? I mean, I listen to Michelle Mulcahy, listen to the melody and tap my fingers accordingly - six taps per measure. The melody is what it is, a pretty straightforward tune, not something that Bill Whelan/Dónal Lunny/Mike McGoldrick composed. And I don’t really hear her left hand chords (dyads, really) being played particularly sooner or later than any of these taps, but she DOES emphasise other beats than the 1 and the 4, that’s for sure.

Just now I came to think of a rhythm which maybe John Doyle is responsible for - in terms of x:
Xxx xxx|xxx Xxx|xxx xxx|Xxx Xxx

And I’m sure I’ve heard smth like this (say, on a recording of "modern" traditional music).
Xxx Xxx|xXx xxX|xxx Xxx |Xxx Xxx

But again, that’s (mainly) what the backer is doing.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

A transcription with the poly-rhythm would be ideal. Earlier today I wrote the same thing after the Killoran & Coleman jigs were posted. But when I tapped the *POST* button I’d lost the connection. :-(

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

But can you not see, the beats of 2/2 and 3/2 fit exactly on the beats of straight 6/8, if you don’t play 6/8 straight, so that every beat falls exactly on an evenly spaced quaver,then what you play won’t fit onto the beats of 3/2 or 2/2 either. Yes, you can tap your foot on every second beat or every third beat, or tap one foot on the 2nd and the other on the 3rd. There is nothing profound about that, it is just because you can divide 6 by 3 or 2. And sometimes the accenting of the notes will suggest doing one or the other, but which beats you tap your foot on doesn’t change the rhythm, and you can always tap out all six beats, regardless of which pattern the accenting suggests to you.

And writing in 6/8 isn’t just convenience, it is because there ARE 6 beats in the bar, 6 syllables in ‘rashers and sausages. ’ In strict transcription (which is admittedly rare in trad music) whether it is compound duple or simple triple (your 2 and3:2) is denoted by the beaming of the quavers. In duple they are beamed in threes, in triple in twos. But that is secondary to the time signature which denotes the rhythm, the beaming ONLY tells you where to put the accents, it doesn’t alter the rhythm.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason, do you maybe mean
Xxx xXx | xxX xxx :|| and
Xxx Xxx | Xxx Xxx :|| at the same time?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Or maybe I should write it like this:
Xxxx Xxxx Xxxx :|| and
Xxx Xxx Xxx Xxx :||

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason try this: Draw three parallel lines of exactly the same length, one above the other. Divide one into six equal segments, one into 3 and one into two. Notice how the divisions on the 3 and two line up exactly with divisions on the 6. Now explain why you think playing a jig as 2 or 3:2 time alters the rhythm from the straight 6.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Falderalala is getting warmer, but the pattern plays out within a single bar, rather than over two. I think because of kerning we’re not going to get the X’s to line up right, vertically.

Closer would be this:

Xxxx Xxxx Xxxx :|| and
Xxx xxx Xxx xxx :||

(Taking out two capital X’s in the 2nd row.)

That gets you close to the "Plah, Kah tu Kah" timing in CK’s vid. The jig does that twice per measure. And you are absolutely correct, the two things are happening at the same time.

And no, Mark, there are NOT six beats in the bar. Not as jigs are played. A syllable is not a "beat." The mnemonic "rashers and sausages" approximates what’s happening when you combine two different meters - neither of which are six beats to the bar. 3/2 does NOT fit exactly on anything in straight 6/8 except once per measure, ever (for us it’s ‘1’). That is precisely why we don’t play jigs in straight 6/8. If you are bringing out that polyrhythm, you CAN’T play in straight 6/8. You have it precisely backwards. If 3:2 fit exactly where you said, then jigs would be played in six equal beats per measure. They are not.

You keep referring to "straight" 6/8, but that straight 6/8 time is not jig time, and jig time is not straight 6/8 time. Let your attachment to six beats per measure go! It’s leading you down a blind alley!

