Tune of the Day: The Devil's Dream
This old fiddle tune, which can be played as either a hornpipe or a reel, is attested to as a popular piece from at least 1834 in New England. Some collectors thought the tune to be of Irish origins, but it has since been traced to a Scottish reel, “The De'il Among the Tailors”, which was composed around 1790.
The tune is notably mentioned in The Return of the Native by English novelist Thomas Hardy, who was also a fiddler and accordion player:
The air was now that one without any particular beginning, middle, or end, which perhaps among all the dances which throng an inspired fiddler's fancy, best conveys the idea of the interminable — the celebrated “Devil's Dream”. The fury of personal movement that was kindled by the fury of the notes could be approximately imagined by these outsiders under the moon, from the occasional kicks of toes and heels against the floor, whenever the whirl round had been of more than customary velocity.