Try it and you’ll see. The most frenetic of jigs, when subdued, turn mellow and melancholy. Exhibit A: this Meg Christian song, which includes the traditional dance music of Kemp’s Jig, ordinarily performed with a carefree lilt but here turned thoughtful and soulful.
This got me musing on my own demise -- which I will consider untimely though I be older than Methuselah at the time. I hope someone will sing Bob Dylan’s masterpiece, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” for me. It makes a perfect swan song:
Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Yet so often the song’s performed like a march -- even, on occasion, by Bob himself:
But like Kemp’s Jig, slow it down and you have this aching, mournful and nevertheless sweet version by Melanie (remember Melanie?):
Mr. Dylan may well have written the most Irish song of them all.