Slides, polkas and marches?

Slides, polkas and marches?

Are slides and polkas related? I’m working through the book Ireland’s Best Fiddle tunes vol. 1 and I noticed that slides and polkas are in the same section, is there a reason for that? It confused me because one is 2/4 and one is 12/8.
And then there are marches, which are also 2/4, where do they come in?

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

My impression was that, as there are fewer of them (possibly because they come into the picture way later) they simply don’t warrant their own individual sections. They’re all kind of “et cetera.”

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Slides and polkas tend to come from the same region. Slides are very popular and almost exclusive to County Kerry.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Slides and Polkas are essentially the basis of the music of Sliabh Luachra (Co. Kerry as stated above). This style is exemplified in the playing of Julia Clifford above, but also Denis Murphy, Johnny O’Leary and Paddy Cronin.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

You could argue that an even more important musical figure in Sliabh Luachra than Murphy and Clifford was Pádraig O’Keeffe, not least because he taught both of them to play fiddle and gave them lots of tunes.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

The way I’ve had it explained to me once is that "slides are to jigs as polkas are to reels" - which is only really helpful once you already understand what they are.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

About the OP’s wondering if various tune types are related because they appear in the same section, be aware that it’s common for Irish tune books to have separate sections for jigs, reels, and hornpipes, but have various other tune-types gathered in what amounts to a miscellaneous section.

Just how these groupings are done can vary even within the same series.

For example the various editions of Ceol Rince na hEireann:

Cuid 1
-poirt dubalta
-poirt singil, poirt luascaigh, agus eile
-rileanna
-cornphiopai

Cuid 3
-poirt dubalta
-poirt shingile agus sleamhnain
-poirt luasctha agus eile
-polcai
-rileanna
-cornphiopai

(agus eile is "and others")

To look at a different collection, O Neill’s Dance Music Of Ireland has
-double jigs
-single jigs
-hop or slip jigs
-reels
-hornpipes
-long dances etc
-miscellaneous

whereas O Neill’s Music Of Ireland’s last section is "marches and miscellaneous".

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Go to
YouTube. Enter Kerry Slide Dance. Clare Bannerman has a lively set. watch. then type in Kerry Polka Dance. there are several good Sets. If you pursue polkas for Clare and Donegal you might see minor differences in tempo. Dunno if anyone else dances slides.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

I found a site with a sample recording for each of the (110) ‘Ireland’s Best Fiddle Tunes’. The slides & polkas are on disc 1 tracks 33-43. [minor correction; 35 is "Terry Teahan’s" (polka) & 39 is "Teahan’s Favourite" (polka).
https://www.allmusic.com/album/irelands-best-fiddle-tunes-mw0002238945
https://www.allmusic.com/album/irelands-best-fiddle-tunes-mw0002238945/credits

-33 The Wedding Polka
-34 Terry Yeahen’s
-35 The Castleisland Polka
-36 Jackie Daly’s
-37 Johnny Leary’s
-38 The Sliabh Luachra
-39 Teahen’s Favourite
-40 Begley’s Favourite
-41 The Brosna Slide
-42 Baile an tSamhraidh
-43 Dhinní Uí Mheiscill

Posted by .

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Going back to my original comment, when you watch the dancers doing a slide set, and then in another video, the dancers doing a polka set, the reason for a difference in tempo becomes apparent. You will also be able to see, as well as hear, a difference in pulse.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

I know that I’ve heard polkas & slides played together many times (such as here
https://youtu.be/KiVSvvYfMU8) but I am still not quite sure why it is so or how to make the transition so that it sounds good.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Many slide tunes also appear as polkas and vice versa.
And slides are actually 6/8, at least that’s how the dancers count them. Two beats to the bar, just like 2/4. Just a bit bouncy.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

About different tune-types having the same tempo, in the Highland pipe March, Strathspey, and Reel the march and reel might have similar metronome markings.

And in the Medley the Jigs, Strathspeys, and Slow Air might might have similar metronome markings.

Of course each of these idioms has a unique feel.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Ok, I’m still kind of confused, but I gather that they’re no really related? That is, slides and polkas aren’t. Right?

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Ok, the Patrick Street set really helped me hear the difference. They do sound good together though! It’s almost as if a slide is a polka with triplets instead of single notes!

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Did you read the replies? Many tunes appear in many forms - slides and polkas included.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Yes I did :) My music theory is just rather poor.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

It makes sense that they’d be together because of regional tradition/origin, and also as others have said they are related by being part of the non-reel, non-jig, non-hornpipe "miscellany" :-)

But my feet have always told me that a slide is what happens when a polka and a jig get together and make a baby. Not going off the tune signature or crotchets or quavers or anything, but the way the tunes feel when they’re played by Kerry musicians. If the author felt at all similarly, maybe that’d be another good reason to group them together.

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

PS if you’re as interested in slides and polkas as I am, you might enjoy something like this: http://www.scoilcheoil.com/ceol-duibhneach/

I haven’t had much luck getting it from their website despite some pleasant correspondence with whomever runs their email, but maybe you’d have better luck than me (or find it worth visiting the music school in February!) … and just now I found it available from Ossian USA: https://ossianusa.com/products/01830-bk2cd

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

Thank you Lisa, as a dancer, that makes sense!
Also, the book/cds look incredibly interesting! I’ll have to see if I can get ahold of that!

Re: Slides, polkas and marches?

You’re welcome! I could be wrong here - and I’m sure someone will correct me if I am - but it also seems easy enough to say that the basic steps for dancing a polka, slide and “down” jig in a set (ie a group of eight) are all very similar body movement if not exactly the same. I know the steps for polka and a down jig are, but haven’t gotten to dance enough slide sets to be as certain of that one. But anyway if the movement is that closely related, then there’s no escaping the musical relationship too.