New May Moon

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NEW MAY MOON. AKA and see "Old Figary O'," "Young May Moon (The)." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). England; Lincolnshire, Yorkshire. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Once a very popular tune in both England and Ireland. It appears in several English musicians' manuscripts from the first half of the 19th century, particularly from the North West. Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) employed the melody for his song "The Young May Moon," and the jig is known in County Leitrim as "The Old Figaree/Figary." The melody appears in the old music manuscript of Yorkshire musician George Spencer as "The Young May Moon."

An old superstition in Sussex holds that the new May moon, aided by certain charms, has the power of curing scrofulous complaints (Charlotte Latham, "Some West Sussex Superstitions Lingering in 1868," The Folk-Lore Record for 1878, p. 45).

Sources for notated versions: an MS collection by fiddler Lawrence Leadley, 1827-1897 (Helperby, Yorkshire) [Merryweather & Seattle]; the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner].

Printed sources: Colclough (Tutor for the Irish Union Pipes), c. 1830; p. 13. Merryweather & Seattle (The Fiddler of Helperby), 1994; No. 79, p. 47. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 43 (set for three instruments).

Recorded sources: Front Hall FHR-020, Alistair Anderson - "Dookin' for Apples" (1979).




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