The Echaig Jig

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Earlier in the week I was out with my camcorder getting some film shots after a couple of days of rain on the River Eachaig near my home. As I was filming, a wee tune started forming in my head in time to the water swirling and by the time I got home I was opening Musescore and getting the notation down along with the chord backing. Several practices later I reckoned it was ready to record, so here it is, recorded via REAPER on mandolin with guitar backing. I used MovieStudio16 to make the video. Woops! Just noticed my mistake in the spelling of the river in the opening credit. I could claim it was to help with the pronunciation of a Gaelic placename, but I would be lying!

  2. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Lovely John, I’m going to learn this one. The G major arpeggio at the beginning is nice as well.
  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks so much, Simon. Aye, the arpeggio starts on the lowest G and goes up to the high B on the E strings, covering more than two octaves - I wanted a lot of movement in it to reflect the water. I can send you TAB from the Musescore if you want it; it is easy to add in TAB on a Musescore score, and on your octave the arpeggio will be a good finger-stretching exercise. On mandolin I can reach all the notes easily enough from 1st position
  4. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Flows as spiritedly as the over flowing water weir. Ahhh, a poet...very nice jig John , nice and bouncy and ..smiley.
  5. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    A merrie melody - makes me picture a session with 10 musicians wildwater-rafting down the Colorado
  6. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Hey those 10 musicians could be rafting right here in Ireland - when I drove through Newport last week I could get over how high and fast the Black Oak river was flowing!

    Really lovely jig there John!
  7. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    This is such a nice jig that I'd like to try it as well. I can learn it by ear, but a tab or abc file would make life easier! Well done!
  8. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Yes please, me too!!!
    I’d like an .abc file please (my repertoire is standardised).
  9. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks Ginny, Bertram, Jill, Michael and Simon. Here, I hope, is the link to the pdf file in standard notation and mandolin TAB that I have posted in the Thread For Social Group section of the forum's Song and Tune Pojects; (sorry, Simon and Michael, but I do not work with abc files. Simon, just use your capo as usual at 5th or 7th fret and then play the TAB - you will be playing in a different key, but so what?):
  10. Frankdolin
    John what a great little tune! I think I'll have to have a go also. But, I am hearing it a little faster.
  11. gortnamona
    wonderful John
  12. Simon DS
    Simon DS

    T:The Eachaig Jig
    C:John Kelly
    L: 1/8
    |:"G"G,B,D GBd|gba gdB|"C"cde "Em"dge|"Em"dBG "D"A3|
    "G"G,B,D GBd|gba "G"gdB|"C"cde "G"dgB|"D"AGF "G"G3:|
    |:"G"gzd dBG|"C"cde "G"dBG|gzd Bcd|"Em"BAG "D"A3|
    "G"gzd dBG|"C"cde "G"dBG|1"C"EFG "D"ABc|AGF "G"G3:|
    2"G"Bcd "Em"egb|"D"agf "G"g3|

    I can hear a lurker right now saying to themselves, ‘Oh, thank human goodness! Someone has also posted an .abc file for this lovely tune’.
  13. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Ha ha, John, I put the capo on my octave not to try to prevent people who have mandolins from playing along with my vids,
    I would love people who have mandolins to be able to play along with my vids.
    But they canít play along (not easily anyway) because I donít have a mandolin!

    Itís simply that. I havenít got a mandolin, and itís not going to happen, unfortunately (for me) my level of expertise as a musician now is too high to accept making do with a cheap mandolin.
    That really would drive me nuts! So there it is.

    And true, quite a lot of people who have moved across from guitar have seen my vids and been encouraged to buy an octave mandolin even instead of a mandolin, but this wasnít my intention, just a result.

    By the way, if anyone does want to play along with my vids, and they only have a mandolin. They can have a look at my fingering, and just use the same fingering on their mandolin but shifted across one string.
    Yes I did think about them! Ha, haaa!

    And you guys, you say that I handle it well, seeing all those beautiful trees cut down, in fact all of my political, social and environmental ideals cut down, but itís just that now Iíve decided to handle it well. Iíve lost enough already, I donít own the land, nor control it, so go ahead, cut the whole lot down.
  14. Alcluith

    your ABC isn't just 100% of John's notation, I take no credit for the ABC I just imported the XML generated by Museccore as an XML then import to To EasyABC

    T:The Echaig Jig
    C:John Kelly
    I:linebreak $
    |:"G" G,B,D GBd |"G" gba gdB |"C" cde"Em" dge |"Em" dBG"D" A3 |$"G" G,B,D GBd |"G" gba gdB |
    "C" cde"G" dgB |"D" AGF"G" G3 ::$"G" g z d dBG |"C" cde"G" dBG |"G" g z d Bcd |"Em" BAG"D" A3 |
    "G" g z d dBG |$"C" cde"G" dBG |1"C" EFG"D" ABc | AGF"G" G3 :|2"G" Bcd"Em" egb |"D" agf"G" [Bg]3 |]

