Here’s a lesson on how to turn an American tune called Ida Red into an Irish jig.

Some of the things I added: Jig swing, melodic variation, slur 3

OK, so this is kind of a weird lesson…but hopefully, you’ll have a good time 🕺💃 I had good time coming up with it and it’s still fun to play Ida Red as a jig.

But if you look at this historically, it’s actually not that weird. I like to think of music as an evolving conversation. In this case, it’s a conversation between Ireland and America. And this conversation has lasted for hundreds of years. A lot of melodies got brought over with immigrants and then slowly morphed into unique tunes here. Even Yankee Doodle (if I’m not mistaken, this evolved from a Dutch tune).

Unlike simply learning a tune, the process of turning a reel into a jig is not a cut-and-dried process.

In order to do this fiddle conversion, it helps if you:

  • Know how to add melodic variation to a scale.
  • Know how to simplify tunes.

Preparation

Breathe deeply and play a single note.

Warm up by playing the A major scale with some fun variations.


Use the A drone player on the FiddleHed page.

This will get the sound of the notes in your head and the feel in your fingers. It will also help you to play in tune.

If you know the old-time version of the tune, playing that will prepare you for doing this jig version.

 

A part, first quarter

A part, second quarter

A part, third quarter


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A part, fourth quarter

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B part, first quarter

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B part, second quarter

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B part, third quarter

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B part, fourth quarter

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Full Tabs

A part 

First quarter: [A0-1]-2-1-0-A4-A2-1-0-1-2-1

Second quarter: A0-1-2-1-0-D2-1-2-1-2-DH3

Third quarter: A0-1-0-0-1-2-1-0-D2-1-GH3

Fourth quarter, 1st end: D1-2-H3-A0-1-2-0-1-0-0-1

Fourth quarter, 2nd end: D1-2-H3-A0-1-2-0-1-2-E0-1-2

B part 

First quarter: E3-4-3-3-4-3-1-3-1-L2-4-L2

Second quarter: E0-1-0-0-1-0-A1-2-E0-A2-1

Third quarter: A0-1-0-0-1-2-1-0-D2-1-GH3

Fourth quarter, 1st end: D1-2-H3-A0-1-2-0-1-2-E0-1-2

Fourth quarter, 2nd end: D1-2-H3-A0-1-2-0-1-0-1


Full sheet music



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OK! Now go fiddle with it…

5 responses to “Ida Red: Old-time Reel to Irish Jig! 

  1. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for placing this one on the site. I have been working on part A, so far this week; trying to get G# third finger right and fourth finger E as well. Almost there. Really enjoying the bowing the slurs encourage.

    Owen O.

  2. This jig is beyond my skill level (beginner) but I’m having a blast trying it anyway! Trying to hurry before week is up haha. You know though, I’m starting to get it just by singing it first. Naturally I will up my sub as soon as I get beyond beginner! Thank you dear Jason, definitely good for the heart!

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