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Nov 18, 2018 - 3:22:08 PM
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1378 posts since 4/29/2013

I posted a video today on how I play jigs clawhammer-style. I know there aren’t a whole lot of clawhammer players that play jigs, so I hope that this video will shed some light on the technique with playing them. Granted I know there’s only a few players that do play them besides myself, including Yigal Zan, John D, Mike Iverson, and Ken Perlman, so hopefully between them and myself, this should help those that are wanting to learn them as well as the technique. 

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 11/19/2018 21:51:39

Nov 18, 2018 - 3:26:28 PM
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1378 posts since 4/29/2013

Nov 18, 2018 - 6:16:10 PM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

3684 posts since 3/11/2004

Nice video, Noah. I have arranged a fair number of jigs for clawhammer since we play several each week at our contra dances. I originally arranged Morrison's Jiog for Em in open G tuning, but  I agree that double-D (aDADE) has some advantages. I Since we usually play a pair of tunes for each dance, I use the tuni g that will work best for the second jig in the set. Like you, I leaned heavily on Ken Perlman and Mike Iverson for ideas in figuring out how to play jigs using clawhammer.

David

Nov 18, 2018 - 6:57:41 PM

1378 posts since 4/29/2013

quote:
Originally posted by dbrooks

Nice video, Noah. I have arranged a fair number of jigs for clawhammer since we play several each week at our contra dances. I originally arranged Morrison's Jiog for Em in open G tuning, but  I agree that double-D (aDADE) has some advantages. I Since we usually play a pair of tunes for each dance, I use the tuni g that will work best for the second jig in the set. Like you, I leaned heavily on Ken Perlman and Mike Iverson for ideas in figuring out how to play jigs using clawhammer.

David


Thank you for your post, David — I enjoyed reading it. 

Edited by - Noah Cline on 11/18/2018 18:58:36

Nov 18, 2018 - 7:09:06 PM

1378 posts since 4/29/2013

Just to note, when I made this post, I didn’t mean to sound like I was excluding anyone by only including a few people that I knew of that play jigs via clawhammer, so if you are one of those folks that does play them that I haven’t mentioned, feel free to chime in on the discussion. 

Nov 18, 2018 - 9:09:46 PM
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453 posts since 4/27/2013

Hey Noah - great jig playing! I tried to dissect jig playing in two posts on my blog a while back:

https://www.jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-banjo-blog/playing-jigs-on-clawhammer-banjo

https://www.jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-banjo-blog/another-way-to-play-jigs

In the second post I reference the jig technique of BHO member "slc" who uses up-picking in his clawhammer to get some really smooth jig rhythm. Just wanted to share this video of him playing Coleraine's jig - totally fascinated by his approach:

https://youtu.be/vY4yxCrludA

Nov 18, 2018 - 10:15:19 PM
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6343 posts since 6/27/2009

It’s wonderful you’ve broken down some of the steps for teaching your style. You have a clear way of explaining. I like to see tunes written as tablature, too. It makes studying a person’s techniques very clear, like when you’re pulling off, hammering or drop-thumbing. I know I “break” clawhammer rules when I play in 6/8 time.  My downstrokes are often in succession with no thumb used at all.  

Another video by you really breaking down your Morrison’s jig measure by measure would be great and edifying.   I confess my own tabs for the tunes here would need to be more complete to make my point, but it would be difficult for someone to understand what I do without tabs or without slowing down each phrase and giving explanation.  

Hope I’m not putting pressure on you, Noah. It’s just a suggestion.  Your playing is phenomenal and people want to learn from you. 


Edited by - JanetB on 11/18/2018 22:26:31

Nov 19, 2018 - 1:50:36 AM
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1378 posts since 4/29/2013

Got TablEdit fired up later tonight and made a tab for Morrison’s. I’ve added it on my homepage under tabs here: https://www.banjohangout.org/tab/browse.asp?m=bymember&v=88519

No pressure felt, Janet. Like I mentioned in one of my pinned comments for this video on YouTube, if it helps you to have it written down, then I can do so. I know that I normally don’t do tabs (since I mainly learn and play by ear), but if it helps someone to figure something out by having it tabbed, then I’m more than happy to do it. (Honestly, I enjoyed tabbing this one out.)

