Week #12 ~ Swallowtail Jig

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I'm announcing this week's tune a little early, as it seems to be a runaway winner. Swallowtail Jig.

    Here it is on Mandozine's TabEdit files.

    Here it is on thesessions.org

    I play it differently from either of these. If anyone has any links to other TAB or notation, please submit!

  2. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here's mine

  3. Susanne
    Oh, an Irish tune, too bad
    However, it's a great tune, that I've always wanted to learn to play. You do it well, Barb, and I wish I could smile as you when I play the mandolin
  4. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Susi, thanks! That smiling... it takes effort! If I don't concentrate, think to myself... smile, smile, smile.... I end up frowning!
  5. Joe-TN
    www.jaybuckey.com has tab and notation in .pdf files on his free tablature page. Great resource...many of the songs of the week are available there, and most include mp3's to work along with.

    Now I've got to get to learning this one.
  6. Susanne
    Great, I'd forgotten about Jay Buckey! That's a great resource site! Thanks for reminding me!
  7. tuffblue
    Beautifully played Barbara, so fluid and bell like. Your mandolin is perfect for this song and it looks like you are relaxed and enjoying the song. Loved it!
  8. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    tuffblue, thanks! I think my mandolin is perfect, for EVERY tune!
  9. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's my hastily prepared rendition. I tried to improve my demeanor without screwing up too badly. I'm not sure I succeeded on either count but hopefully I don't look as mad as I usually do. Played on my Fletcher tenor guitar tuned GDAE.

  10. tuffblue
    Here is my contribution of this fun song!! Cheers Frank

  11. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    David Hansen, that was great! I sure love that guitar! And, your demeanor was great! Looked like you were enjoying yourself... that's what we should strive for!

    Frank, that was great, tell us about your mando!
  12. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    David, that tune has a lovely dark sounding quality to it when played on the tenor guitar!
  13. romkeymm
    So, does anyone actually play with jig style picking..?!
  14. tuffblue
    Thanks Barbara. The mandolin is my beloved 1996 Flatiron A5. I fluctuate between that and my Gibson F5-G which I also love. Cheers Frank
  15. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Barbara was playing it DUD DUD. It's very easy for me to get pick strokes messed up in the B part, but the DUD has more jiggyness to it to my ear.
  16. Susanne
    David H, that was great!!!!!! I love the sound of that guitar. Do you have it mandolin-tuned?

    Frank, interesting little things you throw in there.

    I'll try to do something soon.... it's such a nice tune.
  17. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Don, I'm glad you noticed! Yes, I try very hard to play DUD DUD on all jigs. There might be some that I learned before I knew about DUD DUD that I haven't relearned the right pick direction, but I don't know which those might be! I'm a firm believer in DUD DUD pick direction, and once you get it going, isn't hard at all.
  18. OldSausage
    What is the advantange of DUD? It seems to make it hard to play fast and smooth because you have to change pick direction very quickly every third stroke.
  19. Susanne
    I don't bother about pick direction, just play the way it seems easiest and with most flow. Now this recording has anything but good flow, but I might record something better later. I'll be busy next week and just wanted to record something...
  20. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    Sounded pretty darn good to me, Susi!
  21. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Old Sausage, DUD DUD in my opinion gives jigs the emphasis needed to get that proper jig feel going - irish trad music was and is a dance music after all. Personally I don't think it makes it hard to play at speed, just like anything else it's simply a matter of mastering it. As for "smoothness", a jig needs to have that little bit of lilt to it that DUD DUD lends itself to - if it's too smooth sounding it's not really gonna sound like a jig. And my bias is also for the players who play trad at a pace where the music still retains feel - folks like Angelina Carberry and Martin Quinn, John Carty, Kitty Hayes, Mike Rafferty, Brian McGrath, Martin Hayes, PJ Hayes and Paddy Canny etc etc.

    There are definitely folks out there who prefer to play at lightning fast "session speed", but I'm not one of 'em! I'm not dissing speed - if folk can play super fast yet still retain the all important feel of the tune then fair play to them!
  22. Susanne
    Jigs are not supposed to be very fast anyway - I play it a bit too fast there I think. Jigs are nicer at a moderate speed.