The easiest way to read it is three 8th notes to the downbeat, of course, but jigs are not played as written.

The illustration in the hemiola page is good. Note that there are no 8th notes in it. Everything is in the interaction of the dotted quarter notes and the 3 quarter notes equally divided over two beats.

Don’t confuse accents with time. The time is there, where there’s an accent or not.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Mark…. Your example failed when you started by drawing a line of six equal segments. Nobody plays jigs like that.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Now, on the 6 line rub out the 2nd and 5th lines and move them along a bit, to represent dotted quaver, semiquaver, quaver - the way people swing a jig to give it life. Now you’ll see that the duple divisions still line up, but the triple time divisions don’t. So if you are playing a jig this way, and you start thinking of it as being in triple time (3:2), far from breathing life into it and giving it lift as you claim, it will drag you back to playing the jig straight.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

>>"Mark…. Your example failed when you started by drawing a line of six equal segments. Nobody plays jigs like that."

If you think there is a 3:2 element in jig rhythm then you evidently do play jigs that way, because as soon as you swing the triplets 3:2 no longer fits.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

No. You have it backwards. It’s the 3:2 element that causes the swing.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Anyway, I’ve wasted enough time on this. It took the best part of a day to work out what you were trying to say, and then it turns out you have things completely back to front. You’re claiming that the life in jigs comes from the interplay of 2 and 3:2, but in fact quite the opposite is true - in order to put life into a jig you have to completely disregard the 3:2 element that is inherent in 6/8.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

>>"No. You have it backwards. It’s the 3:2 element that causes the swing."

How can it be? When you swing the jig you don’t hit the 3:2 beats.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I like Mark’s idea about the two lines.
It would make things clear, I guess.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Anyway, to play jigs, you don’t need to watch lessons about jazz or African percussion…

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

<<<When you swing the jig you don’t hit the 3:2 beats.>>

Yes, you do. That’s the idea.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

<<Anyway, to play jigs, you don’t need to watch lessons about jazz or African percussion…>>

Nope. But you do need to understand and execute the desired timing.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

"Xxxx Xxxx Xxxx :|| and
Xxx xxx Xxx xxx :||"

So this looks like you’re anticipating the "6" in the first group of six (bottom line), and anticipating the "4" in the second group of six. I can see how that would give it a nice swing.

Thanks for the Mulcahy video. She was doing some stuff that went beyond what you’ve all been talking about. Nice playing.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

A faulty premise will bite you in the end every time. Jason, you’re developing your rhythmic accompaniment tutorial on a 3:2 polyrhythm where the dominant 3 count coincides with a 2 count. But Irish jigs are usually interpreted w/a 2 - count ~ They’re duple. So, if poly-rhythm plays a part it’s 2:3.

Now about those 2 bars illustrating Michelle Mulcahy’s use of poly-rhythm? Any one willing to jot down a wee bit of real abcs or other notation (not bloody xs!*) to assist Mr. Steenwyck?

*C’mon, I found drum tutorials w/better notation than the xs above.

I think you lot can do better.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

<<A faulty premise will bite you in the end every time. Jason, you’re developing your rhythmic accompaniment tutorial on a 3:2 polyrhythm where the dominant 3 count coincides with a 2 count. But Irish jigs are usually interpreted w/a 2 - count ~ They’re duple. So, if poly-rhythm plays a part it’s 2:3.>>

Nope.

It’s 3 notes, evenly spaced over a duple. So 3:2.

2:3 would be two notes evenly spaced over three beats.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

In 6/8, a 2:3 time would just be two dotted quarter notes. That’s the duple.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I think Michelle’s game extends to three times, not just two. I’m a Flatlander compared to her. That’s some gee-whiz stuff, she pulls off. Like watching Bobby Fischer play chess.

Why do I say she plays in three times instead of just two?

