The Music

The Hobby Horse is accompanied by musicians playing the Hobby Horse tune, comprising of Joe the Boat is Going Over, Minehead Johnny (better known as Dixie) and Soldiers Joy.

The traditional instruments are one row accordions and drums which can be seen in early photographs dating back to the early 1900's.

The accordion was invented in 1829 and probably came into the Hobby Horse sometime after 1860

as this when is came into mass production.

Before then the drum may have been accompanied by whistles, fifes,possibly fiddles, although there are no accounts. Even earlier, bagpipes may even have been used.

However a description from 1830 does not mention any music.

The music is nowadays all played in the key of G, although as recently as 1972 F# was used.

There are two basic drumbeats used today which can be heard in old and modern recordings.

In 1912 Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged the Minehead Hobby Horse tune for a small orchestra, although it remains unpublished.

Courtesy Bodleian Library