The Sloe polka

Also known as The Slave.

There are 4 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Sloe has been added to 1 tune set.

The Sloe has been added to 74 tunebooks.

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Eight settings

X: 1
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|: d>A de | f>e dc | B>A B/c/d/B/ | ~AF ED |
d>A de | f>e dc | B>A Bc |1 d2d/A/B/c/ :|2 d2 dA/A/||
|: ~BA FA/A/ | ~BA Fd/d/ | dc/c/ cB/B/ | BA Ad/d/ |
dc/c/ ce/e/ | ed df/f/ | ~fe Bc |1 d2 dA/A/ :|2 d2 dA||
X: 2
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:d3Ad2e2 | f3ed2c2 | B2 A2 BcdB | A2F2E2D2 | d3Ad2e2 | f3ed2c2 | B2A2B2c2 |1 d4-dABc :|2 d6AA |
|:B2A2F2AA | B2A2F2dd | d2ccc2BB | B2A2A2dd | d2ccc2ee | e2d2d3e | f2e2B2c2 |1 d6AA :|2 d4-dABc ||
X: 3
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A ||: A d d e | f>e d c | B A B/c/d/B/ | A G G A | A d d e | f>e d c | B A B c | d3 :||
A ||: B A F A | B A F c/d/ | e d c B | B2 A d | d c c e | e d d f | f e d c | d3 :||
# Added by hetty .
X: 4
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
a ||: a f f d | d2 A A | d d e e | f/e/f/g/ f a | a f f d | d2 A d | g e d c | d3 :||
f ||: d2 A f | d2 A f | d f d f | d2 A a | a f f d | d2 A d | g e d c | d3 :||
# Added by hetty .
X: 5
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
af fd | d2 AA | dd ee | f/e/f/g/ fa |
af fd | d2 Ad | ge dc | d3 :|
d2 Af | d2 Af | df df | d2 Aa |
af fd | d2 Ad | ge dc | d3 :|
X: 6
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
a2 f2 f2 d2 | d4 A2 A2 | d2 d2 e2 e2 | fe fg f2 a2 |
a2 f2 f2 d2 | d4 A2 d2 | g2 e2 d2 c2 | d6 :|
d4 A2 f2 | d4 A2 f2 | d2 f2 d2 f2 | d4 A2 a2 |
a2 f2 f2 d2 | d4 A2 d2 | g2 e2 d2 c2 | d6 :|
X: 7
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
~ | AC BC | ~ | A/C/C/C/ B2 | ~
marching it ~ | AD CD BD CD | ~ & the reel ~ | ACCC BCCC | ~
X: 8
T: The Sloe
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|: dA de | f>e dc | BA B/c/d/B/ | ~AF EA |
dA de | f>e dc | BA Bc |1 d2dA :|2 d2 dA/A/||
|: ~BA FA/A/ | ~BA Fd/d/ | dc/c/ cB/B/ | BA Ad/d/ |
dc/c/ ce/e/ | ed df/f/ | ~fe Bc |1 d2 dA/A/ :|2 d2 dA||

Eighteen comments

The Sloe

I worked this out by ear so feel free to post any corrections in the abc!!!

Listened to this tune on the Burlesque album where it is the third tune on the track called "Sloe Gin" and have not got it out of my head since.

Oh i love this tune :) S&B forever

Not working

the link didn’t work for me. Are there any key words i can use to find it?

Posted by .

Classic English country dance..I’ve got a copy of this notated in 4/4, I’ll put it here for anyone who’s interested:

X:1
M:4/4
L:1/8
T:The Sloe
K:D
|:d3Ad2e2 | f3ed2c2 | B2 A2 BcdB | A2F2E2D2 | d3Ad2e2 | f3ed2c2 | B2A2B2c2 |1 d4-dABc :|2 d6AA |
|:B2A2F2AA | B2A2F2dd | d2ccc2BB | B2A2A2dd | d2ccc2ee | e2d2d3e | f2e2B2c2 |1 d6AA :|2 d4-dABc ||

fiach - try "Sloe Gin Set"

The Slave

In 1975 a friend of mine found a little notebook in the attic of his new house near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire in which was this tune, entitled as "The Slave", was notated. It is thought that this book pre-dates Cecil Sharpe who collected "The Sloe" from John Mason of Stow, Gloucestershire, in 1909. Sharps handwriting is said to have been sometimes difficult to read clearly and it is thought that "Sloe" could have looked like "Slave".
I have recently been told that there is recollection of a play performed at "The Cheltenham Theatre" in the 1820,s called "The Slave" in which a Morris Dance takes place performed, it is thought, to this tune.

Posted by .

“The Coleford Gig”

In 2004 a small book was published by Charlie Menteith and Paul Burgess entitled "The Coleford Gig" The tunes in my friends book are in this publication, as are many others, in the from of ‘A Collection of Gloucestershre Tunes’

Posted by .

Simpler

The original version is much simpler and as follows:

M: 4/4
L: 1/4
K: D
A ||: A d d e | f>e d c | B A B/c/d/B/ | A G G A | A d d e | f>e d c | B A B c | d3 :||
A ||: B A F A | B A F c/d/ | e d c B | B2 A d | d c c e | e d d f | f e d c | d3 :||

I play this with a tune of similar character called "The Bugle Horn" Like "the Sloe" it is not ITM but they are very good barn-dance tunes.

