Three Lively Jigs


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Instrumentation: Flute, 2 Descant Recorders, Bb Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Violin, Accordion / Piano / Guitar, Bass

Sometimes, it is a little tricky to think what to call sets of jigs or reels: the basic character of these is their upbeat nature, hence the simple, but appropriate, heading.

The set opens with “The Fiery Clock Face”, with clear accents on the first two notes of bars 1, 3 and 5 setting this jig apart from others.

It is followed by a real favourite of the violinist in the folk band I ran for some 25 years: “Going to the well for water.” When we played these, whether as a dance set or as an interlude, we always played this tune several times!

“The Kesh Jig” returns the key to G major, the pattern having been G, D and now G again. These are always referred to in folk music as “God’s own keys” and it does not take too much to work out why.

The arrangement is for what became a fairly standard “school” folk band line-up. Recorder parts can be played by violins or flutes where preferred or necessary and the bass on any string bass or on a tuba.

As with all sets of folk tunes, the number of times each is played is determined by the context, i.e. the dance and / or the wishes of the caller..