Hob or Nob
X:3 T:Hob or Nob M:6/8 L:1/8 B:Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1757) Z:Transcribed and edited by Fynn Titford-Mock, 2007 Z:abc's:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G A|GBe dBG|B2B B2A|GBe dBG|ABA A2B| GBe dBG|B2d g2a|bag fed|B2 B TB2:| |:d|G2g gab|d2d d2B|g2g gab|e2e e2f| gfe gab|d2B g2a|bag fed|B2B TB2:||
HOB OR/A NOB. AKA and see "Campbells are Coming (1) (The)," "Burnt Old Man (1)," "Old Man (1) (The)," "Seanduine (An)" (The Old Man), "Robi Down/Robi Donn." English, Scottish, American; Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. To hob-nob with someone is to associate with them, or to keep their company. The term derived from the old term hab-nab, used as a call in drinking; supposedly derived from the Anglo-Saxon habban, "to have," and nabban (for ne habban), "not to have." The ritual at hobnobbing is variously described as that of clinking cups together before drinking to each other (Hawkwood, 1909) or to give and take of drinks. An 1811 source gives that it was common to inquire "Will you Hob or Nob with me?" If the party so questioned responded "Nob" they were deemed to have agreed to have a drink of wine with the questioner and had to choose red or white wine. It was also at one time thought that the origin of the term derived from Elizabethan times when great chimneys were fashionable. On each corner of the hearth or grate was a small projection called the hob, on which was customarily set items, such as a pipe. In winter beer was warmed on the hob, and cold beer set on the table, said to have been called a nob. Thus to ask "will you hob or nob with me" was to invite one to partake of either warm or cold beer.
The melody is recognizable to modern ears as the Scots air "Campbells are Coming (1) (The)." It first appears (as "Hob or Nob") in country dance collections in England, including Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances (4th book, c. 1745) and Johnson's Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances (1748). A few years later the "Campbell" title appeared in print in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, followed soon after by a printing in Bremner's Scots Reels (c. 1757). Gratten Flood (1906), in typical form, claims the melody has an Irish provenance, and says that it was a Jacobite era song (early 18th century) annexed by the Scots and used as the vehicle for the song "The Campbells are Coming." Despite this assertion words to "The Campbell's are Coming" do not appear in print until Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. iii (1790). Frank Kidson says that one unnamed account maintains that the melody was used for a song, composed on and at the period of Mary Queen of Scots' imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle, although what this song might have been is apparently lost. Kidson also believes it likely that the tune originated in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion as a gathering tune for Clan Campbell.
An American, Daniel Burnap, included it in several of his chime clocks, which he manufactured in the late 18th century at East Windsor, Connecticut. The melody under the "Hob" title is also contained in Timothy Swan's Suffield, Connecticut, MS of 1777, and indeed, it appears in a number of American music manuscripts, such as that of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. "Hob or Knob, or, The Campbells are Coming" was entered into the 1859 music copybook of American musician M.E. Eames (p. 70). A related air, which Bayard (1981) says is "doubtless a descendant of the original melody," is "Robi Down/Robi Donn." When played in duple time several writers have noticed similarities with "Miss McLeod's Reel (1)" and even "White Cockade (The)." Howe (c. 1867) printed dance instructions with the melody, which he placed in his section of Contra Dances.