Because she has a hemiola going between her foot and her left hand. But she doesn’t play the melody with that feel! It goes by pretty quick, but the notes seem mostly pretty even to me. This particular jig, "Lark on the Strand," she plays close to straight 6/8, suspended over the Hemiola.

duplet + 3/2 + 6, all at once. Three different meters.

That’s Michael Jordan-level hoops.

Bet she can drive a stick, eat a cheeseburger and do her makeup all at the same time!

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

"Because she has a hemiola going between her foot and her left hand…"

True, but I hear she’s going to see a specialist next week.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I think this is falling down the rabbit hole of too much interpretation of something that is very simple, and most everyone here already knows. If everyone on this thread managed to get together in the same physical location, I don’t think we’d have trouble playing a jig together.

Backers follow the pulse of the melody players. Or at least, that’s what they should be doing.

When that pulse is a jig rhythm, the backer may accent on different beats of the jig (see the John Doyle ASCII example above). Accenting the pulse, while staying *on* the pulse, is not a polyrhythm. As I understand it, anyway.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

"…music in two AND three at the same time…" Brahms did this too. I have all the respect in the world for jazz. But what I get so tired of hearing - and make no mistake, I hear it from enthusiasts of "classical" *and* jazz *and* traditional music - is the same old "our music is more exciting/vital/important/sophisticated/what-have-you than every other kind because only our music does [insert something that all music does]"

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Well, unless the pulse itself is polyrhythmic! Which is my argument here… the ‘pulse’ of an Irish jig is usually a polyrhythm: Specifically the vertical hemiola, though expressed linearly within one measure.

But yes, I think we’re all separated by a common language. This is something that can be demonstrated in 10 seconds with an instrument present, or at least something to bang on, and it’s probably something we all do without having to think about it too much.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason, you love poly-ryhthms & you should explore them thoroughly.

Jigs have wonderful rhythm; their constantly shifting pulse, anticipations of beats giving lift & notes whose durations cannot be precisely measured. Yes, jigs can also be played with a polyrhythm. But so far you haven’t presented a good argument for the inherent presence of *jig timing w/second line march*.

I think *someone* needs to submit abcs of a jig being played with the actual poly-rhythm.

Simple as that.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I prefer my jigs to go
"Quinoa and tofurkey"
Not that I don’t love sausages but I need to cut down.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

1.) No, the rhythm of a jig is not "constantly shifting." It’s pretty consistent throughout. Which is why it’s predictable enough to dance to. And the rhythm of a jig. It’s the hemiola.

2.) Yes, there are anticipations of beats. Why? Because the 3:2 pattern embedded within jig time leads to it.

3.) Why on earth would we not be able to precisely measure the duration of notes? Do you ever listen to music on a CD? If you do, it’s expressed in 1’s and o’s. It’s measureable to the limits of human perception and beyond. The hemiola pattern itself can be precisely expressed mathematically.

4.) The jig is not a 2nd line march beat (which is 4:4, anyway), and the 2nd line march beat is not a jig. But they have important elements in common.

5.) It’s not that I love polyrhythms. This is observation, not preference, over hundreds or maybe thousands of recorded jigs I can think of or point out, by Irish players, this specific timing is present routinely. It doesn’t matter whether I like hemiolas or not. Even if I hated hemiolas with every fiber of my being… the way I hate half-step and whole-step-up key changes at the end of power ballads, they’d still be there. I’m not saying it’s there 20 percent or 30 percent of the time. I’m saying it’s almost ALWAYS there, and variations on that theme are the exception, not the rule. I’m surprised to get this much pushback on it, because to me it’s clear as a bell and not really a matter of debate.

