Hyder (161) defines it thus: “This is an onomatopoetic word suggesting the beating of a drum, much used in French comic operas with a military theme, and here used mockingly by F. C. Burnand.” MacPhail (194) adds that Verdi uses the word in Forza del Destino and Donizetti does the same in La Fille du Régiment. Moreover, he adds, “It’s a bit ironic that if Burnand, Sullivan’s first librettist, provided him with a ‘Rataplan’ song, so too did his final collaborator, Basil Hood: a Rataplan song in The Emerald Isle was one of the lyrics the composer set in his final comic opera before he died.” Finally, Kravetz (182) has this simple explanation: “Rataplan” is the French equivalent of “rat-a-tat.”