Explanation of the Analysis
In this analysis, the harmony is seen as being reduceable to five theoretical triadic chords built
on C, A, G, F & E which generally move in relation to the 3/4 rhythm with strong down and up
beats on the 1st and 3rd beat of each bar. The triads are defined through intervals between
treble and bass per crotchet beat.
Compound intervals an octave or more (for example, notes 10 strings apart on a harp) are
described as simple intervals less than an octave, (eg., 3 strings apart) to show their harmonic
Due to passing notes, mostly in the treble, the question of which notes are harmonically more
important is occasionally subjective. Passing crotchet notes are defined by not being related to
the chord posited as belonging to the bass (most notably 2nds and their invertions, 7ths).
Concordant intervals are those in the posited as being related to the theoretical triads but
which are not in the octave.
The Fairy Queen has four sections. The first section has 15 bars of 3/4. The following three
sections have 15 bars of 3/4 with an additional upbeat. The last bar of the first three sections
has two dotted crotchets, which seem as if the first beat of a 16th bar has been pushed ahead
early into the 15th bar. If we even out the metre, the four sections have 16 bars each.
The first five bass notes at beginning of section three are normally in octaves with the melody in
other settings of this tune – this may show that the person setting out the bass line had two
keys simultaneously in his head at that point: G and C. The piece is written in C major but in
leithghléas would have been in G major. Could the transcriber have been a harper (perhaps
even Carolan's son), resetting the piece for keyboard in C major, away from an original harp
key of G major?
The 10th bass note in section 3 may also be a simple error – perhaps the person setting out
the music was losing concentration at this point.