Midnight On The Water

The Pressley Girls Midnight on the Water

I’ve got a lovely waltz for you today. Chatter and Chitter, aka The Pressley Girls, learned Midnight On The Water during last summer’s Dance Musicians Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School. It’s a song we’re familiar with. It’s often played for the traditional ending waltz of a contra dance.

I googled around trying to discover who wrote the song. I assumed it was a traditional fiddle tune, meaning it’s too old to know who wrote it. And maybe that’s the case, however there is much information to wade through and I decided I’d really rather just sit here and listen to the waltz.

If you’d like to discover the intricacies surrounding the history of Midnight On The Water go a quick google. But before you go listen to The Pressley Girls and if you have someone handy or even if you don’t feel free to waltz about the room.


I hope you enjoyed the waltz. I’m not sure I could ever get tired of hearing it.



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  • Reply
    Robert Wasmer
    November 27, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Lovely rendition. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Janet Pressley
    April 1, 2016 at 2:51 am

    A beautiful waltz. I love it!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you. girls. How lovely. What a blessing you are.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Back to add a second comment, because this song played in my head all day yesterday 🙂

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Just amazing talent and a beautiful rendition!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 16, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I saw this on youtube and put a link to it in my own website. I think it is a beautiful song played on a beautiful sounding violin by a beautiful young lady accompanied by an equally beautiful guitarist.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    November 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    A mesmerizing tune – those girls are right in there! The other comments say it better than I can.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    This is truly a beautiful waltz, no wonder you like it so much! The girls did a wonderful rendition. Their playing is continuing to improve, better and better. Or “gooder and gooder” as my grammarless grandson would say! I say one day soon they are going to be “finer than frog hair and gooder’n snuff!” and that’s purty good!
    I would love to learn to play it on the dulcimer as well, after reading Ken Ryan’s post. I am afraid my dulcimer playing is not good!
    The waltz that constantly lingers in my mind of course, is the Tennessee waltz. I also like the New Tennessee Waltz that Paul played.
    Another waltz that I am not so fond of is “Blue Waltz”! Did you ever hear of getting sick on a waltz? I did, very sick and nauseous until my Mother washed my pillowcase and sheets the next day. In the late forties I spilled a half bottle of Blue Waltz perfume I got as a Christmas gift. The longer the night went on the stinkier it got. I finally had to get up and go in the living room to the couch to sleep. “Blue Waltz” perfume was all the rage back then, but it wasn’t meant to wear half a bottle on your night clothes, pillowcase and sheet…Ewwww!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…I was so sick I couldn’t even wear a dab of the perfume for weeks….LOL
    PSS…In our gym classes we had maybe three weeks of dance, learning about the rumba, samba, two-step, waltz, etc. My favorite was the waltz. Once in a while someone could talk the teacher into playing the “twist” at the end of the class, which of course everyone knew! LOL

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Beautiful! You girls did a wonderful job on such a lovely tune!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Beautiful! I’ve been missing from the blogging world for quite some time and it’s been way to long since I’ve heard Chitter and Chatter play. Not only do they play beautifully but they’ve become such beautiful young women as well!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    My Goodness! How professional have we become? Beautifully done, and the first time I’ve ever heard that tune. Thanks, girls!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    You can tell Chatter that she got danced with – I found myself weaving back and forth with her as I listened. From what I’ve noticed in the past, Chitter’s the one most likely to be moving with the music, but I reckon Chatter’s heart beats to 3/4 time.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    November 16, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Excellent job! We play the tune with the dulcimers, but we play it a bit slower. I have always loved that waltz. I’m glad they learned it.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Oh that minor run, like water sliding over stones in an autumn stream. Winter coming. But beautiful.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I can picture the long formal dresses and the men in their finery as couples progress around the hall. So beautifully performed. Thanks Chitter and Chatter! Great for a quiet Sunday morning!

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    November 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Midnight on the Water was composed by
    Lewis Thomasson, father of the great Texas fiddler, Benny Thomasson who, as far as I know, was the first to record it.
    Benny played it with the fiddle tuned DDAD, an old time tuning often called Bonaparte’s Retreat Tuning since it is most often used for that well known tune.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 16, 2014 at 7:25 am

    The Pressley Girls did a wonderful job on “Midnight on the Water.” I loved the way they “got into” the feeling of the waltz! Thank you, girls, for bringing back to life this old, beloved waltz!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 16, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Listening now, it is hauntingly beautiful

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