Irish music

Jig, Reel, characteristics, origins, steps and instruments

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  • Irish music
    • Reel
      • Quaver movement
      • 2 or 3 tunes grouped and repeated brfore new tune
      • Fats, in 2/4 or split common time
    • Jig
      • Fast, compound time (6/8)
      • double, single or slip jig
      • Jumping steps
    • Origins
      • Oral tradition - memorised and then passed on
      • Folk dance
      • Performance dance- to audience, possible to do solo
        • Social dances- Celii dances - social gatherings
    • Common musical characteristics
      • Melodies often 8 bars
      • Tunes often divided into two 8 bar phrases (strains)
        • First strain on right foot, second strain on left
      • Melodies decorated with ornaments (grace notes, turns, pitchbends)
      • Often uses modes (type of folk scales)
      • Chords often miss 3rd- drone like feel
      • Hetrophonic texture, instruments play different versions of melody at same time
    • Instruments
      • Tin whistle
      • Bhodran - hand held frame drum
      • Flute (usually wooden)
      • Fiddle/violoin
      • Harp
      • Uillean pipes (sweet sounding)
    • Steps
      • Stiff upper body, rapid leg movements
      • Some uses soft shoes, some use hard
      • Often dancers stand in a line


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