Flitch of Bacon (The)

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X:1 T:Flitch of Bacon, The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:O'Neill - Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907), No. 249 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G DGG BAB|cAG FGA|DGG BAB|cAF G2G| DGG BAB|cAG FGA|fed f2d|cAF G2z:| |:def gag|fed g2B|def gag|fed cAF| def gag|fed g2d|fed f2d|cAF G2z:||

FLITCH OF BACON, THE (An taob muic-feoil). Irish, Double Jig (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Sean Maguire and Josephine Keegan printed the jig under the title "Callanaugh Lasses (The)." A 'flitch' is a side of unsliced bacon. The tune title has been extent for several centuries: there are unrelated English country dance tunes in both duple and triple time with the title "Flitch of Bacon" that date as far back as the 1770's. Paul de Grae suggests: "Carolan's "John O'Reilly the Active" [MI 645] may be considered the ancestor of both this jig and "Finerty's Frolic" [MI 1016, DMI 231]"[1]

There was an old English custom, recalled in plays, ballads and anecdotes, whereby a flitch of bacon was granted to married couples who swore a prescribed oath. The bacon was kept by the lord of the manor, and the usual requirement was that the couple had been married for a year and a day and had not repented of it. The custom was particularly associated with Sir Philip de Somerville, of Staffordshire[2].

Paul points out that one of English composer William Shield's comic operas was entitled The Flitch of Bacon (1779), and that the present jig may be associated with it.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - "Fielding" [O'Neill]. Chicago cleric Father James K. Fielding was originally from Mooncoin, County Kilkenny, born in the mid-1860's. He played the flute and was an enthusiastic supporter of Irish traditional music and customs in the city.

Printed sources : - O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 59. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1039, p. 194. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 249, p. 55.

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  1. Paul de Grae, "Notes on Sources of Tunes in the O'Neill Collections", 2017 [1].
  2. ibid.