Moll in the Wad (2)

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X:1 T:Moll in the Wad [2] M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:James Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5 B:(Glasgow, 1797, No. 115, p. 44) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G f|ede ccB|A2B c2d|ede c2e|dBG G2f| ede ccB|A2B c2d|e>ge gfe|dBG G2:| |:f|{f}e>ce g2f|{f}e>ce g2f|{f}ece gfe|dBG G2f| ece g2f|ece gab|cBA gfe|dBG G2:|



MOLL IN THE WAD [2], THE ("Maire Annsa Sop" or "Maire San t-Sop"). AKA – "Gradely Lass (The)," "Moll o' the Wood." Irish, English, Scottish; Jig (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. A different melody than "Moll in the Wad (1) (The)," but one with some antiquity. The word wad at one time signified (a bundle of) straw, so that the title means "Moll in the straw," although 'wad' has also been taken to mean 'wood'. Moll-in-the-straw was also a euphemism for after-(child)birth, and as a term for a harlot. Barry Callagahn (2007) identified Moll i' the Wad, or Mother Goose, as a popular pantomime figure of the late 18th century. There are nursery rhymes and old songs called "Moll in the Wad." G.F. Northall's English Folk Rymes (1892) notes the rhymes were popular in Gloucestershire more than fifty years before, and says that 'wad' was pronounced wod locally, and "'In-the-wad' = 'in the straw', i.e. after accouchement." They go:

Moll-in-the-wad and I fell out,
What do you think it was about?
She had money and I had none,
And that was how the work begun.

Moll-in-the-wad and I fell out,
What do you think it was about?
I gave her a shilling , she swore it was bad,
It's an old soldier's button says Moll-in-the-wad.

Moll-in-the-wad and I fell out,
What do you think it was about?
I gave her a shilling, she wanted a crown,
So I took up my fist and I knock'd her down.

Moll-in-the-wad and I fell out,
What do you think it was about?
I gave her a shilling, she said it was bad,
You may go to the devil, said Moll-in-the-wad.

Washington Irving wrote a sketch of a going to the theatre in 1802 in New York, where he commented on the habits of the audience who were much more 'interactive' in the theatre than today:

What I heard of the music, I liked very well (though I was told by one of my neighbors that the same pieces have been played every night for these three years;) but it was often overpowered by the gentry in the gallery, who vociferated loudly for Moll in the wad, Tally ho the grinders, and several other airs more suited to their tastes.

There were several racehorses named Moll in the Wad, notabley a thoroughbred mare born in 1810, descended from the great Matchem (1748). Gow labels the tune "Irish," but it was played in Scotland and northern England as well. Breathnach (1996) says in Ireland it is "the tune that the old cow died on, an tiun do mhairbh an tseanbhó." This is probably the same saying that Samuel Bayard says is derived from the story of a cow so entranced by a farmer's song that she danced herself to death. The title became for a time a phrase characterizing any extremely bad piece of music (see note for "The Tune the Old Cow Died Of").

The melody was transformed by morris dance musicians in the village of Leafield ("Fieldtown"), Oxfordshire, into a common-time piece under the title "Old Molly Oxford" (a corruption or miss-hearing of the title "Moll in the Wad").

"Moll in the Wad (2)" appears in a number of publications and musicians' manuscripts of the late 18th and 19th centuries. It appears in the John Fife (Perthshire) music copybook of 1780–1804, Williams Andrews (Sheepstor, Devon, late 19th c.), John Clare (Helpston, Northants, 1820), Ellis Knowles (see below), William Mittell (New Romney, Kent, 1799) and, in America, in Ira Clark's (Simsbury, Conncecticut) music copybook c. 1801 and Josiah Adams (Framingham, Massachusetts) copybook of tunes with country dances of 1808–1818. Printed versions are in John Ives' Twenty-four Figures of the Most Fahsionable Country Dances...Cotillions (New Haven, CT, 1799), the Phinney's Select Collection of the Newest and Most Favorite Country Dances (Ostego, N.Y., 1808), J. Wilson's Pocket Preceptor for the Fife (London, 1805-1813), Salator's Treatise on Dancing (Boston, MA, 1807), Riley's Flute Melodies, vol. 2 (New York, 1817–1820), James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5 (Glasgow, 1797), the Cahusac's Compleat Tutor for the German Fife (London, c. 1798), and others. "Moll in the Wad" is described "a favorite Irish dance" by Joseph Dale (1750–1821), who arranged the tune as a rondo [1] for the piano forte or harp (n.d., but appears to be very late 18th century/early 19th century).


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - the music manuscript book of Ellis Knowles, a musician from Radcliffe, Lancashire, England, written c. 1845–1847 [Doyle/Plain Brown].


Printed sources : - James Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5), Glasgow, 1797; No. 115, p. 44. Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2005; p. 61. Doyle (Plain Brown Tune Book), 1997; p. 14. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 18. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 2), 1859; No. 109, p. 50. Hughes (Gems from the Emerald Isle), London, 1867, No. 24, p. 7. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 16: A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Later 18th Century), 1998; p. 5. Levey (Dance Music of Ireland, 1st Collection), 1858; No. 5. Abraham Mackintosh (Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Jigs &c.), c. 1797; p. 11 ([2]). O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 2), c. 1806; p. 128. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 737, p. 137. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 374, p. 76. Petrie (Third Collection of Strathspey Reels &c.), 1802; p. 22. Wilson (A Companion to the Ballroom), 1816.

Recorded sources : - Edison 50870 (78 RPM), Joseph Samuels, 1919 (appears as 3rd tune in "St. Patrick's Day Medley").

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]
Hear Laurel Swift's fiddle version on youtube.com [4]



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