The Devil’s Dream hornpipe

Also known as De’il Amang The Tailors, De’il Amang The Taylors, The De’il Amang The Taylors, De’il Among Da Tailors, De’il Among The Tailors, The De’il Among The Tailors, De’il Among The Taylors, The De’il Among The Taylors, De’il Amongst The Tailor, De’il Amongst The Tailors, De’ll Amang The Tailors, Deil Among The Tailors, The Devil Among The Tailors, Devil Among The Taylors, The Devil Among The Taylors, The Devil Amongst The Tailors, Le Rêve Du Diable, Reel Du Diable.

There are 67 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Devil’s Dream appears in 4 other tune collections.

The Devil’s Dream has been added to 53 tune sets.

The Devil's Dream has been added to 632 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Eight settings

X: 1
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
e2|"A"eaga eaga|eaga fedc|"Bm"dfBf dfBf|dfBf (gfed )|"A"
eaga eaga|eaga fedc|"D"dfed "A"cA"E"BG|"E"E2 "A"A2 A2:|
|:e2|"A"ceAe ceAe|ceAe fedc|"Bm"dfBf dfBf|dfBf afed|"A"
ceAe ceAe|ceAe fedc|"D"dfed "A"cA"E"BG|"E"E2 "A"A2 A2:|
|:e2|"A"cAEA cAeA|cAeA fedc|"bm"dBGB dBfe|"D"defg "E"agfe|"A"
cAEA cAeA|cAce fedc|"D"dfed "A"cA"E"BG|"E"E2 "A"A2 A2:|
X: 2
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
"A" a2 eg a2 eg|"A" a2 ea fedc|"Bm" dfBf dfBf|"Bm" dfBa "E" gabg|
"A" a2 eg a2 eg|"A" a2 ea fedc|"D" defd "A" ecBA|"E" E2 G2 "A" A2:|
"A" ceAe "E" ceAe|"A" ceag fedc|"Bm" dfBf dfBf|"Bm" dfba "E" gfed|
"A" ceAe "E" ceAe|"A" ceag fedc|"D" defe "A" ecBA|"E" E2 G2 "A" A2:|
X: 3
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|{ag}a2 e>f {ag}a2 e>f|{ag}a2 {g}a2 f>e {g}d>c|{g}B>{d}B {e}B>c {g}d>c {g}d>e|{g}f>e {g}f>g a>g {a}f>e|
{ag}a2 e>f {ag}a2 e>f|{ag}a2 {g}a2 f>e {g}d>c|{g}f>e {g}d>c {g}d>c{g}B< A|{g}G2 {d}B2 {G}A2||
{g}e>d|{g}c<e{g}A>e {g}c<e{g}A>e|{g}c>A{g}e<c {g}f>e {g}d>c|{g}B>{d}B {e}B>c {g}d>c {g}d>e|{g}f>e {g}f>g a>g {a}f>e|
{g}c<e{g}A>e {g}c<e{g}A>e|{g}c>A{g}e<c {g}f>e {g}d>c|{g}f>e {g}d>c {g}d>c{g}B< A|{g}G2 {d}B2 {G}A2||
X: 4
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
eaga eaga|eaga f2d2|1 dfff dfff|dfaf f2e2:|2 defg aedB|B2A2 A4||
ceee ceee|ceee fedc|1 dfff dfff|dfaf f2e2:|2 defg aedB|B2A2 A4||
# Added by hetty .
X: 5
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
(3efg|agae agae|fgag fedc|deBf dfBf|defg agfe|
eaga caga|Aaga fedc|defg afed|c2 A2A2|
ed|ceAe ceAe|ceag fedc|dfBf dfBf|defg afed|
ceAe ceAe|ceag fedc|defg afed|c2A2A2||
ed|(3cec A>d (3cec A>d|ceag fedc|(3dfd B2 (3dfd B2|defg afed|
(3cec A>d (3cec A>d|ceag fedc|defg afed|(3cdc (3BcB A2||
e>d|cAEA cAEA|cAEA fedc|dBFB dBFB|dBFB bfed|
cAEA cAEA|cAEA fedc|defg afed|(3cdc (3BcB A2||
(3efg|aece aece|aece agfe|bfdf bfdf|bfdf bagf|
aece aece|aece fedc|defg afed|cABG A2||
e2|eac'a eac'a|eac'a eac'a|ebd'b ebd'b|ebd'b ebd'b|
eac'a eac'a|eac'a eac'e|defg afed|cABG A2||
e>d|(3cBA eA fAgA|aAgA fAeA|(3dcB fB gBaB|bBaB gBfB|
(3cBA eA fAgA|aA (3fga fedc|defg afed|c2 [e2c2]||
X: 6
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
e2|a2eg a2eg|a2ea fedc|dfBf dfBf|dfba gefg|a2eg a2eg|
a2ea fedc|defe dcBA|E2G2A2||ed|ceAe ceAe|ceAa fedc|
dfBf dfBf|dfBb gfed|ceAe ceAe|ceAa fedc|defe dcBA|E2G2A2||
eg|a2eg a2eg|gaea d'c'ba|^gbfb agfb|^abfb d'c'ba|eaga caga|
Aaga fedc|defe dcBA|E2G2A2||ed|ceAe ceAe|agag fedc|
dfBf dfBf|b^ab=a gfed|ceAe ceAg|agag fedc|defe dcBA|E2G2A2||
E2|(3Ace (3ecA (3Ace (3ecA|(3Ace (3ecA (3Ace (3ecA|(3GBe (3eBG (3GBe (3eBG|
(3GBe (3eBG (3GBe (3eBG|AcEc Acec|Acec fedc|
fgaf ecBA|E2G2A2||(3efg|"Tempo agitato" aece fece|aece fece|bfdf gfdf|
bfdf gfdf|aece fece|agag fedc|defg afed|[c2E2] [B2D2] [A2C2]||
X: 7
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
d2|g2df g2df|g2dg edcB|ceAe ceAe|ceag fdef|
g2df g2df|g2dg edcB|cded cBAG|D2F2G2||
dc|BdGd BdGd|BdGg edcB|ceAe ceAe|ceAa fedc|
BdGd BdGd|BdGg edcB|cded cBAG|D2F2G2||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 8
T: The Devil's Dream
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
(3def|:gfgd gfgd|gfgd edcB|ceAe ceAe|ceAe gfed|
gfgd gfgd|gfgd edcB|cege dBAG|D2F2G2 z2:|
|:BdGd BdGd|BdGd edcB|ceAe ceAe|ceAe gfed|
BdGd BdGd|BdGd edcB|cege dBAG|D2F2G2 z2:|

