Slip jigs (9/8) are one of my favourite tune types to play on the bodhrán, but many who are new to them can find it difficult to tell the difference between 9/8 and 6/8 jigs. The best solution for this is to listen to lots of great tracks to get more familiar with them.
However, many album tracks don’t specify if the tune is 9/8 (slip) or 6/8 jig. What makes deciphering the difference even trickier is the fact that many artists are known to play around with arrangements by adding extra beats, taking some out, or changing back and forth between time signatures.
So be warned, a track may say ‘xyz Slip Jig’, but it might not be played in 9/8 straight through, or even played in 9/8 time at all. As fun as it is for those of us who can easily hear time changes, it can make it quite confusing for someone trying to figure out whether it’s a slip jig or not.
In an attempt to help you broaden your understanding of slip jigs I have created a Resource List to guide you along some great tracks. It’s kind of like Slip Jig Listening School.
For each album I’ll recommend a track to practice along with and point out if and where the tune changes timing.
Those of you confident with your slip jigs – you’re going to eat these tracks right up, especially when a few of them cross over to 5/4 time.
Thanks to everyone who shared their favourite slip tracks with me on social media. Your contributions make up a good part of this list.
- Artist: The Bothy Band
- Album: After Hours
- Track: Kesh Jig / Give Us A Drink Of Water (aka The Swaggering Jig) / The Famous Ballymote
- Track: The Butterfly
The first tune, The Kesh Jig, is in 6/8 time. The 9/8 (slip) jig, Give Us A Drink Of Water, starts at the 1:50 minute mark of the track. At 2:56 minutes they then change into reel time for the last tune, The Famous Ballymote.
- Artist: Colm Murphy
- Album: An Bodhrán
- Track: The Blooming Meadows / The King Of The Pipers / Give Us A Drink Of Water (aka The Swaggering Jig)
- Artist: Nuallan
- Album: Piping From Cape Breton Island
- Track: First Figure (P/M Donald MacLean Of Lewis/ Donald James MacDonnell/Alice and Grace Twa/Swaggering Jig – aka Give Us A Drink Of Water)
- Artist: Martin Nolan
- Album: Bright Sliver Dark Wood
- Track: Goodman’s Slip Jig (Goodman’s Slip Jig/Open The Door For Three/The Turnpike Way)
- Artist: Colin Grant
- Album: Fun For The Whole Family
- Track: Beoga’s Surprise (Beoga’s Mischief/The Porcelain Surprise)
- Artist: Wolfstone
- Album: Year Of The Dog (and Celtic Connections)
- Track: Gingerhog’s No. 2 /The Double Rise/Crossing The Mince/Give Us A Drink Of Water
- Artist: Breabach
- Album: The Big Spree
- Track: Chloe’s Passion, The Snuff Wife, Merrily Danced The Quaker’s Wife
- Track: The Full Booner
Chloe’s Passion is a great 9/8 jig. The 6/8 jig, The Snuff Wife, starts at the 1:43 minute mark. The last tune, Merrily Danced The Quaker’s Wife, is actually at 12/8 (slide) jig and starts at 2:39 mins.
The Full Booner set starts out in 9/8 time, but pleasantly surprises by switching to 5/4 time (aka 10/8) at 1:57 mins.
- Artist: Bully’s Acre
- Album: The Twelve Pins
- Track: Leppadumdowledum (Port Lúascaigh)
- Artist: Chrissy Crowley
- Album: Last Night’s Fun
- Track: Freudian Slip Into Jigs (I Have A House With A Chimney Built On Top Of It/Faith Aaliyah/Skylark’s Ascension Jig)
The first tune, I Have A House With A Chimney On Top Of It, is a slip jig. Faith Aaliyah is in 6/8 and 9/8 time and starts at the 1:37 minute mark (after a 4 bar 6/8 bridge). Chrissy plays around with the timing of this second tune by only playing 15 beats of 6/8 time in Part 1 before repeating (instead of the typical 16 beats/8 bars of jig). Then she breaks into 9/8 time for Part 2, but changes the last bar to 6/8 time. She doesn’t repeat Part 2, but goes directly back to playing Part 1 twice more and then Part 2 once more. The third tune, Skylark’s Ascension Jig, starts at 2:26 mins and is in 6/8 time.
