hop jigs

hop jigs

What is the difference between a slip jig & a hop jig? When played back to back, I can hear they are different, but could someone explain the subtleties?


Re: hop jigs

Sip jigs are in 9/8 time signature (eg Foxhunt, Drops of Brandy, Kid on the Mountain, etc) while hop jigs are in 12/8 such as Off she Goes (always played at dance competitions), Smash the Windows, etc.

Re: hop jigs

so… (i’ve not heard of a hop jig) what’s the difference between a single jig and a hop jig?

Posted by .

Re: hop jigs

I think they are all the same, they all start off as hop jigs and then due to the guinness they get slippier ?

does anybody actually know ?

and whilst your at it what is a fling ?

12/8 = single jig !!

Re: hop jigs

It’s a question of feel and tempo, and the dances are probably different. Both are usually transcribed in 9/8.

My understanding from listening to others play them is that a hop jig is quite lively in tempo, and its rhythms tend to be much more syncopated than a slip jig. Examples: As Pat Came Over The Hill, The Dusty Miller, Cucanandy, Barrack Hill.

Slip jigs are usually have the familiar diddledy-diddledy-diddledy feel and are usually played more slowly. Examples: The Swaggering Jig, Na Ceannabhain Bhaina, O’Farrell’s Welcome to Limerick, The Kid on The Mountain, Moll Roe.

to confuse matters, many of these jigs may be played either way. The Rocky Road to Dublin works in both formats.

The Fling is a tune in common (4/4) meter usually played at a moderate pace, faster than a hornpipe but not as fast as most people play reels. Some flings get sped up and become reels, like The Sunny Banks.

Re: hop jigs

Hop jigs and slip jigs are related, both being in 9/8 time; sometimes writers use the terms interchangeably, and technically you can dance a slipjig to a hop jig. (But you can also dance a reel to a polka…try it sometime!) The difference is in the subdivision of the dotted quarter. In slipjigs, most bars contain 3 groups of three eighth notes, with the occasional quarter-eighth rhythm somewhere. For example, in Drops of Brandy, bars 4, 8, 12, and 16 each have one occurrence of the quarter-eighth rhythm:


Another example would be Dever the Dancer:


In a hop jig, on the other hand, the quarter-eighth rhythm predominates, with occasional use of the three-eighth-note subdivision, as in The Butterfly:


or, for another example, Comb Your Hair and Curl It:


As for the difference between slides, single jids, double jigs, and flings, I’ll direct you to another page that has an interesting discussion of the relationship between all of these. The author does not make a distinction between hop jigs and slipjigs, curiously enough; but discussion of the other tune types and their relationships is well worth reading. He doesn’t give sheet music examples, but he does give references to recordings (including references to difference recordings of the same tune played as a slide and as a single jig, for example.) And you can always plug in the tune name and do a search of the tune database here!

Basic page with rhythm descriptions: http://www.irishtune.info/rhythm/

Link to single jig titles and discography:


Link to slide titles and discography:


Re: hop jigs

Warning, (slightly) off topic;

Interestingly, I had the opportunity to hear the fiddler from the above website (irishtune.info). Great fiddler, festive band, I almost died listening. First go at set dancing. 30min worth of dancing; 1.5hrs recovery.

Website also mentions this site btw.

From a dancer’s perspective…

I’m not sure that we can come up with one single answer, because I think the terms under discussion were used interchangeably by too many people and it is now seemingly hopelessly confused from lack of one single authority able to hand down one definition for each thing.

From what I can figure out after a few years of all this confusion, there is a kind of tune called a slip jig, a kind called the hop jig, and a kind called the single jig. There is also a kind of dance called the slip jig, a dance called the hop jig and a dance called the single jig.

The trouble seems to be that what some people called the dance the single jig, some people called the dance the hop jig, and, as well or perhaps I mean "conversely", some people called the dance the hop jig, the slip jig.

To add to the trouble, the largest governing body of dance (which is the Munster, or southern style of dancing) does not compete in the hop jig, and so we have no record that I know of as to what the hop jig’s typical characteristics were (the single jig, for instance, has a "traditional" little motif somewhere in the dance, which is usually called something like "hop to the knee, step in front, step to the side, step in front"). Questions to TCRGs in that Coimisiun’s bailiwick have gotten different and therefore inconclusive answers. (Usually, the slip jig and the hop jig are given as the two that were basically the same, but enough explanations that the hop jig and single jig were the two related have come up to be troublesome.)

I know that this is all a fancy way of saying "I don’t know". However, what *would* be handy, Emily, is if you would send me an mp3 or other sound file of what you have as a hop jig! It might actually tell me what kind of dance was done to the thing…

Oh, and…

There’s also a dance called "the moneen jig" that’s been referred to, and I don’t know what that one looked like, either…

Re: hop jigs

Huh, so the Butterfly would actually be a hop jig….