Fifty-one comments

The Devil’s Dream

I was surprised not to find this already in the collection as it’s one of the essential tunes. The version here is as it appears in O’Neill’s; I’ve also heard it played with the first measures “inverted”
(e|a g# a e a g# a e| instead of e|e a g# a e a g# a|).

Isn’t this a reel?

I always heard this played as a reel. Am I out to lunch?

Reel vs. Hornpipe

It’s listed as a hornpipe in O’Neill’s and several online directories…

I dunno…

I wouldn’t rely on O’Neill’s or online directories, I have never seen this tune refered to or played as a hornpipe. Maybe Bluegrassers call it a hornpipe, but in the bluegrass world that doesn’t mean a thing.

The Hornpipe Question

Brad, there are two ways of playing Irish hornpipes – the straight way, which drives the beat harder (DA-DA-DA-DA) than a reel, and the more common way with the 3/1 syncopation (DA-da-DA-da-DA-da), so maybe that’s where part of the confusion is…or maybe not. Barry Foy has a particularly funny explanation of this in his book “Field Guide to the Irish Music Session” in which he explains the two differing ways of playing the things. He also mentions that sitting next to someone in a session who plays the hornpipes the other way from you is like being poked with a butter knife at a rate of, oh, say, 110 a minute – not fatal, but not exactly a lot of fun, either. Which way is right? No telling. I’ve heard that the straight way is older, but the syncopated way is more widespread

There are plenty of tunes that are played more than one way, too.

Jeff, there’s lots of tunes that are pretty common that aren’t in here yet. So get cracking. *grin*


Regardless of how its played this tune by all accounts is a reel. It doesn’t even have the structure or cadence of a hornpipe.

Really? – I can dance a hornpipe step to it. (Three of them, actually – heh.) Regardless of whether it’s structured or cadenced as a hornpipe, it can be played and danced to as a hornpipe, not that I’m the right person to make a definitive or final statement about it.

Why can’t it be both? I know of at least four or five tunes that people play both ways.

On another line of thought, why is it that hornpipes always seem to engender arguments and definitive statements, exactly? That’s happened on two of the fiddle lists I’m on recently…


You can dance hornpipe steps to any reel. I call a free for all!! From here on out I call that the Mason’s Apron is a hornpipe & that Rights of Man is a reel. Never mind stupid traditions & bothersome basic knowledge, let’s break out our tubas & theramins & improve this irish garbage.
PS jigs are now in 7/8 by my own personal edict!

