jigs and circassian circles

jigs and circassian circles

Here in france, many circassian circles are danced either to jigs (double) or tunes that used to be jigs (ie seem to be pretty much the same melody as some tunes that definitely are played in the irish tradition, but which no longer sound irish).

I’m wondering what the dynamics of this has been. There are of course issues of ornamentation and phrasing, but I’m also wondering about rhythm:

From what I’ve observed, if noted in 1/8 abc, double jigs are bars made up of two among three rhythm groups: abc, a2 b (and the occasional a b2) and a3. giving the following (completely made up) example:
def def | d3 fed | f2 e dAB etc…

Circassian circles tend to have many more a2 b and a3 combinations along with another bar which goes like this: abc abc |a2 b2 c2| abc a2 b |

Does this occur in the irish tradition/anywhere else - I don’t seem to remember it in anything but french tunes… ?

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Re: jigs and circassian circles

"There are of course issues of ornamentation and phrasing, but I’m also wondering about rhythm"

As with all dance music the clue to the rhythm is in the dance. Learn the dance and you’ll instantly see why the rhythms are the way they are.

KFG

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Re: jigs and circassian circles

Oh… sorry.. I come to the music kinda both from listening and dancing. The circassian circle is an odd kind of animal that can be danced to pretty much anything. Depending on the music, we dance it in simple steps or in polka steps - an "Irish-type" jig is more condusive to "polka" steps. |abc abc|abc abc| is danced one-and-two three-and-four The flatter french way of playing is sometimes more condusive to a walked step.

Either way, there are two strong beats to the bar. |abc abc|a2 b2 c2| is an odd rhythm, however you cut it, as polka’d, you fit 4 counts (3 steps and a pause) in and walked it’s one-two-three-lift = 4 equal steps. (although, the weird bar does tend to come on the "three lift" part, but could also come on the "one two" without much problem).

Basically, it fits with the dance, but is not necessary - and in fact, presence or absence wouldn’t make any more change to the dance than whether there were |abc abc| or |abc a2 b|

Hope this makes some kind of sense…

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Re: jigs and circassian circles

Btw, for reference, here’s a piece I wrote about the circassian circle.
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=circassian%20circle
These |a2 a2 a2| things seem to be the domain of "modern"/"avant-gardist" dance music (ie. they allow themselves many liberties with the tradition, so long as people can dance to it).

I’m wondering whether this phrase has a tradition or whether it’s sort of the simple result of playing backbeats and fiddling around a bit.

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Re: jigs and circassian circles

This abc abc |a2 b2 c2| abc a2 b | rhythm looks interesting. Could you post an example here?

Re: jigs and circassian circles

Well, it’s always interesting to see a variation on an old favourite dance, for a start.
As you say, in the link, it is an english dance, so a query here is a bit hopeful to get a meaningful answer, were it not for the odd presence of a old hand at barn-dances.
So; in my ( not so ) humble opinion; idealy you’d want single jigs, with a strong crotchet-and-quaver, crotchet-and-quaver rhythm, but all these things are flexible. The a2b2c2 bar pattern seems utterly alien to any sort of jig, english, irish, whatever. There was some comment in an earlier thread about some French musicians tending to play from the music without being conversant with the tradition ( to paraphrase ), consequently they tended to play rather flat without giving the neccessary lift and lilt that is an essential part of good traditional dance music. It will always improve the standard and style of dance musicians if they are used to doing the dance themselves. The lack of that might be another source of your problem.

Re: jigs and circassian circles

There is a few circassian circles to listen here http://ns32722.ovh.net/sites/tammkreiz/jukebox/jukebox.htm
They are all Breton musicians that play for the dance so I don’t know if they are the French musicians tending to play from the music without being conversant with the tradition.
The circassian circle is quite fun to dance in festoù-noz 🙂

Re: jigs and circassian circles

To me that implied 2 vz 3 created from varying a measure of 2 with a measure of 3 is about as French as it gets. They tear up Bourees a trois temps the same way.