6.) I have submitted numerous examples of all kinds of rhythms. I’ve pointed them out to people, musicians and non musicians alike, many times, in person, just by tapping them out (or sometimes by bowing and hollering at a certain djembe player) and the lightbulb comes on, every time (though it doesn’t always STAY on the next week, I’ve found). I’m pretty sure I could tap it out with any of these examples given and you’d hear it right away, if you listen for detail. It’s like solving a puzzle… the solution isn’t obvious at first, but when you grasp the solution, it’s it’s like riding a bike.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

When you put it like that your point becomes crystal clear.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hey, don’t go confusing things with OldTime! :)

That’s what they call a "crooked tune," with added beats to the measure.

I have a friend who plays both Irish and OldTime on mandolin, and sometimes he comes over to the house and I back him on guitar. No problem on the Irish, but he plays some crooked tunes like this. It’s a confusion to accompany on guitar until you learn the tune, and every crooked tune is different in its own way. Not a polyrhythm or even an odd-time signature (which it can sound like at first). Just an extra note added or subtracted from the measure here and there.

I’ve never heard anything like this in Irish trad, probably because it’s closer to a dance tradition that would throw off the dancers. Appalachain/OldTime music seems to cope with it better, maybe because the dance styles are looser (but here I’m getting way out of my depth).

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I’m not sure it’s crooked exactly - it’s 6 measures per part instead of the usual 8, but otherwise it’s sounds to me like it fits 4/4. Confusing as heck though! I think the way she’s syncopating the fiddle part just makes it sound crooked, but one of you polyrhymicists can go ahead and straighten me out on that

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I was pretty excited to hear a tune called ‘the old jar of mustard’, so it’s on you to write that one now, Ben

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason says: " I’m saying it’s almost ALWAYS there, and variations on that theme are the exception, not the rule. "
Provide some data, Jason. Slow down and time some recordings of properly played jigs. I hear all kinds of phrasing by different players in different jigs, and I am not convinced this particular rhythm is ‘almost always’ there.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I would if I could, airport. Until it happens you’ll just have to get by with Mr. Duncan’s jars, they’re mustard like nobody does mustard.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

This discussion is just full of assertions with a great lack of any proper evidence. I haven’t been looking into it very much yet but I’ve taken a quick look at a couple of the recordings provided in thread and opened them in an audio processing software. Based on what I’ve been able to see so far I’ve not been able to identify a stable 3:2 polyrythm in the melody line as the one Jason is describing. Though I’ve not been able to isolate the melody line of the tunes I’ve been looking at good enough to get 100% accurate measurements. My first impression though is that the phrasing of jigs often is not consistant through the whole tune and that the variations are often a bit too dynamic to say that almost all jigs are performed with this controversial polyrhythm.

After all this is not something that I’m extremely good at and I’m sure there are people who would be a lot better at performing the required measurements to conclude wheather the 3:2 polyrhythm "almost ALWAYS" is there. Though I’ll probably see if I’ll be able to get some better measurements which can actually be trusted.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

It doesn’t make sense. I point out that 6:8 over 3:2 needs two bars of 6:8 and that it needs two cycles, so four bars of a jig to count as polyrhythm and Jason responds

<start quote>
In this case, I don’t think it has to go by twice…in my imperfect example below, it happens for every "rashers and sausages."

"RASHers AND sausAGes RASHers AND sausAGes"
"RASHers and SAUSages RASHers and SAUSages"
<end quote>

Later, in response to Falderalala, he says "the pattern plays out within a single bar, rather than over two".

If this can happen within one "rashers and sausages" then we are only getting the "1" and"2" of the 3/2. Something like Ennis’ "Where you get a half beat just before the beat just before the bar. You get a half beat somewhere in the centre of the previous bar" which he called pulse and described as syncopation ?

On a different point - when I said when quoting Ennis "He plays an A part ‘straight’" (typos corrected) I didn’t mean as even length eighth notes. Just that there was none of the stuff that this discussion seems to be about. I went back and measured them and found that when he does play three notes in half a bar they *are* almost same length. But that is also the case when he playes the tune the way he likes. However, he does not often play three notes in half a bar so when he does, as in the Killoran clip above, it is all part of the variety rather than a ‘basic pattern’.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

(I crossed with Jimmy Utterström)

Three hours gap then two posts together. The coffee must be on on this side of the Atlantic.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jig-et-ty twice per measure. 3/2 is vastly superior to 6/8.

