Denis Murphy’s Slide

Denis Murphy's Slide
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There is an awful lot of confusion, debate and uncertainty about what, musically, is a slide, and how it differs from other tune types.

A slide is a member of the jig family. They originated in the mountainous Sliabh Luachra region of East Kerry/North Cork. Slides are usually notated in 12/8 time, although writing them in 6/8 wouldn’t make a heap of difference. Slides are usually played faster than double jigs (usually called simply ‘jigs’) and each part typically ends with two dotted crotchets. Slides tend to have several crotchet-quaver beats, distinguishing them from the quaver-quaver-quaver beats of jigs. They are closer to, yet still distinct from, the less common single jig.

This tune was a favourite of Kerry fiddler Denis Murphy (1910-1974), and may have been composed by him. (In Irish music, simply having a musician’s name in the title of a tune does not necessarily imply that person composed it.) The Traditional Tune Archive suggests the first part of this tune ‘is nearly identical’ with the second part of The Marquis of Huntley’s Highland Fling, a Scottish strathspey. Well, it’s not! The two tunes share three notes (one beat): hardly ‘nearly identical’!


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