The tune of the week for 6/19/09 is the Irish Jig "Tripping up the Stairs." AKA as "Tripping Upstairs." It's in D and I use double D tuning. I didn't learn this tune the usual way: Hear it someplace, fall in love with it, get the title, find the sheet music, and then arrange it for CH. I instead became interested in this tune after stumbling over the title on The Session web site. I became interested in the tune's title because I trip when I'm going upstairs at a rate of about five trips to every one trip if I'm going downstairs, and also because the title brings to mind so many wholesome activites from old-time days gone by. So, what's the tune like? Is it trippy? What measure contains the actual trip? I didn't hear this tune played until I had learned to play it.
When I first started to learn this tune I was a little concerned because the A part sounds more than a little bit singsongy or nurseryrhymey. (Think "Off She Goes"). In other words, I was wondering if the tune was going to be cool enough for me to want to add to my repertoire. My worries were over when I figured out the B part. The B part - with the coolass Bm at the begining - rescues this jig from having to go on a one way trip to HumptyDumptyville, IMHO. The trip in my version only takes place in the A part, the 2nd time the tune is played. Point is: it's fun to find and learn tunes based only on the title. So many interesting titles, so little time.
Nice tune choice, and fantastic playing! I've played this tune on my tenor banjo, but haven't tried to clawhammer it.
I like how you go up the neck on the 3rd and 4th strings (instead of alternate-string-POs). Does that help you maintain the awesome drive you have with your jigs?
I know what you mean with the nurseryrhyme comment. Alot of irish jigs are rescued by a cool B part, such as a change in key or mode, or even just an unexpected melodic direction. Connaughtman's Rambles is another well-known "D" jig that makes a similar shift to B minor in the B part.
The video at the url below shows Helen McLachan from Melbourne, Australia, FLAT-PICKING jigs, an A-modal one the name of which I do not have, and the Kesh jig, on a 5-string banjo tuned in open-G. The button accordion player is Della Forster, also from Melbourne.
Thanks for that link, Yigal. I love the percussive sound of a flat picked 4 or 5 string. I tried to flat pick but just couldn't get the hang of it. I'm afraid I'll be a CH player until they gently pull away my cold dead index finger and thumb from the 3rd and 4th string of my banjo.