Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

This is something which I’ve noticed a few times in various jigs.

I’ve been told that in a jig you should only be cutting on the 1st or 4th note of a bar, use taps for the other articulation - the justification being that the cut is more pronounced and it’s used to highlight the beat.

However when I encounter a situation like ‘The Star of Munster’ where the 2nd and 3rd bars of part A are as follows:

…|AGE GED|EAA ABD|

To articulate these 3 consecutive A’s should I be playing a roll (with the cut on the 3rd beat of the bar and tap on the 4th) ignoring the advice about cutting on the beat only. Or should I be trying to play some sort of inverted roll (a tap followed by a cut)?

I’m interested to get peoples opinions on this.

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

1) which instrument?
2) how about E2A‘A where ‘ is a cut?

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

SBSyd,

There are many ways to play this on a flute or whistle. One is as Alpinerabbit suggested. My go to way of playing it would be a glottal or breath pulse to separate the first of the two As and to cut on the 4th note of the bar. You could tap to separate the first two As and then cut on the 4th note, as you yourself suggest. You could also extend Alpinerabbit’s suggestion and take a breath (perhaps on a second or later time around) after the E as in EzA ‘ABd, cutting on the 4th note.

Others will undoubtedly come up with additional interesting ways of playing phrases like these.

Brian

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

That sounds like a gross oversimplification… at least on a whistle. Yes, you generally want to highlight notes 1 and 4, that’s true. I guess it’s a question of whether you’re separating notes (e.g., in a roll, you’d commonly put a cut between 1st and 2nd note) or whether you’re cutting a note itself to give it emphasis, where I agree I probably wouldn’t do it in other places or very sparingly. But what you describe sounds rather like a matter of separating notes, where the "rule" doesn’t hold. E.g. in Thunderhead jig (say, version 1 on thesession), I’d cut between notes 1 and 2 (then tapping between 2 and 3 to finish a roll) and then between notes 5 and 6 of the first bar and I think that’s probably what most people would do there. Maybe, and that’s a bit of a guess, the rule was ment to suggest that you probably wouldn’t want do a kind of a short roll on notes 5 and 6, where you could cut the first B and then tap between the Bs… Maybe in this particular tune and place, it’s not as awkward as in others, and maybe for some people it would sound ok, but mostly, it would be very strange.

I don’t think I’d ever use a tap when not doing a roll - I guess I always start things with a cut.

Also, one thing to consider in the Star of Munster would be tonguing. While it’s frequently discouraged and it sounds terrible when over-/mis-used, I think that in this case, it sounds quite good, when played with a proper swing. I’d probably tongue the first 2 As and then tongue&cut into the 3rd A (to give it an emphasis). Use of this is probably tune-specific though. While I’d use the tonguing in here, Sliabh Russell, or Tenpenny jigs (which also have eAA), trying to do the same in Thunderhead on the F#BB would sound really awkward… not sure what the difference is though.

And last point - I think you can just play a normal roll in that place. When swinging the tune properly, it will sound good, you don’t need (nor probably want) a machine-like emphasis on 1 and 4…

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

TSOM is not a jig.

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

« I’d probably tongue the first 2 As and then tongue&cut into the 3rd A (to give it an emphasis). Use of this is probably tune-specific though. »

Tonguing the first two As is exactly what a lot of whistle players would do and so commonly that you could hardly call it tune-specific. (Listen to Mary Bergin playing jigs.) And you don’t need to have the third repeated note (A in this case) to use it - it is extremely useful for any repeated notes in the 2nd and 3rd position in a group of 3 (think first bar of Connaughtman’s Rambles, Sixpenny Money etc. etc). Where there is no third repeated note, slurring into the next note (rather than tonguing a third time) is the usual practice, and in fact you could omit the tonguing on the third note in this example and just cut the third A.

See http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/jigsI.html

BTW if not tonguing, yes, you could articulate after the first and second As with a tap and a pat but that would not make what you were doing a roll IMO.

