Charlie Hunter’s Irish Jig

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Charlie Hunter's Irish Jig LessonIn this lesson we take a close-up look at a traditional Irish jig – MrHunter’s, to be precise. The naming of traditional Irish tunes is something that has always fascinated me. ‘Merrily Kissed The Quaker’, ‘Rolling In The Hay’ and ‘Haste To The Wedding’ (is there a connection?) are so obscure that they belie the beautiful simplicity and sincerity of the music itself. This tune, ‘Charlie Hunter’s’, was presumably composed for or by Mr. Hunter. It’s a jig and, like all jigs, it is in 6/8 time. For this transcription we’ve written it out in 6/8, although some would choose to count it in 2/4 with triplet eighth notes: 1+a, 2+a, 1+a, 2+a and so on. 6/8 is a compound time signature, which means that it is derived from a simple duple time signature (2/4).

The essential rhythmical effect in 6/8 is that it has two stresses (or accents) on 1 and 4: 123 456 – 123 456 etc. For the backing track I have played some syncopated chords and some bodhran (pronounced, for the record, ‘bow-rawn’) rhythms on the body of the guitar.

Irish Jig. Performance notes

The tuning for this arrangement is the altered tuning DADGAD, which is a very standard tuning for Celtic music. It enables the guitar to resonate more sympathetically in the typical D- and G-based keys of much Celtic music. To get to this tuning, drop both your low and high E strings down a tone to D. Then drop your B string down to A. The lesson deals with the tune itself. The form of the tune is very typical of the genre. There is a four-bar phrase followed by another four-bar phrase. These two phrases together are in a question and answer form, i.e the first phrase is either melodically, rhythmically or harmonically unresolved and needs to be brought to a more resolved ending. The second phrase does just that. This A section is repeated. The B section usually has another theme which follows the same construction. The B section is also repeated and the whole thing starts over again. This Al A2, Al A2, Bl B2, Bl B2 form gives 32 bars of music. Try to notice this type of tune construction when you are listening to other traditional Irish tunes. The fingering is pretty straightforward with a few hammer-ons and pull-offs. The important thing is to play the tune with a dance-like feeling.

For the backing track, you will hear 2 bars of four clicks each. Each click (1234, 1234) should be heard as a dotted quarter note. In other words, you should super-impose triplet eighth notes over each beat so that you play in the right tempo. Just count 1+a 2+a 3+a 4+a on top of the click.

Good luck with the tune.

Charlie Hunter's Irish Jig Sheet Tab

It’s a part of Charlie Hunter’s Irish Jig sheet and tab

Below you can download a full copy of

Charlie Hunter’s Irish Jig lesson with backing track


13 December 2012 0 comments
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