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Artist: ~ Title: Fiddle Tune A Day




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The Irish Washerwoman is one of the first jigs that many fiddlers learn, and I think the reason is because its melody is so catchy. It's the kind of tune that you hear once an you hum the rest of the day. Hopefully this ear worm won't invade your head for too long.

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The Irish Washerwoman according to Wikipedia

The Irish Washerwoman is a traditional Irish jig whose melody is familiar to many people in the British Isles and North America.[1] It repeats its refrain several times, sometimes by gradually increasing in tempo until being played very fast before coming to a sudden stop. The tune has lyrics, but is typically rendered as an instrumental. It is one of the melodies played when Scottish highland dancers dance a Scottish dance to the tune of an Irish Jig.

The song was arranged for the Boston Pops Orchestra by the American composer Leroy Anderson in 1947 and has featured in the repertoire of the Dutch violinist and composer André Rieu, conductor of the Johann Strauss Orchestra.

A filk song called The Chemist's Drinking Song is set to this tune with lyrics by John A. Carroll, based on an idea by Isaac Asimov.

The Irish Washerwoman according to the Fiddler's Companion
IRISH WASHERWOMAN, THE (An Bhean Niochain Eireannach). AKA and see "Corporal Casey [1]," "Country Courtship," "Dargason," "Irishwoman," "The Irish Wash?Woman," "Irish Waterman," "Jackson's Delight [1]," "Paddy McGinty's Goat," "The Wash Woman," "The Scheme," "The Snouts and Ears of America," "Star at Liwis," "Sedany." Irish, English, Scottish, American; Double Jig. USA; Very widely known. G Major ('B' part is in G Mixolydian in some Scottish versions). Standard tuning. AA'B (Breathnach): AABB (most versions): AA'BB' (Gow, Perlman): AABBCC (Ashman). Although the tune has popularly been known as an old, and perhaps quintessential Irish jig, it has been proposed by some writers to have been an English country dance tune that was published in the 17th century and probably known in the late 16th century. Samuel Bayard (1981), for example, concludes it probably was English in origin rather than Irish, being derived from the air called "Dargason," or "Sedany" as it is sometimes called. Fuld (1966) disagrees, believing "Dargason" (which he gives under the title "Scotch Bagpipe Melody") and "The Irish Washerwoman" developed independently. "Dargason" was first printed in Ravenscroft's Pammelia (1609) and appears in the Playford'sDancing Master editions from 1651 to 1690, but subsequently the "folk process" melded the strain to other parts, thus making other tunes (see "The Green Garters" for example) including the precursors to the Washerwoman tune. One of these precursors was the English tune "Country Courtship" which dates from at least 1715 and probably to 1688, in which latter mentioned year it was first entered at Stationers' Hall. "The Irish Washerwoman" appears to have developed from "The Country Courtship," which was extremely popular in the 19th century, as the tune under the "Washerwoman" title was to become a little later. The ending of the jig is the same as the endings of "In Bartholemew Fair" and "The Free Masons [1]." Breathnach (1976) finds the second part identical to that of "Star at Liwis or The Scheme" printed by Walsh in Caledonian Country Dances (c. 1730, pg. 59). The melody was found by the author of English Folk-Song and Dance (pg. 144) in the repertoire of fiddler William Tilbury (who lived at Pitch Place, midway between Churt and Thursley in Surrey), who used, in his younger days, to play at village dances. Tilbury learned his repertoire from an uncle, Fiddler Hammond, who died around 1870 and who was the village fiddler before him. The conclusion was that "Haste to the Wedding" and melodies of similar type survived in English tradition (at least in southwest Surrey) well into the second half of the 19th century.

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