I “cut my dulcimer-playing teeth” playing in traditional Irish music sessiúns in New York City. The jigs were some of my favorite tunes, and the sound of the strummed mountain dulcimer reminded me of the ever-more-popular bouzoukis being played in well-known traditional Irish bands. There are a couple of other Irish tunes with this name, but this is the one I heard most. A “hob” is sometimes short for hobgoblin, but a “hob” is also a shelf at the back of a fireplace.
It’s in A Dorian and the way I approach it on our diatonic fretboard is to tune to DGd tuning and put a capo at the 1st fret. All of the frets are the same numbers as you would play them “open,” but “0” is now the capo’d fret. In this arrangement, “do” of the scale is the A at the 4th fret on the dulcimer’s bass string.
The recording of this arrangement is from my 1984 Kicking Mule label recording, “Vive le Dulcimer.” Seth Austen plays guitar and Jesse Winch plays bodhrán. This arrangement is from my 1981 Mel Bay book Anthology for the Fretted Dulcimer, possibly available from MelBay.com for download.
Have fun playing it. I do!