3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

Forgive me if asked before by other posters on this site - when playing a set of 3 part jigs in a session - how many times should you play each tune? The norm is to play each tune 3 times but if each tune has 3 parts would it be better to play each tune twice?

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

‘Should’? It’s up to you, the conventions at your particular session, how much you like the tune etc. It stands to reason that a longer tune would typically be played fewer times than a shorter one but, in some sessions, a two-part tune might get played 4, 5 or more times. Personally, I don’t think I’d play any tune less than three times unless people are visibly bored or impatient, or are not joining in.

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

As far as playing in sessions goes, I have never been one for the trad-police rule of having a set number of times to play a tune. 3 is certainly the most common, but I’m usually not done with a tune after 3 times through and often opt for 4 on many tunes. And while it’s true that 3 part tunes are longer, it also takes longer for each part to come around again. So I don’t see any reason to limit it to fewer times through unless it’s a super repetitive tune that can fatigue the ear with a lot of repeated phrasing… Occasionally, I will limit a 4 or 5 part tune to twice through, but even then, depending on the tune, you may not have had a chance to give it all the variation that you like…

When recording, however, it’s a different ballgame. You need to pay attention to overall track length, etc.

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

As many times as you feckin’ want!

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Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

In my local sessions, I have noticed that longer jigs tend to be played twice rather than three times. But on the other hand if it is new to a session, it might be as well to play it more than twice so people can get to know it better.

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

The longest tune we ever play is Kitty O’Neill’s barndance ( https://thesession.org/tunes/1221 ) - seven parts. Twice is enough for that one. Kid on the Mountain might get played two or three times, Foxhunter’s reel definitely three times… Other multi-part tunes depending on what comes before or after.

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

Like everything else in life, play a tune as many times as you like until you feel like one more would be too many. I suspect some tunes could go for quite a while…others, maybe once is enough.

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

If I’m playing with a group that doesn’t vary a tune much between repeats, three times can get to be a bit of a slog.

If I’m with a good session crew that’s really digging into the tunes, though, a many-part tune can be a real joy to repeat ad infinitum. Why would you stop when you’re just getting started? :) I think the most times we’ve repeated Jolly Tinker in a session was eight…maybe a little overkill!

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

All depends on the context, the company, your own choice on taste…

Sometimes, in Scottish music, I might play a four part pipe march just once and often, likewise, with a multi part jig whether Irish or Scottish.

However, that usually only applies if it’s part of a set. I might often just choose to play a multi part jig on it’s own and then play it two or three times… e.g. a six parter, perhaps. In many ways, it’s like playing three tunes in one but not quite, of course. However, they do stand up well on their own without having other tunes "tagged on".

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

It’s a good question.

When it’s a jig of four or more parts, twice through seems to feel about right.

Two part tunes want to go at least three times.

But three-part jigs are sort of in that uncanny valley. Seems to me they’re usually played three times.

What I find interesting is how in the Highland pipe scene once-through has become standard. To fill the space, many of the old reels have evolved more and more parts over the years. Reels that were two-parters 200 years ago and four-parters 100 years ago are sometimes played today with six or eight parts. The effect, to someone used to Irish reels, is somewhat like a 2-part reel being played three or four times with variations.

In the middle are the Cape Breton players who play tunes twice each. (I don’t know if that’s standard in Cape Breton music, but I have heard it done many times.)

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

At least three times. Goes for 4-part jigs too, e.g. Lark in the Morning or Monaghan Jig.
Learn to use variation.

Re: 3 part jigs - how many times should you play in a session?

I know how to use variation just fine, but if a jig has four or more parts twice through feels about right to me.

I think it’s about the overall length. A four-part jig thrice through is the same length as playing a two-part jig six times through, which one doesn’t often hear.