Devil to Pay (The)

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DEVIL TO PAY, THE. Irish, Reel. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The title may just be the phrase 'devil to pay' meaning 'impending consequences', or perhaps is a reference to the play The Devil to Pay, or The Wives Metamorphos'd (1731), a farce written by Charles Coffey and frequently revived, including in October, 1791, at the King's Theatre, Hay-Market with Mrs. Jordan in the role of Nell Jobson, and in 1814 at Covent Garden with Miss Stephens. Jane Austin was in attendance at one of the shows in 1814 (in which it was preceded by Dr. Arne's opera Artaxerxes), and, while she was bored by the opera, she was "highly amused" by the farce.

Source for notated version: the Rice-Walsh manuscript, a collection of music from the repertoire of Jeremiah Breen, a blind fiddler from North Kerry, notated by his student [O'Neill].

Printed sources: O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody),1922; No. 280.

Recorded sources:




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