The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Why are they there?

Could it be that some collector made use of the paper to write down another tune, as still happens - with me anyway? Or is there some musical reason?

And though they are described as jigs. they are not entirely compatible with the vast canon of traditional, aon-dó-trí jigs to which generations have hopped and lepped.

And finally, what class of a sin would it be to omit them?

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

didn’t really understand the question? I’m not aware of any ‘jiggy bits’ in any of the O ‘Carolan tunes I play - theres a couple of planxtys in 6/8 but you wouldn’t really class them as jigs. Examples please?

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

I think it was just a tradition to provide a ‘break’ of something fast and light after a slower more melodic tune.

You get strathspeys that move into reels in the Scottish tradition. And in my book of Scottish fiddle tunes edited by Iain Ferguson, ‘Roslin Castle’ is printed with variations by James Oswald, the eighteenth century composer who wrote his own sonatas but also arranged Scottish folk songs.

Just as concertos include ‘allegro’ movements, so some ‘traditional sets’ do. In eighteenth-century Scotland, there wasn’t a hard and fast divide between traditional music and the baroque. It’s not quite the same in Ireland, but still, Carolan is sometimes viewed as a baroque composer, rather than a ‘folk musician’. He was a bard in the Irish tradition, but he was also someone who wrote pieces for the Anglo-Irish gentry, met Geminiani and tried his hand at a ‘concerto’.

So it’s nothing to do with a shortage of paper. We’re no longer in the grip of eighteenth-century fashions, so if you want to leave out the jiggy bit, I say - go ahead!

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Could you please provide some examples? I feel like I’ve seen them but I don’t have my book with me now and I’m curious. It sounds like just the sort of thing I would really dig I have to say. Liz Carroll does something like this in the "Crossroads: Art and Design" album tune "Planxty Charles Bunworth" though she puts a name to the ‘jiggy bit’ - "Rose and Kathleen’s Slip Jig". Her compositions are a tip of the hat to that era though she doesn’t worry about leaving out modern elements.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

I don’t know which Carolan pieces the OP is referring to, but one example that I’ve come across is in Donal O’Sullivan’s ‘CAROLAN: The Life, Times and Music of An Irish Harper’, pp. 103-104, Mrs Bermingham, First Air, time signature 4/4 is followed immediately by Jig 6/8 as if the two went together. (Printed as a separate piece, next comes Mrs Bermingham, Second Air, in 3/4 time).

In my post above, I should have said explicitly that Rosslin Castle in Iain Fraser’s Scottish Fiddle Tunes, number 2 ‘variations by James Oswald’ (1710–1769), the main tune, time signature 4/4 is folowed by a jig in 6/8 time.

In Cape Breton music the sequence of March - Strathspey - Reel in the same set is also a traditional combination.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

The Ossian "Complete Collection of the much admired… etc, etc, etc" lists sources for tunes (but not which tune from which) many of which are printed collections of various ages.

It has a facsimile of a page from "Thomson: The Hibernian Muse, London, c.1786" which has a "Mr Connor" in 3/4 that goes to 6/8 labeled "Jigg" part way along the stave. It has a bass line. So I guess that’s how Mr/Mrs/Ms Thompson though it should be. In c. 1786. In London.

There are also facsmiles of a couple of pages published in Dublin in c. 1726 for "Violin, Flute or Hautboy" that have features you don’t find in modern ‘traditional’ collections.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

"There is no musical connection between the tune and its jig companion…"

I am not so sure that there is no connection - I think they are drawing on the same themes to a degree. Perhaps he was influenced by the ‘dance suite’ - a common form in 17th Century instrumetal music, comprising tunes of contrasting metres and tempi, based on the popular court dances of the period (bourrée, gavotte, minuet, gigue, sarabande etc.).

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Food for thought there CMO. I Googled dance suites and found some interesting articles, such as this one: https://www.thoughtco.com/baroque-dance-suite-2456368

I was half-hoping they were a transcripton error so that I could leave them out but now I feel compelled to play through. With Mrs Judge I am beginning to see a certain ‘flow’ from the 4/4 to the 6/8. All I need now is an elegant drawing room, a log fire, lots of candles and a glass of Claret.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

"I was half-hoping they were a transcripton error …"

It is possible, I suppose, that the 6/8 sections were erroneously tacked on the end - and it would, I think, be legitimate to opt to play the 4/4 sections as self-standing pieces (just as it would be no crime to play one movement of a classical work). But it is reasonable to assume that the two ‘movements’ do not appear together by chance and that someone (whether O’Carolan himself or a later interpreter of his work) has deemed them compatible.

I notice that the 6/8 section of Mrs. Judge has also been submitted as a separate tune https://thesession.org/tunes/1551 . I also notice that it is very similar to the tune known as O’Carolan’s Welcome https://thesession.org/tunes/1055#setting1055 .

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Yeah, they have a lot in common (and both are recorded on Chieftains 9, Boil the Breakfast Early).

(But I don’t think Mrs Judge #2 is particularly jiggy, at least not in the ITM sense. There are other O’Carolan pieces which fit the jig rhythm a lot better.)

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

the only O’Carolan piece I know that could really be considered ‘jiggy’ is ‘Baptist Johnston’ [and a fine tune it is] what are some of the others?

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

As people keep asking for examples, I’ve had a quick look through the O’Sullivan book. The following are all tunes consisting of a first section in 4/4 or 2/4, followed by a section in 6/8, labelled as ‘Jig’ over the staff.
James Betagh (#4)
Lady Dillon (#35)
Captain Higgins (#57)
Mrs Judge (#68)
Mr O’Connor (#113)
Michael O’Connor (First Air) (#120)
General Wynne (#170)

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

thanks Jeff - I already knew Charles O’ Connor and Maggie Browne without realizing they were O’Carolan tunes!

