The Princess Royal strathspey

Also known as The Arethusa, Iníon Nic Diarmada, Miss MacDermott, Miss McDermot, Miss McDermott, Miss McDermott’s, Mrs Mac Dermot, Mrs Mac Dermott, Mrs MacDermot, Mrs MacDermott, Mrs McDermott, Mrs. MacDermot, Mrs. MacDermott, The Princess Royal.

There are 10 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Princess Royal has been added to 55 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Princess Royal
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|: BA G2 F2 E2 | BA G2 F2 E2 | B2 c2 B2 A2 | dc Bc BA G2 |
B2 AB AG FA | FE DD EF G2 | BA G2 FE GF | ED E2 E2 E2 :|
|: B2 e2 cd e2 | f2 g2 G2 G2 | g2 gf ed cB | AG FG FE D2 |
EF G2 FG A2 | GA B2 B2 e2 | c2 d2 G2 c2 | dc B2 G2 A2 |
BA AG FE DD | EF G2 BA G2 | FE GF ED E2 | E4 E4 :|
X: 2
T: The Princess Royal
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
A/G/|FE DA/G/|FE DA|BA Gc/B/|A/B/A/G/ FA|
G/A/G/F/ E/F/E/D/|CB, A,A/G/|FE/D/ F/E/D/^C/|D2 D||
A|d3/2^c de|fF Ff|f/e/d/c/ B/A/G/F/|E/F/G/E/ CD/E/|
FE/F/ GF/G/|AA d2|c2 Bc/B/|A2 GA/G/|
G/F/F/E/ D/F/E/D/|C/D/C/B,/ A,A/G/|FE/D/ F/E/D/^C/|D2 D|]

Thirteen comments

It’s no strapshey, It’s classed as "hors répertoire" I said in French

Miss MacDermot

It’s in E minor.

I’ve always known this tune as "Princess Royal". It’s attributed to O’Carolan, and there’s been words put to it, by composer William Shields and lyrics by Prince Hoare in the Opera "The Lock and Key (1796), under the title "the Arethusa" . Usually I heard it more as a slow air, but definitely not a strathspey…

I can only confirm what you say, it’s impossible to choose a good tempo for slow airs (I heard it from Filip Masure) … But it’s played sometimes lik a slow reel (?) see on " La harpe à travers les âges" by Armelle Gourlaouën

The Princess Royal / Miss McDermott

I’ve got four recordings of the tune, each at different rhythms and tempos but as far as the melody, they are all fairly similar by Irish tune standards. And, all of them are quite different from this version, particularly in the B part. I could still say it is the same tune but there is probably two different accepted versions. I really must learn this tune and if I remember, I’ll post the alternate version here.

For the record, my recording of the tune are:

*Angelina Carberry: An Tradisiún Beo
She plays it like a hornpipe with a kind of dotted rhythm. With the structure of the tune as it is, I suppose it could be almost called a set dance although this tune was not used for dancing and some bars with crotchets will also go against that as well!
She calls it the Princess Royal.

*James Keane - With Friends Like These
He plays it a lot slower than Carberry and makes it sound more like an old air, which it presumably was originally. He calls it Miss McDermott’s

*Paddy and Bridget and their Friends
They play this tune at a close pace to Carberry but not in a dotted rhythm. It seems to flow more like a slow reel but again, with an influence from crotchets, I wouldn’t quite classify this version as a slow reel.

*The Music of O’Carolan
This rhythm has an emphasis on certain notes but they don’t seem to be in any form. The player (who plays it on acoustic guitar) seems to put himself into the tune and put in the emphasis on the notes which he himself think sounds good. Therefore, I suppose it sounds close enough to an old air but there is still some definite rhythm running through it.

I’d like to say this version is preaferable for whistle (I play it with my low whistle in low D) and it’s wonderful!!!!! see on http://p.peyremorte.free.fr . Click on partitions, choose hors répertoire (after downloading a plugin!!!) Then choose "O carolan?" There is the place where I found it.

Shift the barlines?

Is it me, or should the barlines here be shifted one crotchet to the right? It then becomes very like a Morris type tune that’s fairly commonly played in Yorkshire (but can’t recall its name)

Another version

I know it slightly differentand in another key:

X:2
T:Miss MacDermott
R:Polka
M:C|
L:1/8
K:Dmin
A/G/|FE DA/G/|FE DA|BA Gc/B/|A/B/A/G/ FA|
G/A/G/F/ E/F/E/D/|CB, A,A/G/|FE/D/ F/E/D/^C/|D2 D||
A|d3/2^c de|fF Ff|f/e/d/c/ B/A/G/F/|E/F/G/E/ CD/E/|
FE/F/ GF/G/|AA d2|c2 Bc/B/|A2 GA/G/|
G/F/F/E/ D/F/E/D/|C/D/C/B,/ A,A/G/|FE/D/ F/E/D/^C/|D2 D|]

PS: you are right about the bars domhnall.