Why is a slide song called a slide?

Why is a slide song called a slide?

I really need help figuring out why one of the songs it called a slide on the sessions. For instance, an Irish song called McPherson’s jig could be labeled a slide. Why is that?

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

I’m talkin about Kevin McHugh’s. It’s labeled a slide. Why is that?

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

I guess because it’s a slide… In comparison to what? Looking at that tune, it definitely has the feel of a slide.

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A slide is a particular type of tune, 12/8, the phrases are longer, smoother to my ears. My favourite is the Star above the garter.

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I learned that a slide is to a jig what a polka is to a reel. Fast and fun.

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

Slides and double jigs have different ‘feel’. A beat of a double jig typically has three notes, while a slide’s beat often has two (their lengths 2:1). Also, slides are usually played faster, than double jigs.

The difference between a slide and a single jig still eludes me.

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Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

All the above advice is valid. I’m going to digress to say, please don’t call tunes "songs." Songs are sung. In traditional Irish music, instrumental dance melodies are called "tunes." It’s just a Thing, and mixing it up or ignoring it is kinda embarrassing. No biggie, no foul. Just don’t do it again 🙂 or the trad police are gonna get you!!!

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

A slide is a dance step and you’d choose an appropriate tune to play for it. Slides are only really common in some parts of the country, so you’d sometimes hear a tune played as a single jig in some places and as a slide in others. I’d say a slide is to a jig a bit like a hornpipe is to a reel, maybe (particularly in the way the long phrase ends).

Listen, learn & play…

Joe, call it a song or a tune I don’t care about words. Just play it so we all come together. This is how we do sessions. Listen, learn & play.

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Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

I remember a singer introducing a song as a ‘track’.

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We all come together in our session to play tunes. Occasionally someone sings a song, but most nights it’s just tunes.

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

A "slide" isn’t a "song". Words matter.

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Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

@Daisypeach: I suggesest going into the tune database and looking up s few slides, then look up some jigs and compare them. That might give you a bit of a feel for what a slide is.

Unfortunately, the distinction is not always that clear cut. As Loughcurra says above, slides are really a local phenomenon (Counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick)* and are essentially single jigs played with a particular type of rhythmic emphasis. Consequently, you will find some tunes that are structurally the same as slides but listed as jigs. Furthermore, the single/double jig† distinction is sometimes not all that clear - a single jig can easily be turned into a double jig by adding a note here or there and slowing the tempo a bit.

*Going on the title, I would expect McPherson’s Jig to be a Scottish tune (I may be wrong), in which case calling it a ‘slide’ would strike me as meaningless. I don’t think any Scottish traditional musician would take kindly to an Irish trad player telling them that they are categorising their tunes incorrectly. The only case in which calling it a slide might be appropriate is if it were adopted into the idiom of the aforementioned locality and played as a slide. (Others will no doubt disagree on this point.)

†A ‘double jig’ is what we usually understand by the term ‘jig’.

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

@CMO

‘Comin’ through the rye’ is a Scottish reel. It’s played as a slide in Kerry sometimes.

https://thesession.org/tunes/15623

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Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

I’ve heard such archetypically Scottish jigs as ‘100 Pipers’ and ‘Cock o’ the North’ played as slides in Kerry

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@Mars: Actually, quite a few slides and polkas in the Sliabh Luachra repertoire are Scottish tunes, or adaptations of them, hence my caveat - they have become part of the core slide and polka repertoire. There are, I think, quite a lot of jigs in the Scottish repertoire, not generally known among Irish trad players, that have more the structure of a slide or single jig than that of a double jig - it is perfectly possible to interpret any of these tunes as slides if you so wish, but to insist on categorising them as inherently ‘slide’, not ‘jig’ makes no sense to me.

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@CMO agreed!

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Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

A West Kerry Set (Dingle and environs) is a quadrille comprising a number of figures each of which is danced to a different tune type: polka, jig, slide and hornpipe. (The reel doesn’t get much of a look in) The particular figure danced to a slide has a step where each couple slides into the centre and then slides back out. So, the tune type, slide, derives its name from the dance step.

https://youtu.be/pzfSymkIcyk

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I believe it was the Apple Corporation that dumbed language down to where all the different musical forms from nursery rhyme to symphony are just songs.

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Hey, Google Music also calls them "Songs"..

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@Muircheartaigh: The Ballyvourney Jig Set uses slides for every figure - not a single (or double) jig in sight.

I do not pretend to be knowledgeable about set dancing but I have become somewhat more knowledgeable about it in the last couple of weeks, having been asked to play for a set dancing class next weekend. Wish me luck…

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The best of luck, CreadurMawnOrganig, I’m confident you’ll have them leppin’ and hoppin’ like there’s no tomorrow! And, of course, while the slide and slide step are intimately linked, you can dance other steps to it as well.

I don’t pretend any great knowledge of set dancing - I usually look it up on the internet. Here’s a very useful site: https://setdanceteacher.ie/

But I do know the West Kerry Set. My father was from Ballinloughig - a village between Dingle and Brandon Mount. My mother, from Kilkenny, always considered the West Kerry Set superior to any of her home dances. She particularly liked the ‘hoppy’ - the last figure danced energetically to a fairly pacey hornpipe. This figure is often left out these days - which is a pity.

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

Looking back through the thread, CreadurMawnOrganig, I notice you said of the jig/slide distinction:
" The only case in which calling it a slide might be appropriate is if it were adopted into the idiom of the aforementioned locality and played as a slide."
The architypal example of this is the Scottish ‘Cock o’ the North’ (a double jig) played as the slide ‘Aunty Mary (had a canary up the leg of her drawers)’ aka ‘Chase me Charlie’.

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

Muircheartaigh: "The best of luck, CreadurMawnOrganig, I’m confident you’ll have them leppin’ and hoppin’ like there’s no tomorrow!"

Thanks - and thanks for the link. I’m taking heart from the fact that part of the reason for asking us (myself and a concertina player) to play is that the recordings they were using previously were too fast for the dancers to keep up with (it is a *class*, not a ceilí proper) so they want us to play at their chosen tempo. Playing reels above about 125bpm is, for me, like clinging to a cliff face with greasy fingers.

Re: Why is a slide song called a slide?

Interesting you mention the Ballyvourney Jig Set, CreadurMawnOrganig - I was about to bring it up. I remember learning a ‘slide step’ when dancing this set years back, literally sliding the foot across the ‘house’. Always wondered if this was where the ‘slide’ name came from.