Actually, no, you can’t. *grin* At least, *I* can’t, but I only teach the stuff, so maybe I’m wrong – after all, I’m not a TCRG. There are some very specific things that a dancer looks for to put the very specific bits of the step that make hornpipe steps hornpipes TO. So, no, you can’t dance a hornpipe to just any reel, unless you don’t care that it’s not a hornpipe, which is probably most stepdancers.

Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, Brad? just got really bad PMS? You’re being very snippy today! Heh. Usually it’s ME in your shoes, so there.


I guess I am a little grumpy

I guess you can play any tune to any rhythm, as long as it’s in the same general meter. I still think that most people know & play this tune as a reel. This is one of those tunes thats played by just about everybody from Bluegrass to Shetland so there is a lot of variation that can happen along the way.
While we’re on the topic of playing tunes in other rhythms try the “Cup of Tea” as a strathspey, but not around me! heh heh

Cup of Tea as a STRATHSPEY? Hmmmmm….. I’m going to have to go find a Cape Breton player to show me how the heck that works…heh…I can’t even think of how to make that happen…eep.

I’ve never actually even heard of Devil’s Dream, hornpipe OR reel – it’s a session standard where ever Jeff is (I read it but I can’t remember now – New Jersey? which I guess kind of means where you are too, Brad), but not out here in Colorado! I’ll have to go hunt up a recording of it to learn the thing, I guess.



What the heck is a theramin?

Devil’s Dream&theramins…

The first two parts sound very like what I always thought was a Scots reel called ‘The De’il Amang the Tailors’ and I’ve never heard it done as a hornpipe but that does n’t mean much coming from me.
Theramin: you know the aliens in the Simpsons? When they appear,that’s the theramins…

The Simpsons?

*squint* Get away?! Are you trying to take the piss outta me or something, Dave? And here I am a Yank, and I never knew. Maybe I should start watching TV again.


Devil among the theramins

I’ll only admit to knowing Devil’s Dream and having played it a few times if that buys me enough credibility to bash it without anyone taking it too personally. Sorry…this is maybe the one tune in the repertoire I can live without. When I mistakenly spent six years playing banjo in bluegrass bands, complaining about the endless reptitions of Cripple Creek, someone finally told me that you just have to keep playing it till you learn to love it again. That did eventually work for ol’ Crip, but I’d sooner go back to that glorified 5-string typewriter than play Devil’s Dream enough to ever find any fondness for the poor-man’s scale exercise that it is.

So Brad and Zina, maybe it’s not male pms afterall, just a shared psychotic reaction to an unfortunate string of notes. 🙂 And the hornpipe/reel argument goes moot if you just can’t stomach the tune in the first place. *grin&grimace*


Posted .


Heh. You know what Isaac Asimov’s definition of PMS was, don’t you?

That’s when for about five days out of every month, a woman acts like a man does all the time!

Heh. Good ol’ Isaac.


I guess this tune is pretty naff, not really worth any thought anyway. My favorite quote about this tune was uttered by a young girl at a feis; she said, “This sounds like the way ants think”.

The way ants think

That’s brilliant! I’ll have to remember that… “This sounds like the way ants think”. Priceless! A true pearl of wisdom from the mouths of babes.

The Devil’s Bargain

Wow! I didn’t know I was going to start such a controversy!

Will Harmon, I must disagree with you, purely as a matter of taste - I like this tune a lot, and enjoy the way it lays under the fingers on the fiddle. As for how ants think - I spent many an hour as a lad happily watching ants go about their business, so perhaps that’s a compliment rather than a putdown! 🙂

Anyway, every book/site I’ve looked at says it’s a hornpipe, but I prefer playing it “straight” and much too fast to dance to, so in my case the point is moot anyway. Yes, I’m a bit of a “speed demon” - too many years in rock bands, and also playing Paganini, I’m afraid. Can I still be in your club? 🙂


Oh, we’ll pretty much turn anything into a controversy, Jeff. *grin* If it sounds like good crack, anyway.

Hehehehe…“sounds like the way ants think”….hehehehehe….