This is like how reels should be counted in cut time. 2/4 is vastly superior to 4/4.

I’ve read a million times from a million old Irish music transcribers about how Irish Traditional Music truly does not fit properly into what we think of as classical time notation.

So even 3/2, 6/8, 2/4 or 4/4 is a total failure because we are trying to force some classical Western music theory onto some ancient music which defies our attempts anyway.

…forcing it onto individual tunes which each have their own internal swing and rhythms anyway.

So all of you attempting to engage Jason in an actual factual debate are TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT OF THIS LITTLE BRAIN EXPANDING EXERCISE…

;-)

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

The youtube links to polyrhythms are mind expanding. Thank you Jason. The links to jigs are just increasing my confidence in Seamus Ennis’ and Pat Mitchell’s ways of putting it. Following Mitchell’s way of describing it both "rashers and sausages" and "Jig-et-ty Jig-et-ty" forcing something "onto individual tunes which each have their own internal swing and rhythms" (or as Ennis puts that "The tune must have it own nuances. That is its own expressions of feeling. ")

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

OK Jason, sorry, I had missed that since the hemiola came into the discussion the terminology had changed. I was still on the ‘one metre over another metre’ way of looking at it in your opening post.

In which case I go back to what Mark M was saying. "1,3,5 of 6/8 ARE the 1,2,3 of 3/2. If it’s not on the 1,3,5 then it isn’t 3/2." except that as you pointed out it would be the 1,2 and 3 of 3/4. (that was what through me - 3/2 needs two bars of 6/8)

In the Coleman clip above the rhythm of the eighth notes in the jig is mainly coming from emphasis rather than note length or where the notes starts in the bar. The Killoran clip is harder to analyze but it seems that way. The Ennis one I have is fairly even. They are near enough even eighths that the 3 and 5 would be the 1 and 2 of 3/4, especially with a bit of ‘push and pull’.

So for me it is what Mark M said "You’ve noticed the occasional bars where the accent falls on 1, 3 and 5 , yes? But there is nothing magical or mysterious about that"

(I will type up an extract from Mitchell that explains by comment to Ian about forcing things - I just had to rescue this post from the clipboard.)

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Sorry I’m a bit late to this thread, so I just had a quick flip through it… anyway just for the understanding, @Jason: are you suggesting that a jig should be emphasised |: ONE two THREE, FOUR FIVE six :| ? This seems a bit odd to me, especially as a general rule of thumb. Personally, I’ll of course emphasise the 1 and 4, and quite often the 3 and 6 to add some lift, but almost never the 2 or 5. But maybe I *am* doing it wrong… :~/

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hi, David,

No, the 3 and 5 of 6/8 are not the 2 and 3 of 3/2. They fall at different times.

In the Coleman clip I don’t hear the 3/2 pulse in Tar Road…but it’s very distinct in Tell Her I Am. I thought the contrast between the two would make it easier to perceive. It comes on like a light switch!

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Quote from Pat Mitchell, Rhythm and Structure of Irish Traditional dance music - part 1, The Seán Reid Society Journal. Volume 1. March 1999, referring to double jigs:

"However, the phrase I hear does not consist of the two triplets but of the first triplet and the first note of the second. So to generalise, my thesis is that the basic structure has the phrase ending on the first note of the second triplet in each bar. The remaining note or notes in the bar would then become the ‘upbeat’ into the following phrase"
<snip>
"Looking again at the two phrases depicted in Fig.6, the basic jig structure of ‘ta-ta-ta, ta-ta-ta’ has changed to something resembling ‘ta ta-ta-ta taa’ ”ta ta-ta-ta taa’" [figure 6 is d|cAB A2 B| FDE F2 d| with phrase marks matching his description]

So not "|rashers and sausages|" but " sages|rashers and sau" or "ges|rashers and sauce"

So the phrases are breaking somewhere near Ennis’ "half beat just before the beat just before the bar" and the "2" of the 3 in Jason’s 3 over 2.