Posted by .

The Bugle Horn

T: The Bugle Horn
M: 4/4
L: 1/4
K: D
a ||: a f f d | d2 A A | d d e e | f/e/f/g/ f a | a f f d | d2 A d | g e d c | d3 :||
f ||: d2 A f | d2 A f | d f d f | d2 A a | a f f d | d2 A d | g e d c | d3 :||

I have the feeling this also came from my friends notebook.

Posted by .

“The Bugle Horn” ~ and what is your reason for not submitting it? :-/

T: The Bugle Horn
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: D
|: a |\
af fd | d2 AA | dd ee | f/e/f/g/ fa |
af fd | d2 Ad | ge dc | d3 :|
|: f |\
d2 Af | d2 Af | df df | d2 Aa |
af fd | d2 Ad | ge dc | d3 :|

The tune bullies can’t have it all their way, can they?

“The Bugle Horn” ~ and what is your reason for not submitting it?

I suppose ‘c’ that because it is not a good/interesting irish tune I hold back from submitting it in its own right. It’s such a simple melody anyway and easy to write out direct from the abc.
I note that you write them both in 2/4. Personally I prefer 4/4 because both tunes have a 4 beat feel about them (that’s how I count each bar anyway) & I play them both fairly steadily, more like marches.
I also tag these two tunes into a set with - "Captain McGuire" (also known as TomDoherty’s) and "Leather Away the Wattle-O" all of them in 4/4. The order being- "C McG", "LATWO", "The S" & finally "BH".

Posted by .

4/4 ~ or ~ 2/4 ~ ?!?

No hetty, I only gave the 2/4 take for comparison with the transcription given here for "The Sloe/Slave" by Dan Foster. I have come across both tunes in the past at one time or another, but can’t remember the situation, probably English dance of one species or t’other?! Yes, they did have more of a march feel to them, and in memory still, but 2/4 is probably how they would have likely been transcribed in the past, but, if you took them the way you say, 4 beats to the bar ~

T: The Bugle Horn
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: D
|: a2 |\
a2 f2 f2 d2 | d4 A2 A2 | d2 d2 e2 e2 | fe fg f2 a2 |
a2 f2 f2 d2 | d4 A2 d2 | g2 e2 d2 c2 | d6 :|
|: f2 |\
d4 A2 f2 | d4 A2 f2 | d2 f2 d2 f2 | d4 A2 a2 |
a2 f2 f2 d2 | d4 A2 d2 | g2 e2 d2 c2 | d6 :|

And you actually tapped it that way, foot wise as you played it, you’d quickly end up with RSI of the ankle. 2 ‘strong’ beats to the bar makes more sense, even in 4/4 time, as for reels. Taking a classic march tempo, and applying that to 4 steps to the bar, I can’t imagine they are that slow, and in my limited experience with them ~ they weren’t that slow. So, rethinking this as I would under your valued experience and suggestion, no, I can’t see them as being that way, but rather 2 steps to the bar, or back to a more typical notation for such, 2/4. That doesn’t mean as fast as modern Irish polka playing can be, which, personally, I find ‘silly’, but which a lot of modern polka-set dancers have grown used to, as a result of certain early recordings that took gave little attention to the actual traditions they were based on, if by name only… :-/

While I usually will argue for march and march-like tunes to be notated as 4/4, I really think these are better as 2/4, not necessarily polkas, but 2/4 in the march sense of things… A lot of this I would base on the stepping, the ‘dance’ in a tune, and how your feet or toes tap it when you play it. Another clue would be note groupings in the rhythmic structure of a melody, and bar 4’s | fe fg ~ works better as a single beat rather than two, or ~ | fefg ~ | f/e/f/g/ ~ in my feet’s understanding of these two… ;-)

Tempo ~ using this to determine a probably time signature

Back to the above U-Tube link to the playing of "The Sloe Gin" set by Spiers & Boden. Their take on this tune, "The Sloe / Slave", taking the transcription given here, is 120 bpm, a norm for dance tempos, one supported over a long history of dance and the heart beating…

If you were to convert this to 4/4 the bpm (beats per minute) would be 240. Taking this as a key, because 240 is daft for dance, if any transcription when taken as 4/4* turns out to exceed normal dance tempos, say around 200 and up, then, for sanity’s sake, the likelihood is that it is 2 beats to the measure/bar rather than 4, or in the case of these two tunes, 2/4…

*4/4 reels ~ aside from truly duple forms like the reel, which is transcribed as 4/4 but is really 2/2 (& as 2/4 reels would be too ‘black’, dense ~ | N/N/N/N/ N/N/N/N/ |…but…the two primary beats to the bar actually define the form better than true 4/4.)

When stepping quick triplets, or 123 to the bar, as for reels & polkas, the ‘2’ is not counted as a primary beat. The bars are duple, two beats to the bar…

correction to above title ~ a ‘probable’ time signature

Approximation of pulses in 2/4 & 4/4 ~ a loose approximation ;-)
A = primary
B = secondary
C
D

M: 2/4 ~ L: 1/8
~ | AC BC | ~ | A/C/C/C/ B2 | ~

M: 4/4 ~ L: 1/8
marching it ~ | AD CD BD CD | ~ & the reel ~ | ACCC BCCC | ~

The Sloe, X:8

Just slight rhythmic variation here, I prefer the straight quaver pairs, rather than bouncy every time