Funnily enough, NOW I think I’ve heard the tune, from a Scottish player. I was thinking Irish, so I couldn’t “hear” it in my memory banks. I’d love to hear what somebody like Kevin Burke or Kevin Glackin would do to it. The only way I can hear it at the moment is kind of classic-y and precise, and it could be a lot better if you swung it a bit and lifted it out of itself. Or I suppose you could go the PJoe’s Pachelbel’s Frolics route with it…

Do we have a club? Can I be Annette? I love cashmere sweaters. Heh.


Cashmere Sweaters

Well, OK, but don’t ask to borrow mine! 🙂

Anyways, as I said, I like to play tunes like this at ridiculously fast speeds, so the rhythmic nuance would get lost in the sauce. Not that I never play things slow and swingy, I just bet carried away sometimes…

De’il among the Tailors

I KNOW the discussion has gone ON and ON and ON.

But I vote for reel. It sounds like a reel. I’ve always played
it as a reel.

Anecdotally, I first learned it on the Highland pipes, as a
reel, out of Scots Guards vol. 1 (standard pipe-band
settings). IRONICALLY, in Scots Guards it’s called a reel
but notated as a dotted-eigth::sixteenth rhythm (and not
even). My pipe major just said, “Ignore the dots and extras.
Play it even and play it fast.”

I just don’t think it has the right feel for a hornpipe, but that
could also be because I first heard it as a reel and have
always played it as an even, breakneck-speed reel.


Reel or hornpipe

Dangerous ground, this discussion…
Play it however you want. Enjoy it for what it is, a good tune, or not, if you don’t like it, but….

This does have a little to do with dance. The last bar in each part has 4 resting beats in a hornpipe, and only 2 in a reel…
Compare the phrasing with St. Annes Reel, for example. They both can be played with either rhythm. I know that we tend to think of the reel as having one rhythm, and the hornpipe another. But, the underlying structure of the tune determines whether the tune was labeled as a reel or hornpipe. Had the chance to play with some top Irish players when they made a tour stop here (Canada). Had heard about this definition before, but nobody that I knew, ever used it. Anyways, the players asked for some suggestions for tunes for a reel medley. I suggested Soldiers Joy, and they basicly said “Can’t, that tune is a hornpipe, the dancers want reels, for this medley. Like most people, I never made a distinction, because the tunes can be played with a standard ‘reel’ rhythm. It likely is a very old definition, that is rarely used nowadays.

Somebody mentioned that this tune is known in Scotland as “De’il Amang the Tailors”. I agree, they are the same tune. Take a look at the bow action needed to play the tune, and decide for yourself if the bow looks somewhat like a large sewing needle gone mad! No wonder they call it the ‘devils box’!!! 🙂

I’m with Jeff on this one… great tune

This tune is a spectacular show stopper when played reely fast. (sorry, had to slip that in) Jeff, try the tune near top speed, and try playing closer to the frog, in fact, about 6“ from the frog, with short strokes, about 1“ or 2“ long. With the string crossings, most of the bow action comes from the rocking motion. If you exagerate the rocking motion a little the bow can start to bounce. Some people thought that Paganini had the devil in him, and they will think the same about you if you do that. The incredible thing about it, is with most of the motion coming from the string crossings, your bow hand just runs a short little stroke, almost no motion at all, the bow starts bouncing and biting the strings, and all this sound comes out of your fiddle. It is easier than playing the tune cleanly, and slower, yet it has a much bigger impact. It changes the tune a little from the standard Bill Keith banjo version….

I’ ll bet that you love the tune, because you already have some great ideas of your own.

Scott Donaldson

The Devil’s Needle

Scott, you must have heard me play this! The bowing you describe is what I use for this tune and it works for anything that crosses strings rapidly like this (in classical violin the technique is called “spiccato” and indeed it figures prominently in many of Paganini’s compositions). For pices that run more along linear scales, you can do a similar thing near the middle of the bow - if you find the right balance point it almost plays itself. But should the rhythm of the bounce get out of synch with the tempo of the tune - ! Train wreck time!

BTW, Zina, the theramin is also in the old Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations” - it’s the sliding, whistly-sounding thing in the background during the chorus. The wild thing about the instrument is, it has two antennas and you control the pitch and volume by moving your hands around them - you never actually touch the thing!



Hey… I’m a fiddler and I’ve just joined this group becasue I’m very interested in knowing the origin of this tune… does anyone have any idea of the who, what , where, when, why, or how of it’s birth? I know the basics… alternate titles, etc… but I can’t find the “composer”, if there is one…. or is it just trad?

Any help will be appreciated.


Posted by .

