Basic Theory: The Jig

Jigs are one of two styles written in compound time (the other being the 6/8 March which is covered in Group D.  Whereas simple time splits note groups into twos or fours, compound time splits note groups into threes or sixes.  The number of beats in a bar of compound time can be determined by dividing the top number of the time signature by three.  For example, in 6/8 time, divide the "6" by three and you'll discover there are two beats per bar of 6/8.  

 In the example below, notice the fact that there are only two beat groupings per bar--contained within the brackets under the staff.  Each of these beats is equal to a dotted quarter note (or three eighth notes).  Notice the arrows and numbers showing where each beat starts.

In 9/8 time, commonly called a "Slip Jig", dividing the top number by three gives you 3 beats per bar.  Those three note groupings are clearly visible in the example below.

Note Values

For all intents and purposes, there are only four note types that appear in the Jig.  It is rare to see a dotted half note in a jig but it does occur occasionally, most often as a full bar length roll.  You will also see many quarter notes in a jig (not included in the rhythm tree below) that are paired with single eighth notes.  Please check out the Rhythm Syllables section for help with playing these quarter/eighth note or eighth/quarter note combinations.

Rhythm Syllables

The four rhythms below are those most commonly used in the Jig style.  For the dotted quarter note simply use the word "Jig".  For the eighth note triplet use "Jig-gi-ty" and for the two quarter note/eighth note combinations use "Jig-sy" and
"Jig-gy".  Drum corps with little or no "jig experience" should learn jigs containing these four rhythms exclusively.