Difference Between Reel and Jig (With Table)

There are many kinds of cultures all over the world. One of the most famous and common art cultures is the art of dance. Dance is a very ancient form of art and skill. Dance is an art of expression using rhythmic body movements and explaining the emotion of music without uttering a single word. Dance is used to express emotions and is also a form of entertainment.

 Dances consider it as an art form that teaches the importance of cooperation and understanding music rhythms. The most famous dance forms of western countries are reels and jigs. These are similar when watched but have some slight differences in their choreographs.

Reel vs Jig

The difference between reel and jig is that they have different dance signatures as per their own, like reel has a time signature of 44, whereas jig has a time signature of 6/8. A time signature is a western form of musical rhythm notation; it is used to specify that how many pulses are contained per bar.

The reel is a famous dance form in Scotland. The reel is considered a folk dance. This is the first dance form that is taught to any beginner dancer. It is considered the easiest form of Irish dance. This music rhythm has a time signature of 4/4. It has 4 pulses to every bar like I 1234 I 1234 I.

The jig is also a folk dance of English origin. The name jig comes from the French word gigur, which means ‘to jump.’ It is mainly originated from Ireland and Scotland. Afterward, it was adapted to many other western countries. It has a time signature of 6/8 which means it has 6 pulses to every bar. It is like I 123 – 456 I 123 – 456 I.

Comparison Table Between Reel and Jig

Parameters of ComparisonReelJig
Origin In 15th centuryIn 16th century
Time signature4/46/8
PopularityMost popular. Secures the first positionSecond popular; after the reel.
Adoption by dancersEasiest dance form. Normally taught to beginners.Elegant and graceful dance form with fast rhythms
DerivativesNo derivative formsLight jig, Slip jig, Single and Double jigs, etc.

What is Reel?

The reel is a famous dance form in English countries. It is considered a folk dance. The reel is mainly originated from Scotland. In the US, it is the most central tradition of square dance. The square dance is a dance form in which four couples form the four vertices of a triangle, with one of the couples facing inside the square.

The music of the reel dance has a time signature of 4/4. A time signature is a western form of musical rhythm notation; it is used to specify that how many pulses are contained per bar. The rhythm of the reel music is like I 1234 I 1234 I.

The most common words used in feet taps for the rhythm of reel music are“double-decker, double-decker.” If this line matches the rhythm, then it is reel music. The dance folk dance is mainly composed in binary forms. That is, it can be represented with A and B.

What is Jig?

The jig is also a folk dance from the western side. The nomenclature of the jig is mainly derived from the French word gigur, which means ‘to jump.’ This dance form is originated in both Ireland and Scotland. But the Irish jig and Scottish jig are different from each other.

The jig is considered a very elegant dance form by the English. This art form is performed with fast footsteps and a tight and firm upper body. This is a fast rhythm dance form.

This music is played very fast by the musicians. It has a time signature of 6/8 which means it has 6 pulses to every bar. It is like I 123 – 456 I 123 – 456 I. This rhythm is also described as per “carrots and cabbages, carrots and cabbages.”

There are different types of jigs like a light jig, slip jig, single and double jibs, etc. All of these have some of the other specialties within the horizon of the main dance art. The slip jag is the most famous type of jig in Ireland. There this form is considered a ballet and also known as Irish ballet. This art form is played at the starting or at the end of theaters to provide a comical and light feeling to the audience.

Main Differences Between Reel and Jig

  1.  The reel has a time signature of 4/4, whereas the jig has a time signature of 6/8.
  2. The reel is the most famous type of dance in western countries than the jig.
  3. The reel is the easiest type of dance form and is taught to beginners. On the other hand, the jig has a fast rhythm and is comparatively tougher than the reel.
  4.  The jig has many derivative forms of dances in other forms. Among which, a slip jig is considered an Irish ballet. But the reel does not have any other type.
  5. The reel is more ancient in comparison to the jig. The reel was first known as a dance in the 15th century, whereas the jig came to the people in the 16th century.

Conclusion

The Irish dance forms are considered very elegant and graceful in western countries. These two dance forms, the jig, and the reel are both originated from Ireland and Scotland. They are almost similar but have some different steps in them, which make them two separate forms of dance forms. Both of them are step dances. They are traditional folk dances and are still very famous in western countries.

They are usually performed on traditional occasions to show their ancient cultures. There are many things to learn from these forms. The adoption of the music composition of the reel and jig music from the sheet music is challenging as per getting habituated to listening and practicing. So a beginner always needs a skillful tutor to gain the skill at an advanced level.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=v8CIXKbUpQgC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=reel+dance&ots=5KtBcegfW3&sig=lfeFnULCaYYUUDvkqeVuvbYRlYg
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=v8CIXKbUpQgC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=jig+dance&ots=5KtBcegfY5&sig=SC5RNI_jVgnnLx7O81b8Tb0o0w0

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