Hop Jig

Hop Jig

FOR the following dance-tune I have, unfortunately, no name. I found it as I give it, in a valuable manuscript collection of the dance-tunes popular in Ireland about a century back, and of which I made mention in a preceding notice. It is a pleasing specimen of the class of Irish jigs, in triple, or nine-eight time, known in Munster by the name of “hop jig,” and also “slip time; ” and, as I have already remarked, I consider such class of tunes as very peculiar to Ireland. I may further observe, that in such jigs we often find, instead of triplets, a succession of long and short, or crotchet and quaver, notes throughout the parts,—a peculiarity of structure which is also often found in the jigs in common, or six-eight, measure, which are known by the name of “single jigs.”

In reference to the kind of dance adapted to this description of jig, Mr. Joyce writes as follows :—

“The dance of the hop jig is the most pleasing, airy, and graceful of all the Munster dances that have come under my observation. It is generally danced by four persons—of whom two are females—but the number is not limited. As in the reel, only the alternate parts of the tune are danced; during the other parts the dancers move round the room. In the reel, however, this movement is little more than a mere walk, though performed in a systematic way; but in the hop jig the dancers skip lightly round, keeping perfect time with the music—which is played very quickly—and arrive in their respective places in time to commence the ‘step’ to the next part of the tune.

“The ‘steps’ of a hop jig are quite unlike those of any other dance,—they all consist of light and graceful skipping,—most exciting, and not at all so fatiguing as the steps of a reel or a double jig. In general the floor is struck, or rather, tipped lightly, three times during every bar of the tune; and from this description, the appropriateness of the names ‘hop jig,’ and ‘slip time,’ will be at once apparent. Occasionally, however, the heavier steps of the double jig dance are applied to this also; but from the greater quickness with which it is necessary to perform them, the exercise is excessively fatiguing.”

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