So maybe "don’t start from here", where "here" is sausages and rashers.

Is that polyrhythm ?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hi, Sebastian… No I am not. But if you are emphasizing the 3rd note and 6th note for lift, you are probably just bringing the 3/2 idea to the forefront.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Ok dk, thanks! I see won’t get around watching those drum clips, hehe.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Jason. I am confused again by "the 3 and 5 of 6/8 are not the 2 and 3 of 3/2." do you mean " the 3 and 5 of 6/8 are not the 2 and 3 of 3 over 2 in a 6/8 bar" ?

How do they fall at different times with 3 even beats over 6 even eights ?

To be clear about this one has to do what Mark suggested and Jimmy Utterström and I have had a go at. Actually look where the notes fall in time. Otherwise what is being described may be an aural illusion of the type that Michael Gill referred to in the section of an old thread that AB Steen linked into above. The notation or talk about this over that does not convey the sound of the illusion unless we and the people we are talking to are used to being illuded (:-/)in the the same way.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

David,

Thanks for the Pat Mitchell essay. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at from the quote, so went looking for it online. I found it here…

http://www.seanreidsociety.org/SRSJ1/Rhythm%20and%20structure%20in%20Irish%20traditional%20dance%20music.PDF

In the last section, with all the musical examples, he does advocate the notion of the phrase actually beginning with the pickup note going into the strong downbeat… Or as you state, "sages-rashers and sausages," with some emphasis on the ‘sages’ part, or just the ‘ges’ depending on the effect you want.

I think he’s going to the same concept… if you do this a lot - emphasize the note before the strong part of the down beat, you’ll wind up bringing the 3/2 feel out more. If you don’t emphasize those pickup notes into the downbeat (Is this what fiddlers talk about when they mention bowing across bar lines?) then the 3/2 feel will be buried more, but it won’t go away entirely, because it still feeds into where the notes fit into the passage of time through the bar.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

David…

<How do they fall at different times with 3 even beats over 6 even eighths ? >

I think you’re falling into the same trap that Mark fell into. The sixes are not "even eights." They are decidedly uneven. The 3:2 pulls them into an elliptical orbit!

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Is it only me that finds Mitchell’s ‘ta ta-ta-ta taa’ in bucketfuls in AB Steen’s link ? And variations from it of course, which Mitchell goes on to talk about.

No, Jason. I am saying that for the Coleman clip they *are* very close to even in time when he actually plays a half or full bar of them.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

It’s like these clips of hornpipes that people tell you are ‘dotted’ when the strong swing actually comes from emphasis and the gaps between the notes. Shove it into Audacity and measure the times in ‘pitch display mode’. Sometimes we have to get the ruler and spirit level out to find out if something is straight and even or not. Sometimes the experts can tell. Sometimes they can’t and it gets confusing.

Some people can tell. ‘Llig’ was one of them.

Or just get on and play…

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

In the Coleman clip, they are close to even in "Tar Road." They are not even in "Tell Her I Am." To me the difference is obvious. Like night and day.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

The clip Steen put up was great playing!

Getting to the jigs at the end, there is a distinct 3:2 pull happening, throughout most of the set. The guitar player seems to like to emphasize it his playing, and he’s got it down.

The melody guys do it most of the time, but not all of the time. They’ll slip out of it briefly and their notes will be more evenly spaced, and then they’re back in vertical hemiola time.

You don’t need software. You should be able to hear and feel whether it’s happening or not. Either you can easily tap out a 3:2 with your fingers along with their playing, or you can’t. It ain’t rocket science! But if you start out not knowing what 3:2 feels like, you might not get it… until someone shows you by tapping it out in front of you, in the context of a jig. And then I’m pretty sure most people would get it right away.