    Joe - thank you!
  23. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    O. Sausage: I'm no expert on Irish traditional music (though I should be after playing tons of it), but I think DUD is the "right" way to play it. I think that's what Matt was alluding to above. He and I were accosted by an ITRAD nazi at the Mandolin Symposium for playing it "wrong." He was still in his formative years and I fear it scarred him for life. I share susiakasinead's take: play like you want to play it (including DUD, if that's good for you). I might get shot in the kneecaps for saying it, but some of these ancient Irish traditions have been around going all the way back to about the 1970s. ... Nice playing, everybody.

    PS re speed comments: I'm trying to practice what I preach and slow down, but if you're playing for Irish dancers, whether it's a jig or a reel expect to play fast. These are my favorite gigs, but they're exhausting.
  24. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    Bear in mind that not all jigs, whether 6/8 or 9/8, contain a series of consecutive 8th notes. Though one can add 8th notes to maintain that continual string. This means there will be a break in DUD DUD picking pattern. There's a further break down of jigs into single, double, triple jigs indicating this fact which I cannot address and hopefully someone else can chime in here.

    The DUD DUD picking pattern helps to strengthen the sense of two pulses in the jig being played. Brendan Taaffe puts it this way, "But an authentic accent on jigs seems to escape a lot of players; perhaps it’s because of the deceptive simplicity, or because we don’t hear a 6/8 rhythm as much in our everyday lives. Classical training, if you have it, tends to leave players with a stronger down-bow, and that tendency combined with placing the first note of every measure on a down-bow will make a jig sound too measured and, well, a bit dorky.

    In jig time, the six beats of the measure are divided into two groups of three eighth notes, with the rhythmic pulse of the tune coming on the first and fourth notes. Because of this strong sense of two pulses in each measure,..."

    The IRTRAD Listserv has this post that's worth the read.

    When I started this response I was going to agree with Susi as I, too, tend to play jigs with an alternate stroke. After reading the above posts and thinking about all the jigs and fine Irish players I've listened and listen to, it would probably do me good to work on that DUD DUD technique just for the versatility, variety, improvement, and broadening of my musicality.
  25. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    I concur with Mike about playing music for Irish dancers (is that at Ceilidhs or step dancers you refer to?) can and are quite exhausting that's why it's good to have at least 2 players so the load of having to play consistently can be shared giving one another a break. Albeit a short break, many times it's an invaluable short break when playing for a set dance that lasts twenty minutes plus!
  26. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    I mainly meant celidhs, but since I can't spell the word I just went with "dance". But the same holds for step dancers. If you play too slowly it throws them off. Hence the regrettable trend towards using recorded music at social dances and step programs in the worthy pursuit of consistency. The one bit of ITRAD nazi I have in me thinks it's blasphemy to separate dancers from live musicians unless there's no other way to do it. I could fulminate at length but thankfully won't.

    Back to the pick stroke issue: Joe brings up an important point. Jigs are written 6/8 but they're played in two, like he said. ONE-two-three-FOUR-five-six. Slip jigs are played in three. You wouldn't tap your foot nine times a measure with a 9/8 slip jig; you'd tap your toe three times per measure.

    Everybody here may know this, but it's fun to pretend I know what I'm talking about.

    I was just practicing my submission, and, like Joe says, can get the accents in there either DUD or with an alternating stroke. DUD may make you more consistent and help you feel the pulse, which is more important than the melody if people are dancing. (And these are all dance tunes.)
  27. OldSausage
    This is all very interesting and is a world I haven't explored. Everyone's playing so far has been very fine and fluid, you guys obviously know your Irish jigs.

    I took a quick survey of about a dozen recordings of this I could find on iTunes, and most seemed to be between 120 and 145 bpm, while the ones posted on this page are between 100 and 116 bpm. What speed would you play this tune at a ceilidh?
  28. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here I'm playing it on my Slingerland May Bell Style B Tenor Banjo in Irish Tuning (GDAE). I usually play it on my mandolin, but thought it would be fun to try it on the TB, and try to incorporate some triplets in Irish Tradition! Pretty slow, and a lot of the triplets are pretty fumbly... but you get the idea!

  29. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Sausage, I play for Irish dancing a couple times a month and the lower range for reels would start at 120 and go faster from there depending on the experience level of the dancers. For reels the faster the better.
  30. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    O.S.: What David said. That doesn't mean you have to play that fast unless your life depends upon it. Sitting in the easy chair or at the kitchen table, I'd never play them that fast.
  31. Kyle Baker
    Kyle Baker
    Well, I haven't posted any videos on here in a while, but I'm a sucker for a good jig
    This is played on my Trinity college Irish bouzouki tuned GDAD.

