Annotation:Silken Wallet (The)

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X:1 T:The Silken Wallet M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:O'Neill's Music of Ireland. 1850 Melodies, 1903, p. 165, no. 891 Z:François-Emmanuel de Wasseige K:Em c|BGE EFE|AFD DED|BGE GAB|c3 B2A| BGE EFE|AFD DED|E2c BcA|G3 G2:| |:D|G>AG (G<B)d|(e<g)e dBG|G>AG GBd|e2f Tg3| [1 G>AG GBd|ege dBG|AGE EDE|c2B A2:| [2 agf gfe|fed edB|cBA BAG|E2F G2|]

SILKEN WALLET, THE (An tiac sioda). AKA and see "Brown Wallet," "An Sioda Ata id' Bhalluit, a Bhuachaill?" (Is It Silk that's in Your Bag My Boy?), "Cheer Up Old Hag," “Silk in the Bag,” "Wallet of Silk (The)." Irish, Double Jig (6/8 time). E Minor ('A' part) & G Major ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB'. The title is one English rendering of "An Sioda Ata id' Bhalluit, a Bhuachaill" (Is It Silk that's in Your Bag My Boy?), with the English title printed by R.M. Levey, the music of which O'Neill seems to have substantially copied (albeit with an altered version of the English title. O'Daly (Poets and Poetry of Munster, 1776) has a song setting with the Irish title.

Paul de Grae finds that Canon James Goodman (1828-1896) has a "broadly similar setting" in his mid-19th century music manuscript collection under the title "Síoda 'thá ad Bhalluit? (An)/Is Your Wallet Made of Silk?"[1], and also notes that George Petrie George_Petrie_ (1790–1866) collected five variants: "Cheer Up Old Hag," "Blow old woman and be merry," "Ga mba ora" and two settings of "Bídhean tú i bhfad a-muig." The second of the latter tune (Stanford/Petrie No. 1485, "from a manuscript book of 1770", also carries the alternate titles "Humors of Kilkenny (3)" and "Your bag is handsome my boy." With parts reversed, "The Silken Wallet" is cognate with "Humors of Kilkenny (1)" (also printed by Francis O'Neill) and its variants "Lather awa' wi' the Oak Stick" and "Trip to Marfleet." Samuel Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle, 1981) identifies "Silken Wallet" as a variant of his Pennsylvania-collected "Over the River to Charlie" (Bayard's No. 555).


The first part of this tune appears as the air for Joyce's "Fairies' Song (The)", of which Joyce writes:

The reader will no doubt be glad to see the sample of what fairies can do in musical composition. All the other songs in this book were composed wholly by mortals; but the following air and song are the joint production of the Knockgraffon fairies, and of the little hunchback, Lusmore. [Joyce, 2, p. 21)[2].

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Kennedy (Traditional Dance Music of Britain and Ireland: Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 169, p. 40 (appears as “Silk in the Bag”). O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 39. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 891, p. 165. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1986; No. 140, p. 38.

See also listing at :
Alan Ng's [1]

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