When it comes to jigs (or double jigs to be more precise), the bowing seems to fit very neatly.  At least for most of the tune – which will normally comprise 6 quavers per bar.  Each bar starting on a down-bow, with each note being separately bowed –

bringing you nicely round to a down-bow for the next bar, where you can do exactly the same.

All except for those annoying crotchet/quaver combinations that crop up here and there, throwing the down-bow-on-first-beat pattern.  Often the answer here is to just slur these notes:

and that won’t upset the down-bow at the start of a bar pattern.

But, if you regularly play jigs in this way, they can sound a bit monotonous and lifeless.  Some variety is called for.

Looking at this basic version of The Killaloe Boat on the next page – a rough outline that needs to be coloured and shaded.  Played exactly as written, it won’t sound great.  The printed music being just a guide.

The first step is to sort out the bowing for this tune.  The down-up-down, up-down-up pattern will work for each bar, except the 2nd of each line of music, where the crotchet + quaver combination is found.  There are several ways of approaching this, three of which are shown in the A part that follows:

  1. This way will maintain the down-bow on first beat pattern by slurring the crotchet and quaver combination.  The down side of this is that the slur occurs over strings.
  2. This also keeps the pattern, but in a much more effective way.  The down-bow comes in on the last quaver beat and is slurred into the next bar.  This slurring across bars sounds great, especially if you give a little surge in volume halfway through the bow movement (at the point of the second slurred note).  This would be done by moving the bow faster, rather than pressing down harder.
  3. The other way is to continue bowing notes separately, which results in the bowing pattern changing to up-bow at the start of a bar.  Many players get too stuck into playing the down-bow first.  Practice the other way – if you’re not used to it, it will feel very odd, but persevere – your jig playing will certainly benefit from this flexibility.  Not to mention the ability to play slip-jigs – more on this later.
  4. At this point the bowing will revert back to down-bow at the start of the bar.

In the next post, see other ways the bowing can be varied for a more interesting sound.