Very interesting & serious discussion here, brilliant! I’m inclined to go with cthuillean, david a & ostrichfeathers, that the quarter-eigth rhythm is the key. Harry Bradley gave us what he called a hop jig, The Promenade which was played by Michael Coleman:


I’ll have to dig out the ABCs for the flute-friendly setting, watch this space, or rather the space in the tunes section. But in putting together a set, was wondering how a genuine slip jig with all those groups of 3 eighth notes would work, & then following it with a hop. The way Harry played them, they are very different, & not unlike the changeup you might get from a jig to a reel. So it could be a cool transition, or, er, not. You could definitely get away with picking up the tempo a bit. Yeah, I’ll dig out my ABCs & mini-discs, Zina, doubt I’ll finagle an mp3 for ye, I’ve no idea how to do it.

btw Bannerman, interesting you would play Smash the Windows as a hop, as Zina says, that must be the name of the dance, b/c I’d always played it as a single jig, as I learned it in 12/8 time, but here, it’s just a regular jig.


Re: hop jigs

Isn’t there a set already like that out there called the Old Banana Peel? :)

Re: hop jigs

Re: Bannerman’s post—I thought Off She Goes was a slide? Is there some similarity between slides and hop-jigs, then?

Posted by .

Re: hop jigs

There’s always confusion here as the time signature for slides and hop jigs (also referred to single jigs) is the same (12/8) - it’s the way they’re played. Any dancing feis I’ve ever been to, I’ve had to endure endless renditions of Off She Goes as the younger dancers perform their hop jigs. The hop jig is played bouncy style being predominantly crotchet quaver, crotchet quaver while the slide will be mainly in 3 quaver groups with greater emphasis on the first note in each bar (maybe I’m not explaining it very well but it’s very obvious when you hear it).

Re: hop jigs

Oh, I see what you mean, Bannerman. Especially if I hum it to myself in the two different ways you mentioned.

Posted by .

Re: hop jigs

For what it’s worth, given the *way* the dances are danced, I personally plump for the Single Jig (the dance) being more or less the same as the Hop Jig (the dance), simply because the Single Jig is a much more hoppy kind of dance than the Slip Jig. On the other hand, since when has this stuff been required to make *sense*?

I believe Helen Brennan writes that the Single Jig is likely descended from the Moneen Jig, too…but I’d have to go check that reference.

Re: hop jigs

Here’s what irelanddance.com have to say about it:


Jigs are in 6/8 time. The speed for competition varies depending on the type of jig, and the level. The Light Jig is danced in Light or Reel shoes and is one of the first dances to be learnt. The steps used vary only a little from school to school, and use traditional steps, including the rise and grid (jump down, hop up, hop back 2, 3, 4).

The Single or Hop Jig, as the name suggests, features many hops. Sevens, threes and various skips are also incorporated. The Single Jig tends to have a more "mechanical" style. A typical hop jig tune is Pop Goes the Weasel.

The Heavy Jig is slower, at a speed of around 72 bpm for open level dancers. It is one of the dances used in the Heavy round of a championship, and lasts for three steps, or 48 bars of music. The dance is performed in Heavy shoes, with the focus on rhythm and sound, so the steps include trebles, stamps and kicks, mixed with skips for movement.
On the other hand,this is from Jeff Lindqvist’s site:

Slip (or Hop) Jigs - Poirt Luasctha
A strange type, in 9/8, said to originate from Scotland. Hop jigs are more like slides in structure.

and from www;cluich.net

Light Jig & Single Jig

Light Jigs and Single Jigs (Hop Jigs) are danced in light shoes. The Light Jig is fairly similar for everyone, featuring the rising step (jump down, hop up, hop back 234). Single Jigs are more varied, and, as the alternative name suggests, feature many hops, as well as sevens and threes.

I’ve been trawling the web,and the Irish dancing schools all say that a Hop Jig is in 6/8,but some people seem to be confusing a Hop Jig with a Slip Jig.

Re: hop jigs

Hey Emily…..I can’t give much useful information on this topic but I remember talking about "slop jigs" at Gaelic Roots….

When we played those KC slip jigs together at Mary’s B&B, you sounded lovely……I was playing those jigs as "slop jigs"…..So I will practice them for the next time, as they are great tunes….


Posted by .

Re: hop jigs

This must be one of the most confused posts on this site yet. It seems to consist largely of people contrasdicting each other. Until now, I had always believed that ‘hop jig’ and ‘slip jig’ were synonymous. Quotiing Breandan Breathnach’s book, ‘Folk Music and Dances of Ireland’:

"The jig ….. is found in three forms: the single jig (in 6/8 time and occasionally 12/8 time); the double jig (in 6/8 time); and the hop or slip jig (in 9/8 time)."