    A lurker that can create his own ABC.
  15. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Drew, for posting the abc from my notation. I can import already-made abc files into Musescore which then automatically creates standard notation, but as far as I am aware the process does not work in reverse. I assume what Drew did was to put my notation into his own Musescore program manually then save it in standard xml file format and load this into Easyabc to create the abc format - something I had no idea about but now do! Thanks again, Drew.
  16. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    For those of you who own a Ipad, here's a neat little trick to get tab and notation from abc files. Install the free Tefview app on your Ipad. This program will read and convert abc files to tef files. These display in the Tefview app as either tab or notation or both together! I use this method with the abc files I want to learn from the website, The Session mainly. Added attraction is that these tef files will now play with audio so you can both see and hear how the tune goes. First I download the abc files to my ipad. Then I import them into the Tefview app. Simple as that. I assume that Musescore works in a similar fashion. It is a free app for the ipad as well.

    Thanks John, your notation and tab are excellent... there's even guitar chords too! However upon playing the tab on my mandolin the last few measures of the b part are blank. No problem, I'll figure it out... the music notation is there.
  17. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    That's a wodeful jig, John! And thanks for the notation.
    One question: above the notation, you can read quarter note at 132 BpM.
    But playing a jig, you dont count the quarter notes, but either the eights notes or the dotted quarter notes.
    Wouldn't it make more sense to write down the time value of a dotted quarter?
  18. Alcluith
    John glad I was able to give something back to you. I save the notation in XML not MuseScore XML then just open the saved XML into EasyABC.
    Have to say another great Jig to learn.

  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks again for latest additions to this thread, guys.
    Michael, apologies for the TAB omissions. I thought I had highlighted all of the standard notation beforecopying it and pasting it into the TAB stave, but obviously I must have missed the last line, hence the blanks in the TAB line. I know that adding in the missing notes will be an easy task for you!
    Christian, your point about dotted crotchet/quarter-note being the correct one for the tempo marker is absolutely spot on! My mistake when I was writing out the notation. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Drew, interesting to point out the two different xml formats - this can cause problems for folk who try to send each other xml files and do not realise that there is the "standard" xml and Musescore's own xml, and they seem not to be compatible with each other in many cases.
  20. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I have just uploaded a revised version of the pdf, adding in the missing TAB bars, correcting the spelling in the title and omitting tempo marking - play it at your own tempos!
  21. Frithjof
    Thanks for this nice piece of music, John!
  22. JL277z
    Great tune, John!

    My try is below. It's quite rough as I've been very ill the past month and only just now getting strength back to where I can sit up for a little while and try to play.

    I learned the tune from John's first posting of the sheet music yesterday, prior to hearing his video (my download speeds were misbehaving yesterday so I didn't get to hear his video until after I'd already recorded mine). That's why my version sounds a bit, er, different, because I didn't yet know what it was supposed to sound like. I took some liberties with the chords.

    All that 'improv' is mostly just wrong notes, fingers not going where I'd intended for them to and then after a flub the fingers go on autopilot to try to play *something* non-clashy just to keep the beat going. As usual, FWIW, there are no patches, no loops, no studio edits to fix wrong notes (could have used that! lol!), it's all exactly as it is, not that anyone cares about that anymore but I still do. Fun tune to play, even when played badly, best I can do right now:

    (or direct link)

    I tried to make a relevant river-esque animated background but it didn't turn out as expected - it was supposed to represent starlight or moonlight sparkling on late-night river whitecaps, perhaps. YouTube made it too dark, almost black, it was medium blue on my computer. I thought I had set that background layer to do a motion-effect/sparkle thing but I must have misconfigured (or failed to configure) some of the parameters, because it's almost stationary. That stuff is way over my head anyway, I barely know what 10 percent of those animation settings do. Should have done a test run first but I didn't. Also didn't do my usual thing of rummaging through the internet for ready-made clip-art because I wanted to get something posted before I forgot and started on other tunes.

    John Kelly wrote: "I thought I had highlighted all of the standard notation before copying it and pasting it into the TAB stave, but obviously I must have missed the last line, hence the blanks in the TAB line."

    Unless something else drastic has changed in recent versions of MuseScore (I wouldn't be surprised), you should be able to use a "Linked tab staff" to automatically add tab for any instrument, without having to copy/paste anything. That's what I do in the now four-year-old version 2.1 that I'm still using. When you change a note on the standard notation staff, the corresponding tab note automatically changes. And vice-versa - if you manually change a tab note, the corresponding standard notation staff instantly changes itself to the new note. The two staffs are synchronized with each other. This works well for one-'voice' melodies.