Before Lucifer fell he got this scale excercise in his head, it drove him insane & it all went downhill from there.
Not really - but it’s a good story

The author is long forgotten, but here’s an interesting tidbit I found regarding the “Devil Among the Tailors” (alternate title for this tune)

In Scottish folklore, Black Donald is the Devil. It is said that the Devil is good at all jobs except for one, tailoring, because when the Devil is among the tailors they close up shop so he has never learned to baste. He can take many disguises including an old man in a black suit but whatever disguise he takes, he’s always giving himself away because of his cloven feet which cannot be shod.

Also relates to the tune “Black Donald the Piper”

Devil’s Dream

Plenty of information on this at

Basically, Devil’s Dream is a hornpipe derived from De’il amang the tailors (a reel) and they are Scots not Irish….

Most of the sources of this tune that I’ve seen have the following version

X: 1
T: 1. The De’il Amang the Tailors
R: reel
M: C|
L: 1/8
K: A
|: (3efg |\
“A” a2 eg a2 eg | “A” a2 ea fedc | “Bm” dfBf dfBf | “Bm” dfBa “E” gabg |
“A” a2 eg a2 eg | “A” a2 ea fedc | “D” defd “A” ecBA | “E” E2 G2 “A” A2 :|
|: e2 |\
“A” ceAe “E” ceAe | “A” ceag fedc | “Bm” dfBf dfBf | “Bm” dfba “E” gfed |
“A” ceAe “E” ceAe | “A” ceag fedc | “D” defe “A” ecBA | “E” E2 G2 “A” A2 :|

For the record, does anyone else find the frantic string-crossing in this tune really tricky - I suppose I just need to practise, practise, practise!

I always heard this as “De’il among the Tailors”… I don’t know if it was played as a reel or hornpipe when I heard it though cause that was a looong time ago heh…

Here’s one interpretation of it that I’ve found on the net…

Meaning of the name “Devil among the tailors”

I think the tailors are church bells - as in Dorothy L Sayers’ book “The Nine Tailors”. This tune goes so fast it’s like the devil bouncing round church bells. This would also hold implications of witchcraft and bells rung backwards and that sort of stuff.

The expression “Devil among the tailors” is also used to mean a game of bar skittles, where a ball is swung round among skittles, perhaps with some similarity of shape to bells.

The devil gets into a lot of Scottish tune names. Someone was once prosecuted for asking a fiddler in Stirling to play “De’il Stick the Minister”. The court agreed it was a real tune name, but this didn’t seem to help his case.

String Crossing

Domnull, once I get going REALLY fast, the crossing tends to fall apart. Although I usually do it closer to the mid-bow rather than the frog. You should see the way Donnell Leahy does it with Gypsy slides and awesome left hand pizzicato. Truely amazing…

Scottish Bagpipe Version as played by Gordon Walker on the CD Dancing to Perfection

T:The Deil Amang the Tailors
C:Trad. (as played by Gordon Walker)
[| {ag}a2 e>f {ag}a2 e>f | {ag}a2 {g}a2 f>e {g}d>c |{g}B>{d}B {e}B>c {g}d>c {g}d>e | {g}f>e {g}f>g a>g {a}f>e |
{ag}a2 e>f {ag}a2 e>f | {ag}a2 {g}a2 f>e {g}d>c |{g}f>e {g}d>c {g}d>c{g}B< A |{g}G2 {d}B2 {G}A2 |]
[| {g}e>d | {g}c<e{g}A>e {g}c<e{g}A>e | {g}c>A{g}e<c {g}f>e {g}d>c |{g}B>{d}B {e}B>c {g}d>c {g}d>e | {g}f>e {g}f>g a>g {a}f>e |
{g}c<e{g}A>e {g}c<e{g}A>e | {g}c>A{g}e<c {g}f>e {g}d>c |{g}f>e {g}d>c {g}d>c{g}B< A | {g}G2 {d}B2 {G}A2 |]

Swedish Reel / Devil Among the Taylers

I transposed this from a recording by Ulla & Britt Forsstromson made quite a few years ago. I think the LP was called ‘Blekingelatar’. It is obviously a very close cousin to “Devil among the Taylor’s” / “Devil’s Dream”
X: 1
T: Gan Ainm
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Amaj
eaga eaga | eaga f2d2 | [1 dfff dfff | dfaf f2e2 :|| [2 defg aedB | B2A2 A4 ||
ceee ceee | ceee fedc | [1 dfff dfff | dfaf f2e2 :|| [2 defg aedB | B2A2 A4 ||

Posted by .

