Hang On

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HANG ON. Old-Time, Breakdown. A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "A thoroughly characteristic western Pennsylvania fiddle tune, unmistakably British in character, and composed--like many others--in such a way that the whole point of the melody lies in the recurring cadential formula. See Ford, p. 91, 'Old Mother Logo', for an air resembling this in a general way" (Bayard, 1944). There is no way to tell how old this tune might be, but an enticingly similar title appears in an account of 18th century weddings on the frontier, unearthed by Paul Gifford. In 1876 there appeared a volume written by one Joseph Doddridge, entitled "Notes on the settlement and Indian wars of the western parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, from 1763 to 1783, inclusive : together with a view of the state of society, and manners of the first settlers of the western country" (Edited by A. Williams, published in Albany, N. Y., by J. Munsell, 1876), where on p. 155 he states:

[Desciption of weddings]. After dinner the dancing commenced, and generally lasted till the next morning. The figures of the dances were three and four handed reels, or square sets, and jigs. The commencement was always a square four, which was followed by what was called jigging it off; that is, two of the four would single out for a jig, and were followed by the remaining couple. The jigs were often accompanied with what was called cutting out; that is, when either of the parties became tired of the dance, on intimation, the place was supplied by some one of the company without any interruption of the dance. In this way a dance was often continued till the musician was heartily tired of his situation. Toward the latter part of the night, if any of the company, through weariness, attempted to conceal themselves for the purpose of sleeping, they were hunted up, paraded on the floor, and the fiddler ordered to play "Hang on till to-morrow morning."

Source for notated version: Irvin Yaugher Jr., Mt. Independence, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1943 (learned from his grandfather) [Bayard].

Printed sources: Bayard (Hill Country Tunes), 1944; No. 95.

Recorded sources:




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