Devil's Dream (1)

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X:1 T:Devil's Dream [1] M:C| L:1/8 K:A V:1 clef=treble name="1." [V:1] |: eg | agae agae | agae fedc | dfBf dfBf | dfBf gfeg | agae agae | agae fedc | Bcde gfed | cABc A6 :| |: ed | ceAe ceAe | ceAe fedc | dfBf dfBf | dfBf gfed | ceAe ceAe | ceAe fedc | Bcde gfed | cABc A6 :||



DEVIL'S DREAM [1] (Aisling an Diabail). AKA and see "De'il/Deil Among the Tailors (The)," "Devil Among the Tailors (1) (The)," "Reel du Diable," "Rêve du Diable (Le)," "Satan's Nightmare." See note for "Parody." British Isles, Canadian, American, Irish; Reel or Hornpipe. USA; Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky. England, Shropshire. Canada; Quebec, Prince Edward Island. Ireland, Connaught. A Major (most versions): G Major (Hardings, Shaw). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Burchenal, Lowinger): AB (Silberberg, Wilson): AABB (most versions): AABBCC (Kershaw, O'Neill/1001): AABCDEFG (Kerr). Despite its occasional appearance in the South, it is known as a Northern tune. Linscott (1939) thought the tune to be of Irish origins, but it has since been rather easily traced to a Scottish reel, "The De'il Among the Tailors," composed c. 1790, and it appears in the Scottish Kerr collection (vol. 4) as "Devil's Dream." American versions almost invariably have been known by the "Dream" title, while in the British Isles it is usually found under the Tailor/Taylor title—notwithstanding its appearance in Kerr as "Devil's Dream," which may have been evidence of a transatlantic return of the piece. Bayard (1981) notes that the tune, like "Soldier's Joy," has been transplanted to Scandinavia.

The earliest American appearance of the tune as "Devil's Dream" is in the music manuscript copybook of musician M.E. Eames, frontispiece dated Aug. 22nd, 1859 (p. 39). Nothing is known of the fiddler, save there are some hints he may have had Philadelphia, Pa., associations, judging from a few of the tune titles in his manuscript. Eames placed "Devil's Dream" squarely amidst hornpipes (he separated tunes in his collection by rhythm), and there is no doubt he played the tune as a hornpipe and not as a reel. It was of the tunes cited by Lettie Osborn (New York Folklore Quarterly) as having been commonly played for dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930's. Linscott recorded a dance, also called "Devil's Dream," for which this tune was played in Hinsdale, N.H., and Howe (c. 1867) and Burchenal (1918) also printed New England contra dances of the same name to the tune. It was in the repertoire of Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner, who said of it "plenty old and difficult to play properly." New Englanders Tolman and Page (The Country Dance Book) have this to say about the tune: "All fiddlers are jealous of their accomplishments, you know, and it is an absolute impossibility to be accepted into their clan unless one can perform both 'Devil's Dream' and 'Speed the Plow' in a creditable manner, preferably with home-made variations. Old Theophilus (Parse) Ames used to say that a fiddler without his own version of 'Devil's Dream' was of 'as much account as a string of wampum in the Washington mint'" (p. 112). Boone County, Missouri, fiddler Cyril Stinnet (1912-1986) probably didn't agree, for although it was the first tune he learned on the fiddle at age 8, he once later remarked he did not much care for the piece. The tune was rumoured (in New Jersey, for one place) to have been composed by Satan himself (and played on the 'devil's box', or the fiddle) (Joyce Cauthen, p. 202), and "Satan's Nightmare" was a southwestern Pennsylvania title. It was in the repertories of fiddlers Uncle Jimmy Thompson (1848–1931) (Texas, Tenn.), Harry Daddario (Union County, Pa.), and Henry Ford's late 1920's champion Mellie Dunham (Maine). It was recorded in the early 1940's from Ozarks Mountain fiddlers by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph for the Library of Congress and recorded in 1951 by Malvin Artley for his eventual 1955 dissertation on the West Virginia Country Fiddler from the playing of Arden Wilson, of Harrisville, West Virginia (AFS 14,087).

Thomas Hardy, English novelist, fiddler and accordion player, mentions the tune in his novel The Return of the Native (Book Second, chapter 5):

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.

Sometimes lyrics such as these have been attached to the tune:

Forty days and forty nights
The Devil was a-dreaming,
Around the bark, old Noah's ark
The rain it was a-streaming.
The monkey washed the baboon's face,
The serpent combed his hair,
And up jumped the Devil
With his pitchfork in the air. (Ford)

The title is among those mentioned in Patrick J. McCall's 1861 poem "The Dance at Marley," the first three stanzas of which goes:

Murtagh Murphy's barn was full to the door when the eve grew dull,
For Phelim Moore his beautiful new pipes had brought to charm them;
In the kitchen thronged the girls—cheeks of roses, teeth of pearls—
Admiring bows and braids and curls, till Phelim's notes alarm them.
Quick each maid her hat and shawl hung on dresser, bed, or wall,
Smoothed down her hair and smiled on all as she the bawnoge entered,
Where a shass of straw was laid on a ladder raised that made
A seat for them as still they stayed while dancers by them cantered.

Murtagh and his vanithee had their chairs brought in to see
The heels and toes go fast and free, and fun and love and laughter;
In their sconces all alight shone the tallow candles bright—
The flames kept jigging all the night, upleaping to each rafter!
The pipes, with noisy drumming sound, the lovers' whispering sadly drowned,
So the couples took their ground—their hearts already dancing!
Merrily, with toe and heel, airily in jig and reel,
Fast in and out they whirl and wheel, all capering and prancing.