Whilst we can hardly doubt Breathnach’s authority on the subject, having read through this thread, there do seem to be other opinions - no doubt from sources of equal authority. Is it possible that the term ‘hop jig’ has been used for different purposes in different regions of Ireland, or at different times?

I have noticed that there seem to be two types of 9/8 jig, as asserted above by ostrichfeathers: those in which the three-quaver group predominates (analogous to the double jig) and those in which the crotchet-quaver group predominates (analogous to the single jig). If, indeed, there is any distinction between the hop jig and slip jig, then this seems to me to be the most likely.

But what do I know? I’m just a musician

There is certainly a good deal of confusion about tune types. I was once at a concert by a very well respected group of traditional musicians, where one of the performers introduced a tune he was about to play as, "a slip jig, also called a slide". The tune, as I remember it, was in 9/8 time.

Re: hop jigs

Here is my final analysis, what I shall bide by until disproven.

Slip jigs, 9/8 with lots of trios of eighth notes.

Hops jigs, 9/8 with predominantly quarter-eight rhythm.

If a dancer asks me to play a hop, I’ll give ‘em a single jig in 12/8.

The rest, I care not, until later date. Joyce, LMAO @ slop jigs, I had forgotten that…..

Re: hop jigs

Except that you’ll normally never get a request for a hop jig from a Munster style dancer…my advice is, if you get a dancer asking for a "hop jig", then make them hum the tune so you can figure out what kind of tune they want for it…

Re: hop jigs

Zina, if a Munster-style dancer ever asks me for a hop jig, I’ll be sure to submit it to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, for more than a few reasons. Remember how irritated I got with that pudgy teenage step dancer in Phoenix (OK that precocious adolescent cow?)…. nah, I’ll just stick with the 5/8 Bulgarian jigs & let them fend for themselves. *grin*

Re: hop jigs

Yes, but just imagine how much unkind fun you can get out of a dancer’s attempt to sing a tune for you…? *smirk*

Re: hop jigs

OK that’s fair, but the idea of a dancer’s attempt to lilt/hum/sing a tune for me, also implies almost certain suffering on my end, & ultimate acrimony all around! Depends if I’d have to bear the brunt of it or there were other musicians present who could share in the fun… hmmm, I’ll think about it though… :)

Zina, thank god you are here to lend some sanity and/or shed some light wrt the dancer’s view of things, seriously, you never cease to enlighten us, Thanks, Dancing Advocate! Is it OK if I call you DA from now on? OK maybe only in threads relating to dancing…..

Re: hop jigs

So long as someone doesn’t mistake "DA" for District Attorney, in some places that can get you shot! LOL

Re: hop jigs

DA Zina Lee… nah, it’ll look great on your resume!!! Though it wouldn’t surprise me if you were a distict attorney somewhere back in your youth… :)

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Funny thing is that we have musos on this board who are former champions or who still dance, some of whom are way more qualified than I to talk about the dancing. I’m assuming they’re too modest to tell us who they are. (She said, meaningfully, looking in the direction of certain people, you-know-who-you-are…! *snort*)

Re: hop jigs

Dance Advocate For Thesession.org… DAFT!

As they say, I was just getting my coat……

Re: hop jigs

Have been reading various threads that all address this question in varying levels of detail. Going to copy/paste my post on another thread here because the people I’m quoting from yet *another* thread contributed the best info I have found…

I’d say they are distinct tune types even if notated in the same time signature. AND that there are some tunes that fall into a bit of a grey area or can go either way. There’s a good discussion in this thread here: https://thesession.org/discussions/8481?newcomment=798914#comment798914 Both the following posts are from that thread.

To quote Ptarmigan:
"They are both played in 9/8 timing (which, for one thing, leads me to wonder if she’s actually learning hop jigs; 3/4 is quite different from 9/8), but they are different. That’s probably why "hop" and "slip" are used interchangeably, because they have the same 9/8 timing.

The SLIP JIG can be described as having a "pineapple, pineapple, pineapple" rhythm, with three groups of eighth notes (three triplets per measure).
The HOP JIG, while it too has 9/8 timing, sounds like "humpty, humpty, humpty," a quarter note followed by an eighth note per triplet.

The hop jig is in a way what the single jig is to the light jig: same timing, but a different rhythm.
The single jig rhythm is different for the same reason: it too has a quarter note followed by an eighth, but of course is in 6/8 time. I hope this helps!" <http://www.diochra.com/blog.htm>;";

And Gord:
"It’s all about where you place the emphasis. In a slip jig (which will be MOSTLY groups of three quavers) the rhythm will be ‘pineapple, pineapple, PINEapple’, while in a hop jig it’s ‘HUMPty, humpty, humpty’, or even ‘HUMPty, humpty, pineapple’. In fact, the pineapples might appear more or less anywhere but they’ll be outnumbered by the humpties.

I’d also add that hop jigs tend to be played faster, which is fine if you’re talking humpties, but you do have to be careful with your pineapples."