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

thanks Mollie that’s interesting - the tune sounds as if it should be one of O’Carolans, I can even hear it inside my head played on a harp! But we’ll probably never know.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

These tail pieces are designated ‘Jig’ in O’Sullivan’s and other musical notation though are hard to force into the traditonal jig rhythm, for me anyway. I find Baptist Johnson and John O’Connor will fit easily enough though. Maybe the scribes of yesteryear were using the same softwear as The Session.ie and everything in 6/8 came out as a ‘jig’.

George Brabason II works well as a hornpipe. Any others?

@Fiddle Aunt: that’s very informative. I will treat Planxty Maggie Brown with more respect from now on.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Twa Bonnie Maidens is the same tune as Planxty Brabazon II, according to various artists on You Tube. I give up with this musical detective work. I’ll just play and enjoy.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Maybe a jig of yesteryear didn’t have a modern ‘traditional jig rhythm’ 🙂

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

^^^^ I think you’re right. It could just be used as a word for ‘a lively dance with leaping movements’, as in William Kemp’s famous jig or ‘Nine Days’ Morris’ dance to Norwich.

http://www.amaranthpublishing.com/Kemp.htm - with lovely sound cloud. 🙂

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1999867946_16.jpg - the music associated with it is in 4/4.

(PS - @christy taylor - ‘Maggie Brown’, because I learned it from Peter Kennedy’s Fiddler’s Tune Book, II, p 40, facing ‘My Wife’s a Wanton Wee Thing’, has never seemed Irish to me. I’ve always heard a Scottish fiddle playing it in my head, not a harp. Just shows the power of association. 🙂 What we need is some skilled musicologist to analyse its features and pronounce on whether it’s more Scottish or Irish, musically speaking.)

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

I’m Irish and have always paid little heed to any difference between the two branches of our family. You may have some good rhythms with your flings and strathspeys but our hop jigs and slides will gie ye a guid run for your money.

Chanters at dawn.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

‘Chanters at dawn.’

Nyah versus Heuch, hey?
The trouble is, I like them both… 🙂

(I would really like to know what @Nigel Gatherer thinks about the origin of Maggie Brown.)

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

I’ve only heard it on one recording, and that was as a harp tune (Clannad - Crann Ull). The comments under "Maggie Brown" suggest Niel Gow as the composer. Who would have known?

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Nathaniel Gow is credited in my Iain Fraser book (‘Scottish Fiddle Tunes - 60 Traditional Pieces for Violin) - and as I’ve often heard it played in sets during our Scottish country dance classes, my brain hears it as Scottish. But who’s to say - there’s been so much swapping about, and it was quite common to attribute tunes to an earlier master, or to claim it as one’s own when all that had been done was to collect and ‘arrange’ it.

Anyway, sorry to have drawn people up a side-street.

It’s interesting to see all the examples of where a main tune leads into a jig or other faster tune. I love Carolan - but there are only ever about four tunes of his that I ever hear played at our local sessions.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

"but there are only ever about four tunes of his that I ever hear played at our local sessions" I suspect they are the three we played last night plus the one I didn’t get in quick enough to start. But back on topic…

Is it evidence of what some people did at some time in the past? Do we know for how many generations it has been has it is now?

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

It was fairly common practice for the old harpers to play a jig variation of an air following the air itself. A good example of a non-Carolan tune that does that is "The Jointure and Jig-" written by Thomas Connelan and included in Edward Bunting’s third collection. Whether O’Carolan (Or Connellan for that matter) did this himself or whether it was a tradition created by later harpers is unclear, but the tradition has stuck.

Even O’Carolan tunes that don’t end with a "jiggy bit" often end with a phrase that is more straight forward and dance tune like than the rest of the piece- O’Carolan’s Concerto is a good example.

You have to remember that originally a jig was a baroque dance (Bach wrote jigs) which would have been relatively new to Irish music at that time, so O’Carolan jiggy bits may have been operating in a baroque style more than a trad one.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

That’s very interesting Lonnie. You’ve set me off Googling Baroque jigs/gigues. Here’s one performed by a Canadian troupe. Not exactly Riverdance but the music is Handel and definitely has that jig 1-2-3 that we have come to know and love.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYxFB8h9nqA

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

‘four tunes at our local session’ - which four Mollie? I ‘m betting one of them is Si Bheg Si Mhor and another is Fanny Power!

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

‘four tunes at our local session’ - My money is riding on Planxty Irwin and Hewlett.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

I’ll add Si Beagh Si Mhor and Fanny Power. Beyond that there is usually some hesitation about everyone joining in.

What others did Planxty record?

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

I think that was their entire O’Carolan repertoire

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

Oh, sorry, I hadn’t noticed those two were already mentioned. I guess the Planxty recordings mean that lots of people play them roughly the same way, so they work at a session.

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

The Chieftains probably recorded more O’C tunes than any of the other ‘big bands’ in the last 40 years yet in my experience the same handful of tunes ever gets played at sessions

Re: The jiggy bit at the end of some O’Carolan tunes

‘Four’ was a number off the top of my head. But people have guessed right!

We regularly play only Si Beagh Si Mhor, Planxty Irwin and Fanny Power; occasionally Hewlett, Lord Inchiquin & Carolan’s Concerto. Very occasionally, Carolan’s Welcome (or ‘Carolan’s Air’) and Carolan’s Draught.

Never mind - I love them all. 🙂
Joy to your playing,
Mollie