View Full Version : Music Types

Aug-28-2004, 9:51pm
Hey All,

Something I been wondering for a long time. What are the differences between the following or maybe more appropriately how is each defined?

Some I know

Waltz - 3/4 time various speeds 1 2 3 1 2 3 exagerate 1 (I was waltzin with my darlin to the Tennesee waltz When an old friend...)

Polka - 4/4 (always?) fast 1 2 3 1 2 3 equal emphasis on 1 2 an 3 (roll out the barrel we'll have a barrel of fun roll out the barrel...)

2 step - 4/4 (always?) various speeds 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 (Lets go to Luchenbach Texas Willie an Waylon an the boys This successful...)

Reel what is it?

Jig what is it?

Slip jig what is it

Mazurka what is it?

Air what is it (I know it's slow)

What others are there?

Thanks for any response!

Take Care! -Ed-

Jonathan Reinhardt
Aug-28-2004, 10:40pm
Waltz - different emphasis depending upon cultural origin - ex. Cajun 1,2 -THREE. Sometimes emphasis on the TWO in other styles. (But that may be a fantasy! Having played many waltzes for differing bands over the years I may have gotten either inovative or just plain crazy.)
Two step - 1&2&3&4. (Cajun) Are there other two-steps?
Mazurka - now that's a good question - sort of an oddball and not easily defined. I've heard (and played) very differing pieces that claim to be mazurkas.
I await more input to this thread.


John Flynn
Aug-28-2004, 11:44pm
Many of your questions, including "mazurka" would be answered here:

One that is not answered there is "slip jig," which is a dance tune in 9/8 time, popular in England, American and Canada, played at a moderate or fast tempo.

Aug-29-2004, 10:34am
Meter and tune types (http://www.mandolincafe.com/lessons/count.html)


Aug-29-2004, 10:40am
Hey All,

Mando Johnny I looked at that site and it did explain a reel as a duple meter divisible by 2 like 2/4 4/4 etc however they did not define jig or hornpipe other than to say they are dances similar to a reel. And they didn't touch air.

If a jig is a dance like a reel then at fiddle contests where a person is supposed to play a waltz, reel and jig you should be able to play anything you want for a jig since it's defined as a dance and not a form of music. Ditto a hornpipe.

This can't be so can it?

Of course I never intended for this post to ask about every form of music there is just the common oldtime, celtic and Irish types.

Take Care! -Ed-

PS Thanks for the def of a slip jig.

Aug-29-2004, 6:44pm
A jig (a double jig actually) is a dance in 6/8 time ONE two three FOUR five six...

A hornpipe is a dance in the same time signature as a reel, but with "swung" notes or dotted notes that make it sound bouncy. Hornpipes played as bluegrass or old-timey tunes often leave out the dotted notes and are played straight.

An air is a melody, usually played somewhat slowly and expressively with no real rhythmic pattern to it. Sometimes the melody of a song is referred to as its air as well.

A mazurka is in 3/4 like a waltz, but is danced differently. I believe it's from Poland.

You forgot single jigs and slides. They both are kind of like jigs, but they both (to me, at least) have more of a dotted feel to them, or more emphasis on the first note of each three. Slides are usually written down in 12/8 time while single jigs are 6/8 but usually go faster than double jigs. I think they are both danced differently from a double jig.

There are single reels too, where the A and B parts are only four bars long (or eight bars and not repeated). They are probably danced differently from double reels, but I'm not sure.

All these terms apply to dance tunes, music that falls more into american old-timey or bluegrass genres probably won't classify easily into these catagories.

Aug-30-2004, 10:24am
Hey All,

Thank You for the replies. I think I got it now so I can explain it to my fiddlin daughter.

Take Care! -Ed-