    This still allows for custom note positioning - if for some reason you wanted to use, say, a high E note on the 7th fret of the 2nd string, instead of the more customary open 1st string, it's just a simple matter to click-and-drag the tab note to the adjacent string - the tab note automatically updates its fret number for the new string.

    Then again that's with the older version of the app. I have no idea how badly they may have screwed up the app with the newer versions, I know I had font problems and other usability- and user-interface issues when I tried version 3 and I ended up uninstalling it and going back to version 2.1 instead and that's where I intend to stay for as long as possible.

    Anyway, thanks John for sharing your music, you really do write some lovely tunes, and you play them very excellently too. This one is a lot of fun to play.
  23. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Jess, so sorry to hear you have been so ill, and I hope you recover fully as soon as possible. I was wondering where you had gone to over the past few weeks.

    I am delighted that you had a go at the tune and your version does you credit. Thanks too for the tips on Musescore. I had not been aware of the linked facility for creating TAB along with the standard notation. TAB is something I do not use much at all, and only if someone asks for it specifically, as was the case here. Then I have just been adding a new instrument stave, selecting the mandolin TAB one and copying and pasting the standard notation nto this new stave. What you tell me here seems so very much more sensible! Because I play regularly with other musicians I find it is more convenient to stick with standard notation that we can all use, whether fiddlers, accordionists or whatever else.
  24. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    A great tune to play Jess. John composed a cool tune. All that 'improv' is mostly just wrong notes - "a great musician once said- there are no mistakes only new parts " - Neil Peart.
    Get well soon. !!
  25. JL277z
    Thanks, John and Ginny!

    Ginny Aitchison wrote: ... " "a great musician once said- there are no mistakes only new parts " - Neil Peart."

    Cool! I like that.

    John Kelly wrote: ..."TAB is something I do not use much at all, and only if someone asks for it specifically, as was the case here. ... Because I play regularly with other musicians I find it is more convenient to stick with standard notation that we can all use, whether fiddlers, accordionists or whatever else."


    I've discovered an unexpected newfound use for tab when writing my own arrangements of stuff, particularly for oddly-tuned instruments where the notes are not where they're supposed to be. For instance, when I'm trying to write simple bass lines for that bizarrely-retuned guitar I've been using as a bass this year, my tuning is based more on what the instrument can physically withstand (not supposed to put bass strings on a guitar but I did it anyway and it turns out there are major limitations with intonation, bridge saddle curvatures, string-post fit etc), rather than on what would be an actual optimal tuning for the notes I want to play. Anyway I look at the tab (custom adjusted to my strange tuning) while learning to play the arrangement. If I keep using a particular tuning long enough, eventually I'll have the note locations memorized, but I'm not there yet and that tuning may be changed to something different in future anyway (which would throw all the notes off again). Actually I'd rather have a real bass, but that will have to wait another year or two, I have other financial obligations to attend to that preclude buying any additional instruments for now. (Patience eh.)

    Similar tab usage for mandolin cross-tunings ADAE and AEAE etc, where some of the notes end up in different locations on the fretboard compared to standard tuning. Not quite as necessary there, but can be occasionally convenient.

    And of course oldtime banjo, there are *so* many different tunings that can be used for that, tab is the easiest choice when trying to convey to someone else how a particular tune might be played.

    But yeah I agree with you about standard notation being the most overall useful (and takes up the least amount of pages) way of communicating notes for the widest range of instruments.

    Standard notation has one other cool and hugely useful feature - it's essentially just like a graph in math class (my fav, back in the day, that and physics), so one can 'see' a note's approximate sound just by observing whether it's positioned higher or lower (relative to adjacent notes on the staff). Y-axis (the standard notation staff lines) approximately representing frequency of string vibration (the pitch of the note). Pretty handy systems.

    So, now, I wanna hear more people play this tune!

    - Jess (typing via phone, hope I got the formatting right)
    - correction: I'd first typed "x-axis" when I meant "y-axis". I know better, I was visualizing the up-and-down axis but applied the wrong name to it, I'm just easily confused nowadays lol.
  26. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A really good use of TAB there, Jess. I can see that it would help with unusual tunings and it obviously works for you. I try to avoid any non-standard tunings nowadays, finding the mandolin and guitar in standard tuning are quite enough for my ageing brain. Switching from one to the other especially if playing melody can be quite interesting at times in sessions. In our Scottish sessions at home here I generally play melody on mandolin and backing on guitar, but will quite often play melody on guitar depending on what other instruments are present at the session.

    I am intrigued by your use of bass strings on a guitar with its much shorter scale length and the other problems you mention such as tension and string post holes, etc. Intonation must be a major headache.