I mean, heck, even DRUMMERS learn this stuff!

Re: Jig Timing … “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that … lift?”

Re: Finding the lift

"I think there are half a dozen different technical things that one can do to add "lift" in ones playing (slurring into the beat, "breathing" after the beat, hitting the beat a little early, especially when the beat is on a high note, etc), and many of us mix and match different technical tricks to get the effect at different times (often depending on with whom we are playing).
~ Posted by Georgi August 22nd, 2007
https://thesession.org/discussions/14869#comment306759

Sorry for not including more details about why I’m putting the above link on this thread.
Unfortunately my old laptop is burning out. I should have a new model by Monday.

Until then my Dell & I will limp along trying to communicate in whatever crude, cryptic semaphore we manage to muster.

More will be revealed soon ~ or not. ;)

Posted by .

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

A huge mountain out of a very simple little mole hill.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

I agree, khasab. As a fiddler, I like it when a guitar player brings new ideas to a tune, but I don’t want the guitar player to impose more-or-less random rhythmic ideas onto the tune. Do what the tune suggests, and have fun. But don’t come in with a pre-conceived idea of what the tune "needs." Also, don’t come in thinking you’re going to "drive" the rhythm. You’re not. Or you shouldn’t.

In the Mulcahy clip, her left hand works really well — I love listening to that clip. But it works because it’s coming from the same place her melody is coming from. It’s all part of the same idea and feel. Synergy between melody and rhythm is good, and it can be great. But making it more intellectual than it needs to be risks failure. It ain’t jazz, and it’s not supposed to be.

Posted by .

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Intellectual?

This is just time. And it ain’t "random."

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

By "random," I mean — walks in, thinking, I’m going to play some second line march on a jig or two. That’s also what I mean by "intellectual."

Posted by .

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hmmm… I don’t think you’ve grasped it at all.

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

How about a rewind to a premise presented in the first thread? The attempt was to offer advice for newbie backers.
~ Irish Session Guitar Playing

"I love playing guitar in sessions… I thought I’d put together a few rules of thumb for other guitarists who may be learning…

4.) Jigs are in two time signatures AT THE SAME TIME…"

Which is fine for explaining one type of rhythmic device occurring in some Irish jigs, or as part of the interpretation in other jigs. But the premise, & subsequent explanations, suggest the two time signatures (specifically 3:2 hemiola cross rhythms) are an integral rhythmic element embedded in Irish jigs.

That’s a broad generalisation ~ "Jigs are in two time signatures"; it’s not just about syncopation, emphasis of backbeats, phrasing across/blurring barlines or other various rhythmic devices played in jigs. It’s very specific & if I’m not mistaken, Jason, you’re suggesting it is rooted in the melody. If that’s true I can see how accompaniment helps bring it out. Which is great for this particular interpretation.

I’m just skeptical about instructing novice guitar accompanists, "If you can’t hear the 3 against 2 timing with jigs … Don’t play until you hear it." & not providing better examples for the intended audience who, as you say; " have been messing them (jigs) up, and need a little coaching to get it.

I think every regular session junkie among us has seen it with people who are new to ITM, guitar players especially, who just don’t hear jig timing." (i.e. ~ two time signatures at the same time)

Posted by .

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Ok, had to step away for a bit. Here’s what I should clarify:

1. I am not advocating or suggesting that anybody do anything from ‘outside the music’ at all. I am observing something already happening, and happening all the time. In other words, I am being descriptive, not proscriptive.

2.) I’m not saying backers should play a Brazilian clave-type 2nd line march beat over a jig. Or under it, for that matter.

3.) My assertion is that the 2nd line march and jazz time in general, as well as Ewe drumming and jig rhythm all have a common element: The simultaneous playing in two different times (or more, as I would say Michelle Mulcahy brilliantly demonstrates).