  32. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Kyle, welcome back! I'd been wondering where you were! Thanks for posting... we always need bouzouki submissions! Awesome! You say it's tuned GDAD, but I see you have a capo... so what does that make your strings when it's capo'd?
  33. Kyle Baker
    Kyle Baker
    That makes it AEBE. Capoing the 2nd fret let's me do some nice droning in the Em key.
  34. OldSausage
    Kyle that bouzouki has an awesome sound. Once you play a tune on that, it stays played.
  35. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Wow a LOT has happened!

    What outstanding videos you all have posted --

    Barbara especially like that effort on the tenor - its great to see that those triplets and I am going to get out my TB tomorrow and try to follow along with you!

    Dave great work -- your smile was fine -- I'm not even going to try that! That Fletcher tenor guitar is fabulous -- you say tuned GDAE. I assume you have to buy light gauge strings -- is there a set you can by or do you mix and match? I want to tune my baby Sores'yse up that way.

    Susi -- nothing wrong with your effort it is better than my first try that's for sure.

    Frank -- always great -- that is great on the B-part.

    Kyle -- fab! I also really like the sound of the zook -- it really rings.
    I am amazed at how fast you get around on it. Also you ended up playing it in Em just like the mandos -- cool!

    OK well that was the good news --- and now - - well this is my attempt at the tune. I am really glad the this tune was put up because I've never had more fun TRYING to play a song. It is an absolute groove. Please ignore my first pass through it took me that one to get settled. But I am really going to learn this tune it is a blast!!!
  36. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    oldsausage -- I wonder about the speed too. I had tried to work it up to 150 bpm but I make a mistake nearly every time through at that speed now -- so I throttled back to 120 for my video -- even there I was holding on by my finger tips -- if at all. But I intend to work this up to 150 - 160 -- I cannot imagine going too much faster-- but what do I know?
  37. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I play in a band, but have never played for dancers, nor have ever gone to that kind of dance. Sounds like a lot of fun (for the dancers, at least!) Our performances are acoustic, no singers, for people just listening. I (kind of) envy those who can play mando so fast... BUT.... (and this may just be justification!) I feel like, especially with the kind of music we play, that playing these tunes at a reasonable speed, you can put some 'feeling' (jigginess, whatever) that you miss out on when played at those crazy fast speeds! Plus, I also believe that in performance, the speed you play should be the speed that you, as a whole band, sound the best... I'd rather play cleanly and maybe not so fast, than sloppy and fast! But, maybe that's just me!
  38. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Ok, I put a metronome to my first submission, and it's about 100 bpm. I recorded this one... just playing as fast as I could (and it's still faster than I sound decent!)... it's about 120 bpm. I can't imagine playing this tune any faster... one reason is that jump from the E to the B and back to the E in the A part. I've always played it moving my finger from string to string, but the only way to even play it at 120, is just to lay the finger over the A string, while keeping the fingertip on the D string. Since I'm not used to doing that, that is something I really have to work on...

    Hey Bernie, you and I both have palm trees on our shirts... must be time for something tropical!
  39. OldSausage
    That's cool Barbara, that was pretty clean, I don't think it would take you long to get it down completely. I think learning the layover of the first finger in the A part is worth it - it seems to me that it sounds better played that way even at slower speeds.

    Once you can play a few tunes clean at good speeds and practice them regularly, I think it becomes much easier to apply it to other tunes.

    Bernie, by the measure I was using, I would put your speed at 80bpm - that's counting 1 beat for every jig of jig-it-ty, jig-it-ty. But you seem to be doing a kind of tremelo thing so you were playing six notes in the space where others are playing three: jigger-igger-igger, jigger-igger-igger.
  40. Sore Ears
    Sore Ears
    Bernie, you were really getting into that tune. Fun stuff, nice to see folks taking tunes in different directions. And Barbara, that was not bad at all. Like OS said, you are very close at that speed. And you carried it off with your trademark modified Mona Lisa smile. Very good.
  41. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's an example of the speed of reels for Irish set dancing. It's quite brisk.

  42. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I went back and checked my three submissions, bpm wise.... the first one on mando was 100, the 2nd one on TB was 80 and the third one, where I was trying to go as fast as possible, was 120. While it is cool to go fast (I guess), to me, especially in minor tunes like this one, which I describe as having a 'spooky' feel, I think throttled back, emphasizes the spookiness...
  43. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Thanks for posting that dance video. It was a reel, and I clocked it with my metronome at about 126 bpm.

