Jig of Slurs

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X:1 T:Jig of Slurs L:1/8 M:6/8 K:D Add dcd|Bdd Add|Bdd Add|Bee edB| Add dcd|Bdd Add|Bdd cde|fdd dcB:| |:A2f fef|aff fed|Bee ede|~f3 edB| A2f fef|aff fed|Bdd cde|1 fdd dcB:|2 fdd d3|| K:G |:G2g gfg|agf gdB|G2g gfg|agf ~g3| G2g gfg|agf gdB|Bee efg|fed edB:| |:GBB Bdd|dee edB|GBB Bdd|dee e2d| GBB Bdd|dee edB|~e3 efg|fed edB:|

JIG OF SLURS. Scottish (originally), Irish; Jig. Ireland, County Donegal. D Major ('A' and 'B' parts) & G Major ('C' and 'D' parts). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. Composed by the great Highland bagpiper Pipe Major G. S. (George Stewart) MacLennan (1883-1927) of Aberdeen, who knew a good composition when it occurred to him. He wrote in 1910:

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.

The melody is played on the bagpipes with a series of roles, with the title "Jig o' Slurs" descriptive of its almost nonstop series of these rolls separating two melody notes. The tune has been a staple of Scottish music sessions, and many Irish as well, so much so that it occasionally has been called, by session wags, the "Jar of Slugs." It is often paired in sessions with "Atholl Highlanders (The)." The has also been used as a vehicle for American contra dancing. Words have been written the tune by Andy Hunter for a song called "Up and Awa' Wi' the Laverock" (the laverock is a skylark), referencing the holiday of an angler. The refrain, set to the fourth part of the tune, goes:

Up and awa' and awa' wi' the laverock
Up and awa' and awa' in the mornin'
Up and awa' and awa' wi' the laverock
Up and awa' tae the hills wi' me.

"Jig of Slurs" is occasionally played with a fifth strain, the first six bars of which are shared with Scottish accordion player Bobby MacLeod's 2/4 march "Seamus MacNeil." This is a modern migration (as MacLeod composed his tune in the middle of the 20th century), and not generally part of "Jig of Slurs" in Scottish piping tradition.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 1), 1991; p. 42. Songer (Portland Collection, vol. 2), 2005; p. 101.

Recorded sources: -Nimbus NI 5320, Ciaran Tourish et al - "Fiddle Sticks: Irish Traditional Music from Donegal" (1991). Plant Life Records PLR-017, "The Tannahill Weavers" (1979). Wild Asparagus 003, Wild Asparagus - "Tone Roads" (1990). Janet Russell & Christine Kydd - "Dancin' Chantin'" (song, "Up and Awa' Wi' the Laverock").

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear a 1956 recorded version by fiddler Morag MacIntyre (Paisley, Renfrewshire) at Tobar an Dualchais [2]

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