- Artist: Coig
- Album: Five
- Track: Bad Day At The Beach (Sunburn, Man-flu and The S#!+s/Craig’s Pipes/Ann Lacey’s/Mickey The Pipes)
- Track: D Jigs (Bathroom, Bar and the Parking Meter/Nora Crionna/ Muineira de Casu/Ellen O’Grady)
Bad Day At The Beach – The first tune, Sunburn, Man-flu and The S#!+s, starts at 0:16 mins and is in 9/8 time. They break into reel time at 1:54 mins and continue with reels until the end of the track.
D Jigs – The first three tunes are all 6/8 jigs, but the last tune, Ellen O’Grady, is a slip jig. It start at the 3:21 minute mark.
- Artist: Donal Lunny
- Album: Donal Lunny
- Track: Leppadumdowledum (Port Lúascaigh)
The entire track is in 9/8 time.
This is perhaps my favourite album of all time. I have the original cd, but I couldn’t find it on iTunes or anywhere online for you to purchase the track. The above link is a YouTube video of the recording. If anyone knows where this can be purchased please let me know so I can add the link here.
- Artist: Beoga
- Album: A Lovely Madness
- Track: Soggy’s / Waterboogie
- Artist: Mac Morin
- Album: Mac Morin
- Track: A Slip Into Something More Comfortable (The Kid On The Mountain/Mrs. James MacNeil)
- Artist: James Galloway and The Chieftains
- Album: James Galloway and The Chieftains In Ireland
- Track: The Red Admiral Butterfly
- Artist: Celtic Woman
- Album: Celtic Woman
- Track: The Butterfly
Starts in 9/8 time with The Butterfly, but breaks into reels at the 1:20 minute mark and continues in reel time until the end.
- Artist: Eliza Carthy
- Album: Eliza Carthy & The Kings Of Calicutt
- Track: Sheffield Park/Polly Bishop’s Slip Jig/Roger De Coverly
- Artist: Danu
- Album: Up In The Air
- Track: Slip Jig / Jig Gan Aimn
- Track: Slip Jig / The Humours Of Glendart
- Artist: The Barra MacNeils
- Album: Racket In The Attic
- Track: Rattlin’ Roarin Willie
- 0:00 mins – Starts out in 9/8 time.
- 1:46 mins – Switch to 6/8 time (When the vocals break into ‘. . . Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie you’re welcome home to me’ at 1:46 minute mark they switch to 6/8 time and stay there for the following instrumental bridge.)
- 1:58 mins – Switch to 9/8 time (When the singing starts up again at 1:58 mins they go back to 9/8 time.)
- 2:06 mins – Switch to 6/8 time (When they get to ‘ . . . many a man today’ at 2:06 minutes they are back into 6/8 time and stay there until singing resumes.)
- 2:25 mins – Switch to 9/8 time (Back in to 9/8 time at 2:25 minutes for the next vocal part.
- 2:33 mins – Switch to 6/8 time (At 2:33 mins, on the words ‘. . . Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie you’re welcome home to me’, they break into 6/8 time for just a few seconds.
- 2:38 mins – Switch to 9/8 time (Once they hit the next instrumental section at 2:38 mins they’re back into 9/8 time. They stay there into the next vocal section)
- 3:08 mins – Switch to 6/8 time (At the vocal ‘ . . . Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie you’re welcome home to me’ at 3:08 mins the briefly switch to 6/8 time for just a few seconds)
- 3:12 mins – Switch to 9/8 time (They quickly switch back to 9/8 time as they repeat the chorus at 3:12 mins.)
- 3:21 mins – Switch to 6/8 time and stay there (The last time they sing ’ . . . Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie you’re welcome home to me’ they switch to 6/8 time and stay in that time signature for the remainder of the track.
The Barra MacNeils also did this tune on one of their earlier albums ‘Rock In The Stream’, but the timings above are taken from their Racket In The Attic version.
It would be impossible to include absolutely every slip jig track here, but please feel free to leave a comment below to share a slip jig track you like.
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