    Like you, I find that graph-like facility of standard notation quite intriguing. I will sometimes take a pencil and "join the dots" to see how a tune rises and falls - I did this with The Eachaig Jig and got the movementof the water mirrored in the graph! A very useful shorthand way of seeing how a tune develops.
  27. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Beautiful! Well done Jess.
    Just before listening I did read what you wrote about the tune... not so good... clumsy...
    And then I was confused because I thought well this is lovely, maybe sheís talking about a different tune!
    Really nice. Hope you get well soon.
  28. JL277z
    Thanks Simon! I'm always over-critical of my own playing because I know what I'd *intended* to play, vs the recording. Then sometimes I'm like "um those aren't the notes I was trying to play." The discrepancy can be jarring.

    This tune, I would just need to play slowly for a long while, instead of trying to jump in with both feet at warp speed like I did and hoping for the best. I was just so excited to be able to play again, I didn't want to wait!

    John Kelly wrote: "I will sometimes take a pencil and "join the dots" to see how a tune rises and falls - I did this with The Eachaig Jig and got the movement of the water mirrored in the graph! A very useful shorthand way of seeing how a tune develops."

    That is so awesome! Super cool!

    John Kelly wrote: "I am intrigued by your use of bass strings on a guitar with its much shorter scale length and the other problems you mention such as tension and string post holes, etc. Intonation must be a major headache."

    Yeah the 6th (lowest-pitched) string is the worst, it's good for literally only one note - an open low "G". I don't even try to fret that string, it serves as a sort of harp-guitar string that's only played unfretted. A little piece of foam rubber under the strings near the bridge dampens the sustain to tolerable levels, as does left-hand damping after plucking (yeah I use a pick, I'm one of those kinds of players lol). The 5th string intonation is marginally ok for my limited purposes, and the other strings (the ones that still have shared duty for my usual GDAE tenor guitar stuff) haven't changed too significantly except now the GDAE part is all scooted over one string towards the treble side of the neck - my GDAE used to be on strings 5 through 2, now it's on strings 4 through 1.

    I did find that the two extra-thick strings prevented my capo from working, when switching between this new bass mode and my usual octave-below-mandolin GDAE tenor guitar mode (no re-tuning required, but GDAE does need a capo on the 5th fret). The thick 6th and 5th strings held the capo up too high so it wasn't pressing down the thinner strings. I didn't need those two bass strings capo'd anyway, so at first I thought to turn the capo around, but that didn't work because it was in the way of my fretting hand. Huh. So I cut a notch in the rubber pad of an old spare capo, to let the 6th and 5th strings pass underneath the capo without contacting it. That allows the 4th-1st strings to be capo'd normally so they don't buzz. Works alright (although a little fussy to get the capo positioned properly so that it stays in place), and that gets me my usual octave GDAE tenor guitar 19-inch scale length that I'm accustomed to.

    I tried to make a little diagram that shows both modes:

    So I was trying to absolutely keep the GDAE part - gotta have that, that's my main interest - while trying to also figure out a way to get some low bass notes, and with the requirement of not having to retune when switching between bass mode and GDAE tenor guitar mode (aside from trivial fine-tuning to adjust for capo). Dual-purpose instrument, was my goal. The bass-side compromises I can live with, for the time being, basically all I know how to play is I-V alternating bass notes anyway. Although I suppose I'd learn a lot more if I had standard bass tuning and could learn from watching other players.

    Anytime trying to add functionality to something it wasn't designed for, there will likely always be a bunch of little details that require finding solutions for, but it's been an interesting process trying to figure all this stuff out (something to do in my old age, anyway).

    At least it didn't cost me anything other than mixing-and-matching some strings. And I haven't permanently modified anything other than (finally) filing the nut slots a bit. As of course you know, these Strat-style electrics have little metal set-screws everywhere which ordinarily suffice for normal adjustments, which makes normal changes easily reversible. This oddball configuration I'm trying just wasn't within the design parameters of the adjustment mechanisms, and I ran out of adjustments.

    For a more permanent mod, if I still had any woodworking tools and talent, the tremolo-bridge cavity (I never use that function) could be filled in somehow and then just bolt on a proper solid non-tremolo bridge instead, a little further back, and angled a bit. That would likely solve the majority of the intonation problems on the 6th and 5th strings. I'm not quite ready to go alligator-dentistry with angle-iron or other crude arrangements to secure a proper bridge, although I've considered it.

    All sorts of experiments possible in music!

    - Jess
  29. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    A fine composition, John. Catchy tune. Nice job on it Jess.
  30. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Don.
  31. JL277z
    Thanks Don!

    Finally making some progress with having the melody in my head, makes it easier to practice while reading the written notes. Also trying it slower now too, seems to be a pretty cool tune at any speed. Probably won't re-record due to the complexities of getting my makeshift recording gadgets deployed and correctly connected again (no dedicated music room) but still enjoying playing the tune.

    Hope to hear more recordings from the rest of y'all, it really is a fun tune to play.

    - Jess
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