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 Post subject: BPM
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 7:57 pm 
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General guides for BPM for various tune types e.g. jigs, reels etc.?

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 1:00 am 
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Michael w6 wrote:
General guides for BPM for various tune types e.g. jigs, reels etc.?



I use 100 BPM as my baseline, as I understand it 100 is kind of the default. My understanding may be wrong--lots of people play faster, but to me it often sounds bad. I generally like things on the slower side rather than on the speed demon side,


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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 am 
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As a guide, Breandán Breathnach, in the introduction to the first volume of his Ceol Rinnce na hEirreann collection gives metronome settings for the main tune types:

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but really, worry about rhythm and phrasing first and about speed when you get to that point.

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Fri May 08, 2020 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 3:43 am 
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Wow, that is fast!


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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 4:54 am 
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I think of the metronome in reels and jigs as counting in "cut time;" that is, two beats per measure

I think the 224 for reels could also be understood as 112, which is about where I tend to put the ones I play reasonably well--the metronome is clicking on 1 and 3 at 112, and 1,2,3,4 at 224. If I have the metronome at 112 clicking 1 and 3, it certainly seems to me to be around what I hear as the average tempo.

for example I just listened to Conol O Grada playing "the green mountain" and he's right about at 112, if it's counted as above. It makes sense to me to imagine it as "cut time" because O Grada accents the 2 and 4 so strongly

I'm far from an expert and may be completely off, but I think I would interpret the esteemed Mr Breathanch's numbers there as half values on my metronome


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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:41 am 
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Of course when you're playing for dancers they will know what BPM they prefer.

Many of the newer albums have the reels and jigs at un-dance-ably high speeds. I've never done Irish dancing but I did many years of Scottish dancing and it's a thing of physics, there's a human-sized mass going up and down, and there's only so fast it can do that.

Assuming that Irish bodies aren't all that different from Scottish ones (!) there's a physical limit to the speeds that Irish jigs and reels can be. Though I do hear people disregarding the dance nature of the music, and creating an abstract wash of sound.

I don't think you can go wrong following Breathnach's recommendations, especially what he says about playing a bit slower doing no harm.

Here are reels with the metronome at 108 (216 by doubletiming). I love the swing to them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=502_aTAZ730

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:56 am 
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Quote:
Many of the newer albums have the reels and jigs at un-dance-ably high speeds. I've never done Irish dancing but I did many years of Scottish dancing and it's a thing of physics, there's a human-sized mass going up and down, and there's only so fast it can do that.


In my experience playing for sets, dancers invariably want higher speeds than you'd normally play at for your own amusement (or in concert), especially playing for younger dancers, your really have to up things.

This is at a decent, average speed:

Aidan Vaughan demonstrating battering steps

And a brush dance, for the fun of it

And another nice old clip, Mick O'Connor, Paddy Glackin and John Dwyer playing : Mullagh half set

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 6:10 am 
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I tend to aim to play reels at 108. People say I'm fast, but it depends who else is playing. I prefer double jigs a lot slower than Breatnach would suggest - somewhere around 96. I'd probably have the same tempo for slip jigs, but I wonder, there, if Breathnach is really meaning the tune type that's now referred to (for the most part) as a 'slip jig' or whether he was thinking of hop jigs - now they're fast! The thing is, I've found that, in different places and at different times, those terms have sometimes either been swapped or have been more or less interchangeable. I like single jigs around 120.

All of that, though, depends on whether there are dancers. I've known them want reels very fast - around 120, even.

[cross-post - drafted before Richard's, but for some reason it got left hanging ...]

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 6:16 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
This is at a decent, average speed:

Aidan Vaughan demonstrating battering steps



I think he's at about 120/240 there, although it's hard to tell because my daughter is practicing piano at the moment.

DAW software defaults to 120 when you open a new project. My understanding is that 120 is a very common tempo for dance music because it's around the average heartbeat.

There's a young woman up the street who does Irish dancing of the curly wig/embroidered dress style, and she hears my daily flute serenade, and she says she would want faster tempos than I usually settle at playing by myself

The tempo of the O'Neill Cylinders and the Michael Coleman records seems to be between 100-120 (200/240), but I haven't done a really careful analysis.

It's hard to know if those recordings were samples of average playing or samples of showy virtuosic playing. Did Coleman record at the tempo he played in NYC dance halls, or did he ramp it up to highlight his skills? I suspect your average NYC immigrant going to the dance halls after his shift at the warehouse or factory didn't want fast tempos, but I might be selling that guy short. Touhey played as an entertainer for professional dancers, people who were keen to show you how good they are.

Of course some people (not me) can seem slow/relaxed even at fast tempos.


Last edited by PB+J on Fri May 08, 2020 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 6:20 am 
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Touhey played as an entetrainer for professional dancers, people who were keen to show you how good they are


Then again, Touhey's act included his wife, a step dancer. Step dancers, especially competitive dancers, too often want tediously slow dragging tempi so they can get all their steps and ornamentations in.

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 7:04 am 
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PB+J wrote:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
This is at a decent, average speed:

Aidan Vaughan demonstrating battering steps



I think he's at about 120/240 there, although it's hard to tell because my daughter is practicing piano at the moment.

I'm using an online, free metronome, and, by that, it's about 107 - nowhere near 120. Mind you, that's about right, given the exchange rate at the moment. :P

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 7:08 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
PB+J wrote:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
This is at a decent, average speed:

Aidan Vaughan demonstrating battering steps



I think he's at about 120/240 there, although it's hard to tell because my daughter is practicing piano at the moment.

I'm using an online, free metronome, and, by that, it's about 107 - nowhere near 120. Mind you, that's about right, given the exchange rate at the moment. :P


I should have waited till my daughter stopped!


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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 7:18 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I should have waited till my daughter stopped!

If I still had any of my children in the house, I'd want them to be playing all the time, so good on her! :)

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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 9:35 am 
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Why does this thread make me think of this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Hi7NzFEOI


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 Post subject: Re: BPM
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 4:02 pm 
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I listened to one of those dancing clips, reels at 120, fair enough.

I just went on YouTube and found numerous videos from concerts and sessions with reels hovering between 130 and 140.

Don't get me wrong, good players can play controlled and musical at that speed, but I like the swing of the slower speeds.

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