Edited by - Noah Cline on 11/19/2018 01:55:36

Nov 19, 2018 - 2:00:14 AM
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1378 posts since 4/29/2013

quote:
Originally posted by jenorma1

Hey Noah - great jig playing! I tried to dissect jig playing in two posts on my blog a while back:

https://www.jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-banjo-blog/playing-jigs-on-clawhammer-banjo

https://www.jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-banjo-blog/another-way-to-play-jigs

In the second post I reference the jig technique of BHO member "slc" who uses up-picking in his clawhammer to get some really smooth jig rhythm. Just wanted to share this video of him playing Coleraine's jig - totally fascinated by his approach:

https://youtu.be/vY4yxCrludA


Hey Jeff, 

Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I’ll have to take a look at your blog posts. 

Thanks again!

Edited by - Noah Cline on 11/19/2018 02:03:05

Nov 19, 2018 - 12:31:10 PM
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6343 posts since 6/27/2009

Thanks for the tabs, Noah. Right away this confirmed my thought about the use of your index finger. Like you, I play by ear, but when watching a video it’s hard to see details of fingering.

Nov 19, 2018 - 1:45:29 PM
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slc

USA

359 posts since 9/19/2010

Nice sound! I've been hearing a few oldtime fiddle jigs lately, sourced from people like Marcus Martin and others. Perhaps they are coming "back" into fashion!

I have a different jig style. It's homemade from like the late 1980's (pre YouTube and I had no examples to work from) but I've recently seen a video of Steve Baughman doing a similar style - been meaning to get together with him and compare notes.

Anyway, instead of down-down-thumb or lots of left hand stuff, I do down-thumb-UP ("down" is usually the index finger, "up" is usually the middle - I THINK - I'll have to check to be sure!) It's a very flexible style and (once used to using two fingers) quite easy to ad lib with. Of course hammer-ons and pull-offs can be added as usual.

Some samples are attached. "Soldiers O'Joy" was something of a gag - you need to check the video in my "media" page to see the associated story.

Also included a brief tutorial if interested - though I'm pretty lousy at video instruction, and cringe when I watch it.


Edited by - slc on 11/19/2018 13:59:06

Nov 19, 2018 - 2:19:03 PM

slc

USA

359 posts since 9/19/2010

@jenorma1 - I just saw and read your blog post mentioning my "slc-method" - that's pretty cool! I made my reply above not realizing the earlier connection and now I can't edit it above.

When I don't have a banjo at hand I can NOT remember which finger does the down stroke and which does the up. I think you're correct though and I was wrong above. Your blog is also correct - the thumb never does down beats, usually just the '2' in 1-2-3 (unless there's an HO or PO instead).

Not mentioned above: using an alternate finger upstroke means that the other finger is already in position to do the '1' downstroke. It makes looping through 123123 a little faster and smoother. 

Getting that up-stroke was definitely awkward at first - but it was surprising how quickly it felt normal. If anyone wants to try it, just go slow enough and it'll "take" soon enough.

I do want to learn more jigs, and hope they catch on more in the old-time community.

Anyway, totally cool blog!

Cheers,

Stefan

Edited by - slc on 11/19/2018 14:24:23

Nov 19, 2018 - 9:55:26 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22560 posts since 6/25/2005

Great stuff, Noah, et.al.—far too important to drift away over time, so I’ve made it a sticky. Thanks for the topic, Noah—and to those adding material and links.

Nov 20, 2018 - 11:32:23 AM
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1378 posts since 4/29/2013

quote:
Originally posted by slc

Nice sound! I've been hearing a few oldtime fiddle jigs lately, sourced from people like Marcus Martin and others. Perhaps they are coming "back" into fashion!

I have a different jig style. It's homemade from like the late 1980's (pre YouTube and I had no examples to work from) but I've recently seen a video of Steve Baughman doing a similar style - been meaning to get together with him and compare notes.

Anyway, instead of down-down-thumb or lots of left hand stuff, I do down-thumb-UP ("down" is usually the index finger, "up" is usually the middle - I THINK - I'll have to check to be sure!) It's a very flexible style and (once used to using two fingers) quite easy to ad lib with. Of course hammer-ons and pull-offs can be added as usual.

Some samples are attached. "Soldiers O'Joy" was something of a gag - you need to check the video in my "media" page to see the associated story.

Also included a brief tutorial if interested - though I'm pretty lousy at video instruction, and cringe when I watch it.


Thanks for adding to the discussion, Stefan. When I saw your posts, it hit me that I had watched some of your videos before, and with everything going on, I’d forgotten about it. 

Nov 20, 2018 - 12:49:36 PM
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5851 posts since 3/11/2006

There are certainly jigs in the American tradition, though they've been neglected in the past few decades.  R.P. Christeson's Missouri collection, The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory, Vols. 1 & 2, includes many quadrilles (which are 6/8 jigs), mainly from the northern region of the state.  The dance decreased in popularity and the tunes fell out of circulation.

