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" (<incipit title="load:silk" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Is It Silk that's in Your Bag My Boy?">Is It Silk that's in Your Bag My Boy?</incipit>), 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 [1] (1790–1866) collected five variants: "<incipit title="load:cheer" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Cheer Up Old Hag">Cheer Up Old Hag</incipit>," "<incipit title="load:blow" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Blow old woman and be merry">Blow old woman and be merry</incipit>," "<incipit title="load:ora" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Ga mba ora">Ga mba ora</incipit>" and two settings of "<incipit title="load:bhfad" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Bídhean tú i bhfad a-muig">Bídhean tú i bhfad a-muig</incipit>." 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." O'Neill's own "Humors of Kilkenny (2)" is a close variant[2] Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle, 1981) identifies this as a variant of his Pennsylvania-collected "<incipit title="load:charlie" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Over the River to Charlie">Over the River to Charlie</incipit>" (Bayard's No. 555).

Finally,

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)[3].



Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

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.

Recorded sources: -

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]



Back to Silken Wallet (The)


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