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

Stiamh: Hmm, I wasn’t accurate enough - I ment probably tune&note-specific… see the example with Thunderhead, where tonguing the Bs would sound a bit strange imho - there will be surely many more examples. E.g., I wouldn’t tongue the E-E at the start of Dever the Dancer, and probably wouldn’t tongue the 2&3 Es in B-part of Morrison’s, although I can see that someone else would… It might be largely personal preference too.

Agreed on slurring into the third note in a row - having suggested a tongued cut, I see it as a cut with added tongue to do emphasis of the beat, rather than tonguing to articulate with added cut…if that makes any sense.

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

Thanks, Gonzo. I am unfamiliar with the jig version.

Posted by .

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

Thanks for the useful comments guys, I agree that I’ve probably simplified things by quoting a rule. But the old adage that you first need to know the rules before you can effectively break them comes to mind.

The instrument is question is flute/whistle; and the thread would probably have been better phrased as ‘Articulation in Jigs’.

The same issue appears in plenty of jigs - The Connaughtman’s Rambles (Setting #1) - there are 3 x B’s in Part A, Bar 4 and also in the turnaround for Part A and Part B.

I’ll try some of the comments above and see how I go.

Thanks.

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

"Thanks for the useful comments guys, I agree that I’ve probably simplified things by quoting a rule. But the old adage that you first need to know the rules before you can effectively break them comes to mind."

Err… I have hesitated to butt into this conversation, as I do not want to claim to be a font of ITM knowledge. I have never heard of this alleged rule before, and scanning some whistle playing transcriptions (eg Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle and Brother Steve’s site http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/ ), I don’t see any sign that any of the big name players transcribed playing jigs follow it? The closest is Larsen’s transcription of Seamus Ennis’s "The Thrush in the Straw" (whistle) but even there in (for example) the first eight bar phrase, he cuts on a 1 or a 4 only six times, somewhere else four times.

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

There aren’t any hard rules, but generally speaking, yes you want to accentuate the beat & that is most commonly done with a cut. That’s not to say a cut can’t happen elsewhere or that you must cut on beat.

This is a good example of when I think looking for examples from your favorite players & trying to slow them down for a good listen would be best.

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

Terminology question: is a cut specifically upper note to main note, or is that also used to describe main-upper-main?

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

Which instrument, Derek?

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

I didn’t realize it was instrument-specific. I play guitar, but I like emulating some of the ornaments my wife does on whistle. So I guess I’m asking about whistle.

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

For your question it’s probably not too instrument specific. But cuts don’t always refer to the same thing say on whistle and fiddle. But on whistle there are basically cuts and taps. On cuts the whistler lifts a finger above. On taps you tap (or strike) a finger on the hole below the note. Stiamh posted an example of (whistle) cuts earlier. http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/jigsI.html#method1

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

It’s not instrument specific, and since the most frequent use of the cut is to separate repeated notes, in that case at least the cut would always be main note- upper note-main note.

Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

"the most frequent use of the cut is to separate repeated notes." Simply not true, on flute/whistle, at least. The easiest use, perhaps. But cuts are used often to emphasise the beat. Then, it’s more likely to be "upper note to note". I recall being criticised by my teacher when I played a cut A at the start of a bar "because I can hear an A before the cut." Hope that answers the question, Derek.

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Re: Ornamentation in Double Jigs… and Jigs in General

"However when I encounter a situation like ‘The Star of Munster’ where the 2nd and 3rd bars of part A are as follows:

…|AGE GED|EAA ABD|

To articulate these 3 consecutive A’s should I be playing a roll (with the cut on the 3rd beat of the bar and tap on the 4th) ignoring the advice about cutting on the beat only."

I do not play this jig, so take my response with a grain of salt.

I don’t think I would play a roll. I think I would do a double note cut on the first two As, followed with a tongue, then a single note cut before the next A. In other words I would likely use a cut on the beat.

Now I’m going to have to learn this jig.

ps ~ it’s a bit confusing how "beat" is used in the OP but I think you are counting notes (not rhythmic beats).

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