Great job and great playing Noah.  It would be wonderful if some of our jigs were in the air again.

Edited by - R.D. Lunceford on 11/20/2018 12:53:06

Nov 20, 2018 - 1:45:45 PM

1378 posts since 4/29/2013

quote:
Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford

There are certainly jigs in the American tradition, though they've been neglected in the past few decades.  R.P. Christeson's Missouri collection, The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory, Vols. 1 & 2, includes many quadrilles (which are 6/8 jigs), mainly from the northern region of the state.  The dance decreased in popularity and the tunes fell out of circulation.

Great job and great playing Noah.  It would be wonderful if some of our jigs were in the air again.

 


Thanks, R.D.

Maybe once I go over a few of the Irish jigs, I’ll dig into some of the American Old Time jigs. 

Nov 20, 2018 - 4:03:10 PM
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5851 posts since 3/11/2006

Noah:

That would be a great contribution, and one you are eminently suited to pursue.
In effect, reviving a forgotten facet of the tradition.

There are so many things about old-time music from different regions that was forgotten and missed out on by "The Revival".
Different banjo styles, different forms of dance music, different instruments rarely heard in the modern OT context, etc.

Some of my favorite folks are the Old-Time Tiki crowd. They are doing lot's to preserve and disseminate the music of regions outside Appalachia- Kansas/old-style Texas, Illinois, Missouri, and so forth. They are also stalwarts of the (hold onto your hats) Los Angeles OT tradition that was transplanted to Southern California during the Depression and the years during and following WW2.

Nov 20, 2018 - 4:11:12 PM

slc

USA

359 posts since 9/19/2010

I just got the Tiki Parlour's newest CD, by Hog-eyed Man. Wonderful music with lovely interpretations of tunes that still catch that "feel". BUT there's one tune that starts with "Marcus Martin's Jig". I risked checking the liner notes while driving - but there's no source info and I can't find anything online. It's my mission to learn that one whether I find source recordings or not (I emailed the band - we'll see) - it's lovely!

The snippet they played had only one part - I hope there's a second part out there somewhere...

If I do work it out, I'll certainly post it here.

Nov 20, 2018 - 4:54:10 PM
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JLouis

France

21 posts since 3/7/2006

Good stuff here !! I'm happy to see other people interested in how to play jigs on the banjo, so I enjoy this thread. Thank you all.
In Irish music sessions, it is usual to play in unison, all instruments play the same melody (except bodhrans ...) and nothing is more frustrating for a five stringer after playing several reels, hornpipes, polkas to stop playing when it's jigs and slip jigs time.
At first I tried to use the old-time motif Bum-Ditty, it worked but did not stick to fiddles and flutes, too many unnecessary notes. Then I found that by changing the magic formula Bum-Ditty Bum-Ditty into Di-Ty-Bum Di-Ty-Bum (in fact Di-Ty-Di Di-Ty-Di  or "I T I  I T I") things were getting easier. Quite quickly after a little work and a suitable choice of fingering, speed and fluidity were no longer a problem
As a result, musical perspectives were wide open not only to irish/scot music but to Italian saltarellos, French rondeaux, blues and swing waltzes. All that is played in 6/8, 9/8, 11/8, 12/8, 13/8 not counting some "dots and triplets" novelty numbers.

I basically use G with the fifth in F # G A or B to play 95% of the songs. I also use mountain minority years double C for drone reasons or ease of play.
I usually start with an air learned by ear or read on a score (my O'Neill's "1001 dances of Ireland" book is never far away) and I write it down on tab avoiding pullOff & hammerOn as melody notes for a better use in articulation notes, grace notes, ornamentations and drones.

After more than forty years of jig playing, I do not get tired of "The Butterfly", "The Kesh Jig" or "Susie's fiddle tunes" published in some BNL issue of 1977, the first one I adapted in CH, it was easy as it falls right under the fingers.

From time to time I add some tabs to my member page for those of you who are interested.
I also have a little book, "Jiggin’ Banjo", on the way which gives me the opportunity to write down a lot of tunes I play and it will be useful for future fingering and neck position reference.

