Reels vs. Jigs

Difference Between Reels and Jigs

Irish people are in love with their traditional music and so they gather together to play or hear it. The event is considered as one session and the musicians end up together playing music in a relaxed way and the people who are in love with music end up listening to them with complete attention. What happens is someone starts a tune and those who know that part later join them. It is customary to present the air one after another in such a way that it looks like a game in general; the melodies of a game are similar as reels or jigs. These are the name assigned to specific compositions on the basis of the arrangement of the notes. People who do not have an Irish origin or are not musicians themselves have a great difficulty in appreciating the differences between the reels and jigs. This article attempts to point out these differences.

If you like Irish music, but are not a singer or a musician, how can you differentiate between a reel and a jig? Well, it’s simple. Just type your feet with the music in a natural way and then try to count fast notes between each tap. If 3 notes are counted, then it is a jig. If, however, you can not account for 4 taps then it is not a jig. To make it simple, try to listen to words more clearly and clearly. For example the word terminator appears as ter-mina-tor (remember, they come in groups of three) in case of a jig and the same would appear as ter-mi-na-tor in case of a reel.

The fact that disturbs many is that both reels are jigs that have duples, but in a bar, a coil has 4-8 notes, while a jig just  have 6. If you know how to read music from a printed sheet of paper, you know that the air begins with a key that has a wavy line supernatural. Just after this key, there are two numbers. If you find 2 and 3, the air is a coil, but if the numbers are 6 and 8 then air is a jig.


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