Hell on the Wabash (2)

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HELL ON THE WABASH [2]. American, March (2/4 time). E Minor (Mattson & Walz): A Minor (Cole, Kerr): A Major (Sweet). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Cole, Kerr, Sweet): AA'BB'CC' (Mattson & Walz). Listed as a 'jig' in Ryan's Mammoth/Cole's 1000, referring not to the Irish 6/8 jig but to a type of old-time syncopated banjo tune known as a "straight" or "sand" jig. The minstrel origins for this syncopated tune are quite evident and the genre was popular on the early variety stage in the 1870's and 1880's. Its use as a march is attested to by its appearance in fife manuals and martial collections. Hans Nathan believes that melodic material from the Irish tune "Night We Made the Match (The)" contributed to Emmett's 'jig'. See also the related reel "Lady on the Green," from the repertoire of Nebraska fiddler Uncle Bob Walters.

"Hell on the Wabash" was also included in the 1904 music manuscript collection of New Sumner, Maine, fiddler Clinton W. Bisbee, who copied much if not all of his tunes from the 1864 collection of Maine fiddler Frank Richardson.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: American Veteran Fifer, 1902. Bruce & Emmett (Drummer's and Fifer's Guide), 1862. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 81 (appears as "H_' on the Wabash"). Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2); No. 423, p. 48. Mattson & Walz (Old Fort Snelling: Instruction Book for the Fife), 1974; p. 67. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 114. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 55.

Recorded sources:




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