    Here's a discussion on thesession.org on tempo.
  44. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I'm going to jump in here with some 'observations' (no, not critiquing!)

    Earlier we were discussion pick directions in a jig (one of my favorite discussions, cuz I'll always jump in with an opinion!)

    Its easy (for those who want to compare) to see and hear the difference, in listening to my video, and Bernie's. You can see that Bernie is using a smooth DUDUDUDUDU pick pattern.. not only that, but I am playing my way, along with his video, and comparing.. (will record me playing along with his shortly, but my man is cooking breakfast for me right now!).... but, he's got that rhythm going and playing two note (DU) to my D... so, where I'm playing D U D D U D... he's playing DU DU DU DU DU DU..... and you can hear the difference in jigginess... more to come, after breakfast!
  45. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Alright, here's my video. I even threw in the triplets that I'd worked up on the TB, on this mando one.... some of the time. After recording it, and playing it while uploading it to youtube, I examined the picking on the triplets, and discovered that there's two ways (or more) that you could do it... I was picking them DUD, and it works, BUT... I'm picking the triplet in the place that I would be picking the U D of a D U D, and when I'm through, I'm going into another D U D... so, according to what I learned from Enda Scahill's tutor, playing the triplet as a UDU works, maybe even a little better, since I'm starting it where an upstroke normally goes. But, that's not how I played them on this video I recorded along with Bernie's video (both wearing our tropical shirts!)

    Bernie, I think the difference in how I am playing it, and how you are playing it, is that this is a jig in 6/8 time, which is 6 eighth notes per measure
    (1-2-3 4-5-6), which I pick DUD DUD. You are playing it with 12 sixteenth notes, which you are picking DU DU DU DU DU DU DU.

    I think you'll find if you try the DUD DUD for the jig, you'll actually be able to play the tune faster, as you won't be doubling up on the notes!

    Here's the video... fun pickin' with you, Bernie~

  46. OldSausage
    But there is a third way, where you play the same number of notes Barbara does in her first video, but you play DUD UDU DUD UDU, which you can play even quicker, because you do not have to bring your pick back between each group of 3, as you do for DUD DUD. As long as you correctly emphasise the upstroke, I can't see how it makes any difference to the rhythm.
  47. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    W/ Tobin's Favorite.

  48. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Old Sausage.... I've eagerly read almost every discussion on pick direction I can find... and know that some people feel that you can get the same feeling from DUD UDU in a jig, as you can from DUD DUD..... but, *I* personally find that DUD DUD works best for me.... we've discussed that DUD DUD is counts 1 2 3 4 5 6 in a measure, and that the BEAT is on 1 and 4... with DUD DUD, beats 1 and 4 are downstrokes, and, for me, it's much easier to put the emphasis on them that way. Also, when picking a slip jig, it's still DUD DUD DUD / DUD DUD DUD (two measures) and when doing it the other way, wouldn't it be DUD UDU DUD / UDU DUD UDU ? That seems REAL confusing to me. The time difference it takes to do two downstrokes, (counts 3 & 4, 6 & 1) is miniscule... and, for me, at least, it totally works out to keep the jig beat strong.

    I'm hoping this is a friendly discussion, on the various ways to pick a jig... and not a 'your way' vs 'my way' thread! I know this kind of discussion CAN get heated!
  49. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    I found the pace in the clip for set dancers to be brisk but not overly fast - I've heard folk play reels far, far faster. To me that pace was a nice one, not too fast, and not dragging either.

    Nice bounce in both Barbara's 120 BPM version and also Mike's version.

    Re: the DUD DUD vs. DUD UDU debate - in Enda Scahill's banjo tutor he says that DUD DUD will "acheive a strong rhythmical effect" whereas DUD UDU will "get a more lyrical effect". I was taught to use DUD DUD, as a matter of fact I'd been trying to teach myself when I started playing tenor banjo and I was doing DUD UDU, which I thought sounded ok at the time, but once I started lessons and my banjo teacher got me to switch to DUD DUD the improvement in my jig playing was tenfold. The injection of feel and bounce was immediate.

    As to the arguments that DUD DUD is harder to use at speed, go google some clips of Angelina Carberry playing - it certainly doesn't hold her back.
  50. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Mike, that was great..so fast.... Didn't you get the memo that this is CASUAL Sunday?
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