Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

  1. #1
    Registered User Tim N's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    169

    Default What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Hello, as a bouzouki and mandolin player, I am familiar with the different kinds of Irish session tunes, and these include a relative small number of slides (12/8) that are represented in the local repetoire, eg Star Above the Garter, Dingle Regatta, Road to Lisdoonwarner, O'Keefe's. We tend to play them together, but it seems to me they sit well with the jigs too, since the 12/8 and 6/8 time signatures allow it. So my quetion is, "What essentially makes a slide a slide?" Another way to ask the question is, if I were writing a tune (I have written a few) what would inform me whether I was writing a slide or a jig? Surely its not simply a matter of which time signature I choose? Since it is all basically dance music, does it have to do with the nature and rhythm of the dance?
    Thanks for any clarification. I tried to look up old threads, but all I got was "slide mandolin" which is not really what I meant....
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  2. #2
    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Canterbury, Kent
    Posts
    824
    Blog Entries
    6

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    I've forgotten the details, but it has to do with the longer notes replacing some of the triplets that characterise jigs. There may also be a different dance associated with it!

  3. #3
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ardnadam, Argyll, Scotland
    Posts
    2,141

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    There are loads of info about slides in Irish music readily available on the net. Here is a link to a discussion on The Session website from 20 years ago:

    https://thesession.org/discussions/1025
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to John Kelly For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cornwall & London
    Posts
    2,879
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    I'm not even going to try to describe how they are played differently, It'll just be word soup.
    Alan Ng has done a good job of distilling the differences here: https://www.irishtune.info/rhythm/
    I would add that in London sessions I've been to both jigs and slides, along with many tunes get played way too fast for the steps in their dances to be properly executed. However the best way to really get a feel for the differences is to watch the dances & see what gravity will dictate in terms of shifts of weight & direction. That really gives you a feel for where to lean on a note or let it off early to allow space & lightness.
    Slides seem quite sprightly, but there's actually a lazy swing within the bars which means they are still light & unhurried for the dancers to execute.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Beanzy For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    1,780
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Playing a bouzouki, and probably mandolin too, involves accompaniment as well as the melody. So here is an excellent tutorial describing the difference between jigs and slides from a guitarist's point of view.

    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DougC For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
    Registered User James Rankine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Leeds UK
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Quarter note eighth note combinations interspersed with runs of eighth notes. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, describes this with humpty, and dumpty each being a quarter note eighth note combination and the sat on the wall representing a run of eighth notes. Where runs of eighth notes come in the tune is variable and doesnít change the overall rhythm. The best way to illustrate this is with this recording I did for the SAW group a while back. First time through I just play it with quarter eighth notes with a down up picking pattern to establish the rhythm. When the eighth note runs start to come in second time through I add these in as DUD followed by a down then return to the down up pattern. Some tunes have more runs of eighth notes as an integral part of the melody- the second part of Merrily Kissed the Quaker is a common example in sessions and I go into a jig DUD during that section which does take on a jig feel. It is of course possible to play any slide like a jig and I think in beginner sessions road to lisdoonvarna is more commonly played as a jig

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to James Rankine For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Registered User Tim N's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Thanks for the helpful response. I see this question has occupied a few minds, and that just talking technically about notation is not enough. It is very much to do with the feel of the tune, and I suspect that as a number of my session friends are relative beginners, we don't really notice the difference without the help of an experienced mentor. So the videos are both helpful, addressing melody playing and accompanying, and as a simple go-to reference I like the quote fron the "Session" discussion:
    If the penultimate Irish jig is something like the Irish Washerwoman (kidding, I’m kidding) then the penultimate Irish slide is Pop Goes the Weasel.

    I'll try to apply all this - and then maybe I'll manage to write something that really feels like a slide... :-)
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  12. #8
    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    manchester uk
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Rankine View Post
    Quarter note eighth note combinations interspersed with runs of eighth notes. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, describes this with humpty, and dumpty each being a quarter note eighth note combination and the sat on the wall representing a run of eighth notes. Where runs of eighth notes come in the tune is variable and doesn’t change the overall rhythm.
    Thanks James,
    A great example of a commonplace slide. Another common tune (around here at least), which to my ears has kind of a slide feel, is the theme tune to the Archers from radio 4. Maybe this is an unusual or amusing juxtaposition and isn't trad Irish, but might be a useful example of a slide type of tune.



    Here is a folkier version of it

    My take on a slide is that it is 12 8 timing with less triplets than a jig, not diddly diddly but 1 and 3 1 and 3 etc. Usually played faster, and definitely count 4 to a bar rather than 2.

    PS we may know some people in common James, I have ventured over the Pennines for a tune on occasion, not for while though. Always great to know of fairly local mando players
    Last edited by Paul Cowham; Jan-26-2023 at 7:39pm.

  13. #9
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    1,780
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim N View Post
    I'll try to apply all this - and then maybe I'll manage to write something that really feels like a slide... :-)
    Writing is a good way to learn. I'd suggest transcribing some traditional slides first however. That experience will show some subtle rhythmic and melodic 'twists' that are essential in understanding the 'concept' of a dance form called The Slide.

    The Archers theme song is a clear example of a composer that understands the rhythm but goes nuts with the non-traditional accompaniment and harmonies.

    Also the music was 'composed' well before standard musical notation was applied, hence the need to look at it's function in Traditional Irish culture as Matt Heaton suggests.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

  14. #10

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    A ' slide in Irish music is also known as a single jig '

    Dave H
    Eastman 615 mandola
    2011 Weber Bitteroot A5
    2012 Weber Bitteroot F5
    Eastman MD 915V
    Gibson F9
    2016 Capek ' Bob ' standard scale tenor banjo
    Ibanez Artist 5 string
    2001 Paul Shippey oval hole

  15. #11
    Registered User James Rankine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Leeds UK
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Cowham View Post
    Thanks James,


    PS we may know some people in common James, I have ventured over the Pennines for a tune on occasion, not for while though. Always great to know of fairly local mando players
    Iím sure we do Paul. Wednesday night at the Chemic is my stomping ground. Angela Usher graced us with her presence a few months ago.

  16. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Hiram, Maine
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: What characterises a slide in Irish music?

    For what it's worth, triplets aren't a tune part or phrase as such in ITM. Merely ornaments, just like rolls, cuts, and crans. Jigs don't have triplets. Triplets may be used to ornament parts of the tune but a double jig can be played just fine with nary a triplet.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •