Kalamatianos jig

There is 1 recording of this tune.

Kalamatianos has been added to 16 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Kalamatianos
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:D|G>(AB/c/) d^c d2|def a.g .f.e|d2 e =fe dc|1 Bc^c d=c A:|2 B^AB Gz FG||
K: C
|:A2 A Ae dc|BAB cd BG|1 (A2 G) ^FE FG:|2 A2 A A<e d^c||
K: F
|:BAG ^FG AB|^c>de cB AB|1 ^c3- c>e dc:|2 Aza Az z2||
D^CD E2- ED|FED ^CB,/C/ B,/A,/G|d^cd ef ga|g>(fe/d/) ^cA BG|
ABB B>e d^c|BAG ^FG AB|^c3- c(e dc)|BAG ^F>G A=B||
K: C
c2 B c_d cB|(c/_d/e/f/d) c=d (BG)|(BAB) (cd) (BG)|ABc d>G AB|
c2 B c_d cB|g>(fe/d/) cd BG|ABd cd BG|A3 d^c _BA||
|:GA_B ^cd cB|^c A2 dc _BA|GA_B ^cd cB|1 A A2 d^c _BA:|2 A A2 .g.f .e.d||
|:c2 B AG AB|cea .g.f .e.d|c2 B cd BG|1 A3 .g.f .e.d:|2 A>g^f/g/ az z||

Sixteen comments

Kalamatianos - 7/8

Someone’s recent inspiration into 7/8 time brought to my attention that while we have several mixed meter tunes on this site, there aren’t a lot of 7/8 tunes. This is the tune form most of us will experience if ever we go Greek, probably the most popular of the taverna dances.

So what’s the Irish in this anyway? Well, I used to earn one meal a week performing Greek dances at a Greek restaurant in Dublin, at the time the only Greek restautant in Dublin. There were usually four of us, two gents and two ladies, and the idea was to get the audience up and dancing too. Dublin is really where I developed a taste for Ouzo too. The really embarrassing bit was when there would occassionally be some Greek visitors, of the sort that learned the dance in school, when it was part of the curriculum there - and boy could they dance. That air of ‘machismo’ is not easy for a whoos like me, but sometimes I could fake it alright.

There are many tunes for this dance, and this is just one, from the notations of an old friend. Here is some other information, including a dance description, saving me writing one out:



Alright Jimmy Troy - let’s see you get yourself around this one, heh, heh, heh…

This is one for all you bozouki and cittern players - Dow/Mark…

"bouzouki" - hey, so sometimes my spelling slips, but I ain’t bad for a dyslexic, eh?

Midi & 7/8:

Basically here’s the order of ‘pulse’, using ‘N’ to represent a ‘note value’, based on a 7/8 bar of music - or ‘long-short-short’:

|N3 N2 N2|

Tempo wise, if you take ‘N2’ as a value, the ‘short’, those two beats are between 120 - 125 beats per minute, or if you were wanting to deal with it in the smaller element, or:


- then ‘N’ is double that frequency, or 240 - 250 ‘Ns’ per minute… The midi doesn’t really handle that stucture well, tending to run all the notes in a given bar together, but even delineation of pulse from bar to bar and as phrases is not strong. These are great tunes, and I hope some of you will enjoy this offering. Take it, as with anything, nice and easy to start, and get familiar with toe tapping to a different rhythm.

As far as dance and 7/8 tunes, often the basic step, for traveling, etc., is really just your basic ‘3’, like in an Irish reel - as an example of what I’m saying, here’s the Irish version followed by the same thing in a different order of 7/8, to make it clearer, ‘short-short-long’, or LRL:

Reel Step, without a ‘skip’ or ‘hop’:
|N2 N2 N4| = |L-step -, R-step -, L-step - - -|

7/8 Step:
|N2 N2 N3| = |L-step -, R-step -, L-step - -|

And, for the Syrtos Kalamtianos, ‘long-short-short’:
|N3 N2 N2| = |L-step - -, R-step -, L-step -|

It’s a great dance, as is the music, and the food. I haven’t chosen the easiest member of this family of tunes to offer here, but hey, it looked like some of you like it with a bit of challenge thrown in once in awhile. Also, it was one I had on hand, originally notated by another person - Greek, so I’ve done my damnedest to keep it free of my inclinations…

The description of the dance as "reel steps" is misleading. Yes you are stepping Right, Left, Right, (or L-R-L) but the steps are slower because the music is slower, and the first step is always held longer. The step is usually described as Slow-quick-quick. The dance is made up of 4 steps, including two traveling steps along the line of direction (the perimeter of a circle), followed by a crossing step to the right and a crossing step to the left, both done in place and more-or-less facing the centre of the circle. The crossing step to the right is stepping on R to the R, stepping on L in front of R, and rocking back on R in place. The crossing step to the left reverses the footwork. Because the last step of the 4-step sequence is crossing to the left, the first traveling step starts out going backwards on the R foot. This sequence of 4 steps just repeats over and over, although the leader can wind the line around in any direction or do fancy turns, leaps and squats at his or her discretion.

