Bards Old Time Fiddle Tunebook Supplement/Devils Dream

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"The Devil's Dream" is an old fiddle tune of unknown origins. Usually played as a reel, it is attested to as a popular tune from at least 1834 in New England.[1] It also appears in a folk tale from central England dated to c. 1805.[2]

"The Devil's Dream" is, and has been since its introduction, a popular tune with fiddlers and dancers and has been recorded numerous times.

It is used by Bernard Herrmann as one of the principal themes in the film score to the movie The Devil and Daniel Webster to represent the plight of the New Hampshire farmers.

Notable Performances[edit]

"Mark O'Connor performed it as an encore after his concerto with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at Prospect Park, NYC in 2008. The first portion of the encore is improvised, and then last portion is his arrangement of Devils Dream". PRINT LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpMsJ1qD214

References[edit]

  1. Gilman, Memoirs of a New England Village Choir, p. 20: "Now, by a seemingly miraculous rapidity and perfection of execution,he would exert an irresistible power over the muscular frames of his delighted auditor, putting their feet and hands in motion as they sat before him, and often rousing up the younger individuals who were present to an unbidden, spontaneous dance, to the tune of 'The Girl I left behind me,' the 'Devil's Dream,' or and equally magical and inspiring combination of notes that extemporaneously flowed into his own mind on the occasion."
  2. Allies, On the Ignis Fatuus, pp. 31-32: "As an old fiddler, of the name of Pengree, was one night, about forty years ago, returning home by himself to Old Storage, from the wake which had been held at Knightford Bridge Inn, he had to pass a place called 'Hell Garden,' which was situated at the bottom of the Cherry Bank, near to the Upper House, in Alfrick; and when he came there he said, "Oh I am come to 'Hell Garden!' well, I'll give the 'Devil's Dream;'" which no sooner had he struck up than (to show he was not alone in his glory) about 150 strange female figures came and danced all round him in pattens,which made him not only unshoulder his fiddle pretty quickly, but take to his heel as fast as he could run."

Pop Culture[edit]

Mentioned in Johnny Lee's song "Cherokee Fiddle".

Bibliography[edit]

  • Allies, Jabez. On the Ignis Fatusus: Or Will-O'-The-Wisp, and the Fairies. London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. (1846).
  • Gilman, S. (A Member). Memoirs of a New England Village Choir with Occasional Reflections. Boston: Benjamin H. Greene (1834).

External links[edit]