“Kemp’s Jig” – English Folk Music

Below is the lesson for “Kemp’s Jig”.

Helpful Tips

A playful melody from the Elizabethan Period; this piece is a perfect challenge for the seasoned beginner. The backstory on this piece is fascinating; but before we dig into that, let’s begin with the title: “Kemp’s Jig”.

“Jig” translates to “dance”, and is a term that is usually synonymous with Irish music. So in other words, this piece is titled: “Kemp’s Dance”. So who is, Kemp?

That would be, Will Kemp. He was an actor who acted in William Shakespeare’s plays. Now the story behind the song is quite interesting and comical. Kemp was bet that he could not dance for 100 miles straight.

Well, he took on that bet and successfully danced from London to Norwich in 9 days. Therefore, this song was written to commemorate his success. What’s interesting to me is that we know the backstory on this piece, yet we do not know the composer. Usually it is the other way around…

From a fingerstyle standpoint, this is an excellent piece for developing Picado technique. This technique involves us using the index and middle fingers in an alternating picking fashion. If you are new to this technique, check out this lesson which breaks down the mechanics behind it (premium & basic members: check out this lesson).

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

Part 2 – For Premium Members


Tab Play Along