Jean Louis

R. D. can you tell us more about american jigs in 6/8 recording and title ? as for me, most american jigs played in classic banjo are in cut time

Nov 20, 2018 - 5:01:52 PM

JLouis

France

21 posts since 3/7/2006

My Mac is typing faster than me. I should have had a better look at my message before posting : "I also use mountain minority years" simply means "I also use mountain minor". Sorry if my english is not all that good. Also a precision, the little book, "Jiggin’ Banjo" I'm preparing is written in french but tabs have no frontier. JL

Nov 21, 2018 - 12:42:58 PM
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5851 posts since 3/11/2006

@JLouis
Jean Louis:
The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory I refer to is a printed tune collection, not a recording. There may be some recordings of some of the tunes/fiddlers available but I'd have to look for them. Looking on YouTube may turn up something.

You may be interested to hear of the "Old Mines" fiddle-style from the region southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. This area was settled by French people, and has its own style and repertoire. Joe Politte and Charlie Pascha were leading fiddlers in this area. The area was known for its extensive lead mining in days gone by. Mississippi River towns like St. Louis, St. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, and St. Charles all point to Missouri's French history.

You may find the Missouri State Fiddlers Association website of interest. There is a link on that site to an article about 6/8 jigs in Missouri.

Scroll down for some 6/8 "quadrille" tunes: charliewalden.com/Dots.htm

MSOTFA website: missourifiddling.com/

Nov 21, 2018 - 1:07:01 PM
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slc

USA

359 posts since 9/19/2010

It shows my continuing ignorance (or, "learning process") about things musical - I had no idea that a "quadrille" was a jig! I assume the quadrille is the dance and jigs were normally played for them?

(reading that article by Charlie Walden, it appears to be the opposite - generally the tune is the quadrille and the dance is the jig)

I have quite a bit of Charlie Walden - I bought his "The Project" collection on multiple CDs. I need to go back and look for the quadrilles!

Edited by - slc on 11/21/2018 13:11:22

Nov 22, 2018 - 4:43:16 PM
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5851 posts since 3/11/2006

I think those distinctions may be somewhat idiosyncratic.
Bob Walters and Cyril Stinnett and probably some others referred to
the 6/8 tunes for the dance as quadrilles, but I've seen quadrilles (dance and tune) that are in duple not triple metre.
The interesting thing is that there is a body of documented 6/8 tunes from America/Missouri. The North Missouri style
is noted to have Canadian influence (mainly due to radio) so that may have something to do with it. Though Christeson
considered Walters a Missouri fiddler and collected extensively from him for volume one of the Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory,
he resided in Nebraska. Of course musical styles don't follow political boundaries, and perhaps Walter's forebears came from Missouri.
I'd have to research it more.

In Missouri, buck/flat-foot/clog dancing is generically known as jig dancing and is done to breakdown (2/4, 4/4) tunes.
That may be what he's referring to as a jig.

This stuff is all decided by consensus. So I guess, when in North Missouri do as the Northern Missourians do!

It's all very interesting. The tendency among musicologists, collectors etc. is to categorize. Not that categories are useful, but they can paint things with broad strokes. Within regions are what I would call micro-regions. My Dad's home area of central Chariton County centered on Keytesville, though it is in Little Dixie and perhaps geographically North Missouri was pretty classically Southern musically. There was an old LP of Missouri fiddling called "I'm Old But I'm Awfully Tough". As I recall the only cuts on the record that were clawhammer banjo/fiddle duets were from Frank Reed and Alva Lee Hendren of Moberly 20 mi east of Keytesville. Some of the influential musicians around Keytesville were the Howards who came from Kentucky sometime in the 1830's.

All that said, here was a micro-region in north central Missouri that defied the North Missouri generalization.

My Dad's family was from the country north of Keytesville. On a 1990 visit to my aunt, who was 78 at the time, we took a drive down into "The Hills" south of Keytesville. She said that the first time she had been south of Keytesville had only been a few months prior! Given that sort of situation, it is easy to see how very small areas could contain their own local traditions that could differ from surrounding areas.

Edited by - R.D. Lunceford on 11/22/2018 16:46:50

Nov 23, 2018 - 5:04:02 AM

2285 posts since 4/29/2012

I don't often play jigs. But it is possible as shown by some great examples above. We were once playing at an outdoor event where somebody asked us to play a waltz. So we played Over The Waterfall in 3/4. Later we had a request for a jig so we played the same tune in 6/8. Easy for the fiddle and guitar - a bit more of a stretch for me. The fiddler played the full triplets. I was essentially playing 4/4 with a very dotted rhythm and no 5th string.

Jan 31, 2019 - 10:24:56 PM
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Dustyroads

Canada

22 posts since 10/15/2018

I really enjoyed that video and your jig. This has inspired me to try and learn a jig or two. Thanks

Feb 1, 2019 - 5:31:36 AM
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carlb

USA

2019 posts since 12/16/2007

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