Tune of the Day: The Irish Washerwoman
“The Irish Washerwoman” is a very delightful little Irish jig that probably most people have heard, even if they don’t recognize it by name. 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.
The song has many different titles and many melodic variants, including “Corporal Casey”, “Dargason”, “Sedany” and “Country Courtship”. A pretty famous orchestral version was composed by Leroy Anderson and played by the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler.
Although this jig has lyrics, it is typically rendered as an instrumental piece. The refrain is typically repeated several times, sometimes by gradually increasing the tempo until being played very fast before coming to a sudden stop.