"Off She Goes," "The Rocky Road," "The Tipsy House," and "Miss McLeod,"
"The Devil's Dream," and "Jig Polthogue," "The Wind that Shakes the Barley,"
"The First o'May," "The Garran Bwee," "Tatther Jack Welsh," "The River Lee," -
As lapping breakers from the sea the myriad tunes at Marley!
Reels of three and reels of four, hornpipes and jigs galore,
With singles, doubles held the floor in turn, without a bar low;
But when the fun and courting lulled, and the dancing somewhat dulled,
The door unhinged, the boys down pulled for "Follow me up to Carlow."

Seattle fiddler and musicologist Vivian Williams writes: "'Devil's Dream' was played by fiddler Jake Lake (originally from Cook County, Illinois) at the wedding of Henry Van Asselt and Catherine Jane Maple in a cabin on the Duwamish River, near Seattle, on Christmas Day, 1862, according to an account written by the bride's brother, John Wesley Maple. Other tunes played at that wedding: 'The Unfortunate Dog', 'Fishers Hornpipe', 'The King's Head', 'Gal on a Log', 'Arkansas Traveller'."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Dennis McClure (Willimantic, Conn.) [Linscott]; John Dingler, 1977 (central New York State, learned from his father) [Bronner]; eight southwestern Pa. fiddlers [Bayard]; Bill Monroe (Ky.) [Lowinger]; Kelly Jones (Mo.) [Phillips]; a c. 1837–1840 MS by Shropshire musician John Moore [Ashman]; contained in the 19th century Joseph Kershaw Manuscript-Kershaw was a fiddle player who lived in the remote area of Slackcote, Saddleworth, North West England, who compiled his manuscript from 1820 onwards, according to Jamie Knowles [Kershaw]; Sterling Baker (b. mid-1940's, Morell, North-East Kings County, Prince Edward Island; now resides in Montague).

Printed sources : - Adam (Old Time Fiddlers' Favorite Barn Dance Tunes), 1928; No. 68. Ashman (Ironbridge Hornpipe), 1991; No. 26a, p. 7. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 334A-H, p. 314–317. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 85. Bronner (Old Time Music Makers of New York State), 1987; No. 41, pp. 159–160. Burchenal (American Country Dances, vol. 1), 1918; p. 14. Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1955; p. 36. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 30. DeVille (Universal Favorite Contra Dance Album), 1905; No. 77. Ditson (The Boston Collection of Instrumental Music), c. 1850; p. 60. Donnellan, Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. 2, No. 2, 1909; No. 83. Ford (Traditional Music of America), 1940; p. 62. Harding's All Round Collection, 1905; No. 182, p. 58. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 74. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes); No. or p. 4. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 4); No. 27, p. 6. Knowles (The Joseph Kershaw Manuscript), 1993; No. 57. Linscott (Folk Songs of Old New England), 1939. Lowinger (Bluegrass Fiddle), 1974; p. 18. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler's Repertoire), 1983; No. 119. O'Malley and Atwood (Seventy Good Old Dances), p. 12. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1564, p. 290 (listed as a hornpipe). O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 815, p. 141. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 108. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 68. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 163. Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 19, p. 8. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; pp. 42 & 54. Shaw (Cowboy Dances), 1943; p. 390. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 34. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 53. Sym (Sym's Old Time Dances), 1930; p. 9. Trim (Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy), 1990; No. 21. White's Excelsior Collection, p. 42. White's Unique Collection, 1896; No. 172 p. 32. Wilson (A Companion to the Ballroom), 1816; p. 131.

Recorded sources : - American Heritage 516, Jana Greif – "I Love Fiddlin'!" Biograph RC6006, Bottle Hill – "A Rumor in Their Own Time." CCF2, Cape Cod Fiddlers – "Concert Collection II" (1999). County 747, Clark Kessinger – "Sweet Bunch of Daisies." Decca 31540, Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys. Edison 50653 (78 RPM), Joseph Samuels, 1919. Elektra 217, Eric Weisberg and Marshall Brickman – "Folk Banjo Styles." F&W Records 4, "The Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra Meets the F&W String Band." Folk Legacy FSA-15, Lawrence Older – "Adirondack Songs, Ballads and Fiddle Tunes" (1963). Folkways FTS 31036, Roger Sprung – "Grassy Locks." Folkways FA 2381, "The Hammered Dulcimer as played by Chet Parker (Grand Rapids, Michigan)" (1966). Folkways 8826, Per's Four – "Jigs and Reels." Fretless Records 101, "The Campbell Family: Champion Fiddlers." Gennett 6121 (78 RPM), Uncle Steve Hubbard and His Boys, c. 1928. Legacy 120, Jean Carignan – "French Canadian Fiddle Songs." Recorded for the Library of Congress, 1938, by Patrick Bonner, St. James, Beaver Island, Michigan; on Library of Congress 1014A2 by Jilson Setters (Ky.), 1937; and, again for the Library of Congress in 1939 by eighty-year-old Lauderdale County, Mississippi fiddler Stephen B. Tucker. Philo 1040, Jay Ungar and Lyn Hardy – "Catskill Mountain Goose Chase" (1977. Learned from Putnam County, N.Y. fiddler Bud Snow). Rounder Records, Hobart Smith – "Southern Journey, vol. 6: Sheep, Sheep, Don't You Know the Road" (a reissue of Alan Lomax recordings). Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFW 40116, Rod Miller – "Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser?" (Various artists. Based on Montréal fiddler Jean Carignan's version). Starr 15782 (78 RPM), Joseph Larocque (1931).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear fiddler Erskine Morris's 1990 home recording at "Erskine Morris: Old-Time Fiddle Music from the Gaspé Coast" (site/blog) [2]



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