If you saw the program of The Celtic Women, you heard this tune played by a cute blond fiddler who danced in a graceful way as she played. It’s a popular session tune, and usually played a bit faster than the graceful dancing way.
This is one of my own tunes. Using Little Beggar Man as a model for the structure of the tune gave me a chance to slip into the key of F in the B part. I had in mind an Irish reel kind of tune.
(On August 9 I updated the chart. After meeting with members of BAFA and playing through it, I wasn’t satisfied with the version I had posted. This is more difficult, but closer to the way I play the tune.) (I really do know how to spell ‘beggar’.)
One of the principles of music notation publishing is economy. Publish as much music as possible in the smallest amount of space. This principle was driven by physical constraints of material and human labor. It led to the use of repeat signs, target signs of several types, measure repeat signs, and more.
When I was putting together my book 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, I used these concepts to draw maps of tabs that were sometimes hard to follow. It gives me great satisfaction to straighten out some of these twisty pathways on this blog.
One such is the fiddle tab chart I made for Swallowtail Jig. There is one area in the B part that has stumped students repeatedly, (forgive the pun). In the chart below it is rewritten more intuitively.
About a decade back, I was playing regularly at retirement homes. The only jig ever requested was Irish Washer Woman.
I had noticed that many collections of American fiddle tunes included Haste to the Wedding. That being the only jig in a collection of hoedowns, you would think it a popular tune. No one ever asked for it.
One of my string colleagues reminded me why Irish Washer Woman is popular, especially with people just a little older than me. It was thematic in a John Wayne movie,The Quiet Man.
Playing Irish Washer Woman as often as I do, I got in the habit of abbreviating it I.W.W. This amused me also because the same letters stand for the now defunct workers’ union, International Workers of the World. People used to ridicule the organization saying the letters stood for “I Won’t Work,” or “I Want Whiskey.”
My last comment: I really play the tune in F when I do it with a medley that starts with Scatter the Mud, goes to Kilfenora Jig, then to I.W.W. But the rest of the world plays it in G. That’s what we have here.