At 09:17 AM 3/6/2002 +0000, Nigel Gatherer wrote:
>Frank Dalton wrote:
> > Lots of folks in these parts play 'The Jig Of Slurs', which I
> > understand...belongs rather to Scottish music, having been composed
> > by G.S. McLennan. Can anyone elaborate on this?
>George S McLennan lived from 1883 to 1927, and his compositions are
>revered within the (Scots) piping fraternity. A fair number have
>escaped into common use (one example being "The Jig of Slurs"). Other
>well known tunes include "The Little Cascade", "Dancing Feet" and "Mrs
>A. MacPherson of Inveran".
>Of the tune in question, McLennan himself said: "My Jig o' Slurs I'm
>extremely proud of, not of course as a tune with a fine melody but for
>its grand execution. I do not know of a tune which is nearly as
>difficult or requires such a nimble finger to play. The person who can
>play it through two or three times without missing a slur has no cause
>to be ashamed of his fingers." - G S McLennan, 1910
>I'm not familiar with the drunken session story, which may be, like
>John Kerr's tale of the 56-verse song, wishful thinking. (It's too much
>to hope that Bill Black is putting the finishing touches to his version
>of the "Slurs" song!)
The slur being mentioned is simply what he called a very simple roll.
Sometimes they are called "strikes" in GHB terminology, because they never
really have come up with a solid name for them even yet. In the same
manner, double-cut rolls are often called, "those hornpipe shake thingies."
The "Jig o' Slurs" is thus called because it is an almost nonstop series of
these rolls separating two melody notes. This is less apparent if present
at all in most of the Irish fiddle/whistle/pipe versions and totally
foreign to the banjo/box versions, because the scale is layed out in a way
where low A is in the lower octave split and the ability to separate
two two back/middle D's with a roll at great speed, constantly, is
somewhat difficult. The melody has thus been dumbed-down in the Irish versions.
Pipe Major's Handbook Zetland Pipes Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band