IRISH JIG: IMPROV TUTORIAL SHEET MUSIC & VIDEO

IRISH JIG is a fun way to open, close or raise the energy mid show. This is to serve as a tutorial for pianists and guitarists and singers/players in the cast of EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH (AKA LMAO Off Broadway, Improv 4 Kids etc)  – as well as students, fans and anyone looking to enhance their skills in musical improv games.

LIVE COMEDY IN TIMES SQUARECOMEDY CLASSES NYC

Below I have demo videos and sheet music for Key of F (My prerferred key for piano) and Key of D (my preferred key for guitar). Many of my colleagues will play in E or G as well. Either way the chord pattern is the same.

Irish Jig in F  CLICK HERE for printable sheet music

Irish Jig in D CLICK HERE for printable sheet music

 

IRISH JIG NOTES for PIANISTS

Play along. Feel free to change the actual bass line and realization of the chords but this represents a recommended shape for notes and rhythm. Forgive me as I dumb down the following for musicians without formal training in music reading and writing. But I want ALL to find success from this blog and this musical form.

STYLE of PLAY
JIG is a very bouncy form of music designed to inspire lively folk dance. Keep your playing light – Especially for verse. Try playing a simply bass line on the beat, with light chords on the off beats, with a swing feel. I do like a BIG chord at the end of each chorus/verse leading into next section.

Music Theory/Composition/Improv 101
In general (in this musical form) we put the root of the chord in the bass on the first beat of the bar – in other words play a F for the F Chord at the beginning of each bar.
Try to never play the chord in root position in the right hand (meaning DON’T play the note F with your thumb.

RULES MEANT TO BE BROKEN
When in doubt, if it sounds good, ignore the rules. HAVE FUN and experiment with how you play jig and other styles.

PLAYING THE GAME

Use the clips above to sing along and improvise the song style when you do not have a musician. Each verse is split between all four players. Actual melody and verse can be improvised. Use the melody in this video as a guide only.  Remember with singing comedy – the words and are more important than the notes. When in doubt, speak sing like Colin from WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY.

The most important part of a jig is how each player adds their part of the verse and the rhyme scheme (ABCB ABCB for each verse).

CHORUS x2

A – PLAYER 1 starts the verse
B – PLAYER 2 sets up a rhyme for PLAYER 4
C – PLAYER 3 forwards the story
B – PLAYER 4 rhymes with PLAYER 2

A – PLAYER 1 forwards the story
B – PLAYER 2 sets up a rhyme for PLAYER 4
C – PLAYER 3 forwards the story
B – PLAYER 4 rhymes with PLAYER 2

VERSE TWO and beyond
Each verse has the same structure but the players shift their roles.
PLAYER 2 starts verse 2
PLAYER 3 starts verse 3
PLAYER 4 starts verse 4

For VERSE 2, PLAYER 3 sets up PLAYER 1 for the rhyme, etc

ADD THE DANCE?

We call this game an Irish Jig because many of our audiences would not want us singing a drinking song. BUT if you notice in our videos from live shows, we are gesturing as if we have steins of beer. This gesture gives the songs a bit more flavor visually. Remember in your pantomime, if you pump your arms to violently, you will spill your beverage, which is considered a sin among us Irish. So keep the energy internal, mostly!

At the end we like to add a little jig dance as we sing the final chorus, then wrap up with the hello dolly arms and pose.

 

 

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