"Re: I love listening to that clip. But it works because it’s coming from the same place her melody is coming from. It’s all part of the same idea and feel."

I would disagree there.

About 10 years ago I attended a workshop by banjo player Jens Kruger. Amazing banjo player. Bluegrass guy. From Switzerland. You know, as they all are.

He demonstrated a concept… he and a guitar player played a pretty conventional bluegrass rhythm with swung 8th notes, and he broke into a solo passage, with swung eighth notes. He said, "Now, when I play with that swing, that same time the rhythm section is playing in, I am blending in. I am very much part of the rhythm section. I belong to the rhythm section. But when I want what I’m playing to pop out, I don’t have to play any louder. All I do is straighten out my notes, and play straight 8th notes, or straight 16th notes, while they’re playing the swung time."

And he demonstrates it and every note pops out like it’s floating on top of the tune.

One of the things I hear in Michelle’s playing on this vid is this idea… her left hand is simultaneously expressing the duplet and the 3:2 feel, which provides the syncopation, while her right hand is playing the melody pretty straight, just as Jens demonstrated that day.

So the neat thing about her playing (well, among many neat things. She’s just all around brilliant here and elsewhere), is that her ‘rhythm playing’ is decidedly NOT coming from the same time and place her melody playing is. Playing the rhythm and the melody coming from the same place is the obvious thing and that’s what ordinary harpists do. But she’s not ordinary. She’s extraordinary. Her left hand and right hand times are independent of each other. Interlocked, yes. They have to agree on where the downbeat is! But independent and separate. There’s a contrast and tension between her unsyncopated melody and her syncopated left hand comping (and damping!).

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Hmmm… I don’t think you’ve grasped it at all.

Posted by .

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Grasped what?

Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

"So the neat thing about her playing (well, among many neat things. She’s just all around brilliant here and elsewhere), is that her ‘rhythm playing’ is decidedly NOT coming from the same time and place her melody playing is. Playing the rhythm and the melody coming from the same place is the obvious thing and that’s what ordinary harpists do."

Oh? I meant coming from the same person, from a singular feel for the music that’s expressed by both hands.

Also, telling someone they haven’t "grasped" a concept is a bit conceited on your part. There are 130-something posts on this thread, which is derived from a previous thread (both of which I’ve read) that, as AB notes, was intended as advice — "rules," actually — for novice guitarists. You think it takes that much discussion to describe something that a novice guitar player is expected to understand and internalize?

I’d suggest you’re making this idea of playing rhythm guitar harder than it needs to be. Either that, or I am just not grasping it.

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Re: Jig Timing and the Second Line March

Who said it’s just rhythm guitar?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and so is a recording. So here we are trying to use words to describe what happens on recordings, and, of course, with live music.

You can write a book describing a marble, if you want to be precise.

If you’re not getting it, you’re not getting it. If you’re utterly and flatly mis-stating the concept, that is not a matter of me being conceited or not. It’s simply a matter of being accurate and precise. If you think we’re talking about "playing a second line march beat over a jig,’ after all that, the fact remains that we are not communicating accurately. It might be because I have done an inadequate job of explanation and illustration, but it’s not because I’m conceited.

This particular concept, the idea that Irish jigs (among other forms) can and often are felt and played in two simultaneous times rather than just one is not a complicated concept. African Ewe drummers, after all, grasp it right away. It’s simple and endemic to dance music in many many different genres. Not just Irish music, and not just Ewe drumming and its derivatives.

I think most of us who play this music a lot with some degree of dedication and sufficient time and technique on their instrument do this instinctively, even if we don’t realize it.

With anything of any complexity - art, music, automotive engineering, whatever, the Devil is in the details. And so is the value. I’m not content with being imprecise, or underpants-gnome logic:

Step 1: Pick up instrument.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: MUSIC!!!!

I advocate making things as simple as possible.

Not simpler.