The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

I’m told you should play jigs with a “jiggety jig” rhythm. Almost dotted 8th-16th-8th, but more like beat one is a littler longer than beat 2 and the 3 is even.

But in practice I rarely hear people do that. Maybe Tommy Peoples sometimes. Is it a regional thing? Or am I maybe not quite hearing the difference at speed?

Re: The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

Maybe post some links to videos where you hear this? To be able to make a comparison?

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Don’t over think it!
Just get in the groove with the other players in the pub and bingo.

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Just sit in, learn the tunes, and play along. If you try to analyze you are wasting playing time.

Re: The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

« Don’t over think it… » « Just sit in, learn the tunes, and play along… »

Yeeees… but unfortunately it’s not that simple for everyone - as any number of beginning (and not-so-beginning) players will cheerfully (for them) or woefully (for those that know better) demonstrate. While I agree that over-analysis is a pitfall, you do need to have a clear idea of a proper jig rhythm in your head. Especially if you play fiddle.

Take "jiggety-jiggety" as a clue, a hint, and go listen carefully to how good players do it. Absorb. Compare their rhythm with yours. Experiment. Adjust. Rinse and repeat.

Do this at home of course. In between times you can sit in, get in the groove, etc. 🙂

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You can’t learn at home in a vacuum other than the basic tune!
Get down to as many local sessions as you can.
Relax, mimic what you hear, use your instinctive auto-pilot, immerse yourself in the warm pool of ensemble playing, learn by osmosis, pulse to the groove!
By the way: no idea what this so-called ‘jiggerty jig rhythm’ is supposed to be!!

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Stiamh, you missed a chance to ‘blow your own horn’! Not to worry, I’ll do for you! Now, I know this link is devoted to whistle playing, but it gives a very succinct discussion of ‘jiggetty-jiggetty’. Start here: https://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/tricky.html and the next 3-4 pages.

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Osmosis and all that, OK, but sometimes I do want to be able to figure out why I like fiddler A’s jigs better than fiddler B’s. A new fiddler visited our session lately and I immediately recognized that I like her jigs better - which would stand out when she was playing alone, because once everybody played together she would align with the core players of the session. So what was it that I liked about her jigs? Precisely that bouncy jig rythm. Here’s a guy who can bounce a jig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbZgA5mlhiA

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I seem to hear uneven quavers most in the playing of N. Connaught fiddlers, less in Galway and Munster fiddling (I wouldn’t like to make any generalisations about Ulster as there seems to be a lot of local and/or personal variation.) So there might perhaps be a regional factor. But I suspect it is predominantly a personal thing. In terms of fiddlers, the most ‘dotted’ jig playing I have heard is from Brian Rooney (Leitrim) and the ‘straightest’, from Johnny Doherty (Donegal).

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Each tune is different. Some jigs work just fine, even if you don’t use the same bowings as the others, but once in a while you find something that just sounds too straight no matter what. For me, The Pet In The Kitchen ( https://thesession.org/tunes/3611 ) was such a tune I hadn’t played for ages. I found it useful to slow it down again and apply an x>xx approach. During practice, if nothing else.

Re: The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

Varies regionally and individual players have their own styles too.

As others have said, there’s no harm in experimenting but you should adapt to the style of the other players within a session. It should come fairly easily.

In my experience the slight emphasis is usually more often on the first note in the bar or the first set of triplets.

In Scottish music, jigs, especially the older ones, usually have a more dotted feel and they are even notated as such in many publications.

However, it’s a case of getting the feel of the tune and knowing what’s happening around you. The notes are rarely played with equal emphasis or length. Otherwise, we’d be just as well off with a midi or we’d all be playing piano accordions. 😛

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Apologies to all the really good PA players out there, BTW. 🙂

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"Otherwise, we’d be just as well off with a midi or we’d all be playing piano accordions".

I have absolutely no idea why you would even make a comment like that.
I don’t see the relevance. At all.
It appears, after playing piano for 50 years (and now playing ITM on P/A), I know very little.
Perhaps you might fill us in JJ!

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It was a joke and there are lots of very good piano accordion players.

However, there are also many especially in the F & A/ Scottish dance band circuits who play jigs etc in a very "mechanically sounding" fashion. It can sound like a machine gun whereby the notes just "rattle out".

I am now also playing a bit of traditional music on the accordion. I also know very little too except what I like to hear from other musicians and which ones inspire me.

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A fun exercise is to take a jig and try a phrase or two - or an A part or, for that matter, the whole tune, two different ways. First, emphasize the one beat in each group of three - as you mentioned in the OP.
Then do the opposite - emphasize the three beat.

You’ll get a good sense of how different characteristics can be brought out. It’s fun (don’t try too hard to make it work, or go too fast), and it educates your ears a bit.

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Re: The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

I would like to add to my previous comment that perceived unevenness or ‘bounce’ in jigs (and reels as well) is often as much due to emphasis and slurring as to actual time ratios.

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@ergo
I’ve actually tried that a bit (since posting this query) and have found that certain tune lend themselves the jiggety jig better than others.

@creadur I’ve noticed that. At least it seemed affected by how successfully I can slut into beat one or not.

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Lilting tune helps. For a bouncy jig, Start with a laugh like popeye and hear it beforehand. “Ya ga ga/ga” Adding notes and rolls where necessary. Add style and voila!

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Re: The “Jiggety Jig” rhythm

How the wotnot does bloody Popeye laugh?!
What a fabulously meaningless reference (for me anyway!)!!
I salute you! I love it!