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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:54 pm 
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I am working through NPU’s fourth DVD, “The Art of Uilleann Piping,” on regulator playing. I am wondering if there are good vocalizations for jigs, hornpipes and reels that help the player know where the down beat, up beat, etc. is in the tunes. E.g., if you “sing in your head” 1-2-3 1-2-3 for a jig, then you know that the down beat in on 1 and the up beat in on 3. Any advice or reference to a previous thread on the topic would be greatly appreciated!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:14 pm 
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To me 'vocalilsing dance music rhythms' conjures up puirt-a-beul.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFJ42v_apyY

Highland piping is still often taught through vocalizing, not canntaireachd per se but more or less random syllables (though with elements of cannaireachd such as "dro" for a grip on C).

As far as mathematically counting the rhythms, to me jigs and reels have two counts or major pulses per bar, and I would count them

Jig:

ONE uh and TWO uh and

Reel:

ONE uh and uh TWO uh and uh

With the number being the downbeat and the "and" being the upbeat.

Leaving out the uh's gives the more basic rhythm

Jig or Reel: ONE and TWO and (simple or compound depending)

I know the standard Irish writing tradition is to notate jigs in 6/8 and reels in 4/4 but when I've seen people outside the tradition write them out they often put both in 4/4 but with half as many bar lines, and each bar of a jig having four triplets.

To me neither of these capture the heard rhythm as well as putting both in 2.

Except of course slip jigs that have a 3-count

ONE uh and TWO uh and THREE uh and

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:43 am 
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This is EXTREMELY helpful! Thank you for the detailed response!

I don’t fully comprehend what you mean when you write, “to me neither of these capture the heard rhythm as well as putting both in 2.” Could you elaborate on this?

If there any similar such vocalization that you use for hornpipes (or other tunes in the repertoire, e.g., marches, polkas, ...)?

Thank you very much again!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:12 am 
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Ceann Cromtha wrote:
I don’t fully comprehend what you mean when you write, “to me neither of these capture the heard rhythm as well as putting both in 2.” Could you elaborate on this?

Two beats in the bar goes 1 2 | 1 2 etc. Four beats goes 1 2 3 4 etc. The feel is different, with two beats in the bar having a more direct impetus, and normal jigs just don't feel 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4 & a.

For jigs, you can also say 'carrots and cabbages' (add an extra 'cabbages' for slip jigs), or recite The Cat's Jig:
'Higgledy pig, the cat danced a jig, she pranced on the floor and she shouted for more.'

Reels kind of go 'alligator crocodile'.

pancelticpiper wrote:
To me neither of these capture the heard rhythm as well as putting both in 2.

Which is why reels are better notated in cut time.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:24 am 
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Thank you, Mr. Duggan!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:48 am 
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My whistle teacher growing up in Winnipeg has done a lot of work on this particular subject, and I haven't found a better version anywhere. The important thing is to find a 3 syllable word for jigs and a 4 syllable word for reels that has the emphasis on the second syllable. i.e.

Jigs: Banana, Toronto, etc.
Reels: rhinoceros, Ontario, etc.

Now, line up the second syllable of the word with the strong beats of the bar and say the word twice for each bar. This will require you to start the word in the middle for the first bar unless there is a pickup. Here is an example using the kesh jig (apologies for the underlines, it is proving difficult to get the ABC to line up with the Toronto's):
| G__G__G G___A__B | A__A __A ...etc
ron-to To-ron-to To-ron-to To-

By carrying the word over the bar lines, you naturally put the lift and lilt of the Irish style into the music. Hopefully my explanation has made some sense!

Edit: to use the language of the original post, syllable 2 will be said on the down beats and syllable 1 will be said on the up beats.

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