"Kemp's Jigg" is a popular dance tune from the 16th century. The composer is unknown, but this piece is said to have been composed in honor of Will Kemp, a famous Elizabethan actor who wagered he could dance 80 miles from London to Norwich in nine days (he supposedly won the bet). During this period, the musical form of jig meant a vigorous, up and down dance. The term jigg was also used to define a popular form of entertainment: a short burlesque comedy combining music, drama and dance, performed by two to five characters who sang their lines to popular tunes, interspersed with lively dancing. Professional comedians such as Kemp participated in these jigg performances, and "Kemp's Jigg" is one of the well-known jigg tunes from this period.
Fig. 1.9 Will Kemp dancing a jig from Norwich to London
TECHNIQUE TIPS: This piece has a strong, two beat pulse in each measure. Use a rollicking dance tempo throughout the piece. Dotted quarters, slurs, and short crisp bows with slight separations between the notes are just a few of the effects you could use to help maintain the momentum of this high-spirited dance.