A syrto is not a jig…

…Syrto is a 4/4 rhythm. Kalamatiano is a 7/8 rhythm. Horo is a broad category of (mostly) Bulgarian dances. I don’t know where your name for this tune came from, but it is totally nonsensical, like calling an Irish tune "The Slip-Jig Reel" or something.

BTW, the best way to feel these Eastern-European compound rhythms is to understand them as dancers do, ie groups of steps of different duration, usually clusters of 2s and 3s, so your 7/8 is not 1+1+1+1+1+1+1, but either 3+2+2 or 2+2+3 (2+3+2 is pretty rare)… dancers often say "slow-quick-quick" and musicians often say "long-short-short"… this particular Kalamatiano is a 3+2+2 and should feel like 3 unequal pulses per measure… hope this helps; Eastern European music, like Irish or Scottish or Appalachian music, is not just a bunch of notes, and to get it right you need to get the right feel to the articulation.

PS I’ve been playing this stuff for about 15 years

Kalamatianos - 7/8

Sorry, I’m not sure what happened with that ‘title’… I’ll have to check and see if it was a confusion on the notes for the recording/dance it was taken from… So, do you recognize this particular one? And, by the way, most of what you said was said previously, starting with the first entry, the bit where I write the title and then say something about it… ~ ? 😏

3-2-2 ~ & never saying it was a ‘jig’

Jig or Slip Jig is the only option we have for entering mixed meters, though some folks have also chosen the category of ‘barndance’ as well, which is usually 4/4. However, if you check any of these you’ll see that we enter the M: ~ as it is, in this case 7/8, and further, if you look at the ABCs and the dots, it is grouped 3-2-2 per bar… But maybe you missed that?

I did find my confusion of titles ~ notes I had that had both dances listed and several different melodies. It has been awhile since I danced Greek dances in Dublin, and there is the matter of my sometimes confusing mental faculties, being some species of dyslexic… Apologies if that narked you… Good for your 15 years, the people I played it with and learned the stuff from, music and dance, despite my clumsiness there, were born to it…so a lifetime in their cases. I should have passed it for their approval first, eh?

The Irish reel step compared to the Kalamatianos ~

danceall ~ "The description of the dance as "reel steps" is misleading."

Good clarification, however, the ‘reel step’ wasn’t offered as ‘the step’ but presented just for contrast with timing in the bar, between the Irish ‘reel step’ and the one for this dance, tempo differences aside… If you read the previous paragraph and look closer you’ll see that ~ N2 N2 N4 = 8 while N3 N2 N2 = 7…

"As far as dance and 7/8 tunes, often the basic step, for traveling, etc., is really just your basic ‘3’, like in an Irish reel - as an example of what I’m saying, here’s the Irish version followed by the same thing in a different order of 7/8, to make it clearer, ‘short-short-long’, or LRL:"

Thanks for making the note on tempo difference, useful…


Tempo ~ dance or step

It is just about right on half as fast step-wise as for reels. The lowest common denominator would be the 1/8th, of which in this case, 7/8, there are 7… The speed taking the 1/8 would be approximately 240 - 260 beats per minute, or for comparision to other things, if 1/4 it would be 120 - 130 bpm, andante or ‘walking tempo’… For Irish reels this would be based on 1/2, or two beats to the bar… 120, and about, is a basic standard for a lot of dancing…

"Kalamatianos Syrtos Hora" & Christmas in Greece ~

Here’s something for your 15 years. I vaguely remember a tune and dance, maybe even more than one, but dance related, that had to do with Christmas. It may have been a Kalamtianos or a Syrtos, there my memory fails me. I checked the meagre resources I have here, the file marked "Kalamatianos Sytros Horas", and I’m not finding it there.

Further on the file and the slapped up cassette recording with that title, when going my Gypsy ways I quickly slapped together a compilation from old 78s and recordings of folks I’d known and liked, from the Balkans in general and including lyritsa, lauto, gaita, kaval, tapan, etc… The misfortune of the less than acceptable compilation is that I no longer have a track listing, a problem when you want the title for something. Most of the Greek tunes, as I remember it, had titles, even lyrics, but this cassette was useless there, and my Greek is bad to non-existant now. The folder of assorted transcriptions isn’t much better, being mostly a wad of bad photocopies, old photocopies. So, I suspect that this one actually has a title and I had probably thought I’d be able to find it and would return here to add it. I’ve looked again, no such luck, but I’d welcome a name for this rather than the just general category of ‘Kalamatiano’… So any help there would be very welcome? 😏

Santouri ~ recordings please!!!

Ah yes, the ‘santouri’, for which we are both very fond. Any suggestions of good recordings would be eagerly chased up… We had the pleasure of dancing to and playing music with a couple of fine players over time, but it has been more than a decade since then. Any help here would be greatly appreciated…