Monday, February 6, 2017

Reels and Hop Jigs and Chords, Oh My!

Some Tunes for a February Night...

A little musing about types of tunes below. And the tunes that inspired the musing. Grab them today. We'll be using them next Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Slow Session.

Hey, Tune-Buddies! I hope you had a great week since I last posted...
Was it my imagination, or did we play almost entirely jigs last month at Slow Session? I think if I hadn't introduced the Man of the House reel that night, we might have played entirely in 6/8 time! That's all over now. Time for some weirdo tunes: a hop jig and reel. I know, I can hear you all scream in horror! Read on for scintillating details...

A Hip to the Hop to the Hippity Hop Jig?

At the end of group last month, Susan B. introduced "Promenade", which she called a "Hop Jig." She said she learned it from Boston flute-player Shannon Heaton. I first learned it from the playing of Sligo fiddler Kevin Burke. Curious about the origins of the tune, I did some poking around, and here's what I found out about hop jigs in general, and Promenade in particular.

Hop Jigs, Generally

While has its faults, I often find it a perfectly acceptable starting point for learning tunes. And this time, I dug around and had a look at what everyone was saying about hop jigs and slip jigs. Some people said that hop jigs were basically slip jigs in 9/8, some said hop jigs should be played in 12/8 like a slide, others insisted they were "single jigs." The best description in the whole lot was a comment by "Gord" that was reposted by Virginia flute player Matthew Olwell:
"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."

The Tune: "Promenade" 

The tune "Promenade" was actually named by Kevin Burke. Prior to his rediscovery of the tune on an old Folkways record played by Clare piper Willie Clancy and Sligo fiddler Michael Gorman (recorded in London), the tune was known as "Coleman's" or "Coleman's Slip Jig."  Blarneystar (Don Meade, I believe) posted this on

This tune was made popular as the title track of a Kevin Burke/Micheal O Domhnaill Green Linnet LP. Kevin picked up the tune from a ten-inch Folkways disc recorded in London in the 1950s by the piper Willie Clancy and fiddler Michael Gorman. The liner notes described it as the music for the "promenade" or first figure of a set dance once common in south Sligo, and even provided a description and diagram of the dance. There was no real title on the disc, but Kevin called it "Promenade" for this reason. It has been published as "Coleman’s," but was never recorded by Michael Coleman, only by Gorman.

So much back and forth. All I know is it's a great tune. Click the links below to dig in a little deeper:
Here's Kevin and Micheal playing the tune in Emin I think.
Here's a fiddle lesson of Promenade by Kevin Burke
Listen to Susan's beautiful flute version 
Here's an mp3 version of Promenade (amin) with the chords (NOTE: the chords may not match what's on the PDF)
Here's the Promenade sheet music w/chords (PDF)

Like I said before, the gang has a definite preference for jigs. Here's the thing: reels are groovy. They're cool. They're sexy. They're a little bit rock 'n roll. Here's a quick tip: if you can say "rutabaga" to the's a reel. Try it!

February's Reel of the MonthMan of the House sheet music w/chords (PDF)
Man of the House mp3 with chords (NOTE: the chords should fairly closely match what's on the PDF)

Happy Monday , Gang!


No comments :

Post a Comment