Me and a couple of fiddlers I know play it swung like a hornpipe (except 2:1, not 3:1), but after a couple repetitions, when we’re going say, 240+ crotchets per minute, it loses the swing.

“A couple of fiddlers and I…” Honestly, standards these days!

Well I stand in the Reel camp., I can see no resembalance to a hornpipe whatsoever, but am ready to listen to any argument.
The story goes , roughly that the devil came to a tailor who made some sort of bargain regarding souls and tailoring, He has to have this jacket done by midnight, so starts of at a steady slow pace, however as time gets short, he has to speed up to get it finished befor the bell toll’d. So he gets faster and faste till he is stitching as fast as possible.
The tune follows this course, slow and steady, getting faster and faster till its all out.
I play it with a triplet on the first A, of part 1[first note]and the first note of The 2nd part, C#…. tricky. but fun, till it gets reel fast. It is one of those tunes that, as it is simple, can reach 250-60+ Bpm crothet/beat.

sorry, those triplets are shared out over the first TWO notes, AAG#.

I have tried and failed to enjoy this tune.

Quebeckers tend to see it as their own

I tend to agree with you KatabaticPat. Not all Devil tunes are good tunes but if you go for it like the devil you might make it good.
It’s its suitability for improvisations that makes it so popular. Like the Mason’s Apron, it can sound really mad or mediocre according to mood and player.

I believe it has wide currency on the other side of the Main: eg:

I’d start it like this: <e2f2f2||agae agae|agae fedc|> stead of <e2|eaga eaga|eaga fedc|>

Definitely a hornpipe

There is absolutely no question at all (at least in my mind) that this is a hornpipe. OK, sure, the way it is typically played is more like a reel - hard and fast without any swing - but it still has that traditional hornpipe structure.

I go through the hornpipe section of O’Neill’s, Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (another 1000 tunes) and the King Street Sessions Tunebook (another 1000 tunes), and you see page after page in the Hornpipes sections where the body of the tune is almost completly eighth notes, and the ending is a measure of 3 quarter notes. (In Ryan’s it’s usually sixteenth and eighth notes - but same idea.) And a very typical last three notes would be of the form A A A, A B B, or A B A.

So, what’s the form of Devil’s dream? A bunch of eighth notes ending in a measure of quarter notes of the pattern A B B. If the tune was more typically played with some swing, would we even be having this discussion? The way it’s usually play (and the way I play it at 120 bpm) makes you think reel, but the format is definely hornpipe.

Well, since that’s definitely the last word on the subject 🙂, I’m off to have a Guinness…

Maybe now, but…..

It may have morphed into a hornpipe in certain quarters but this is most definitely derived from the Scottish reel “Devil Among the Tailors”, which pre-dates O’Niell’s and the Ryan’s collection quite considerably.

Actually, I take back the “most definitely” bit. I don’t suppose we can be sure of these tunes origins pre these 19th century collections.

De’il Amang The Tailors

Two variation sets, X:5 from Kerr’s Vol 4, X:6 from Scott Skinner’s Scottish Violinist.

De’ll Among The Tailors - reel

I started playing this on the piano-accordeon again after 30 years. thought I’d better download the music.

The dulicmer player plays it as an extra-fast reel, and it sounds as though he got the version from the same source as me - Jimmy Shand, though Jimmy would not have gone so fast.

I think Jimmy used it as a signature-tune sometimes, as Sean Maguire used to do with
The Moving Cloud.

I got hooked on this when still at school, listening to the lunch-time programmes on the then
Radio Eireann in Dublin. they used to play Shand quite often - he was much better to listen to than the local ceilidh bands then available.

Although I used to attend accordion & fiddle clubs in Fife regularly when I was living there, I never heard this played as a hornpipe.

James D, Greven, Germany

“The dulicmer player plays it as an extra-fast reel, and it sounds as though he got the version from the same source as me - Jimmy Shand, though Jimmy would not have gone so fast. “-lanjppd

Thanks. According to the album liner notes, Chet Parker said nearly all of his tunes came from three sources, all fiddle books: E. T. Root’s “Gems Of The Ballroom,” Elias Howell’s “An Instruction For Fiddle,” and Cuberan’s book of quadrilles “Pride Of The Ballroom.” I don’t own any of these books so I don’t know if he learnt Devil’s Dream from one of those or some other source as Jimmy Shand. But there seems to be as many version of Devil’s Dream as there are people who play it. I play it in AABBAA form at more of a hornpipe speed.

David E.


What really pisses me off on this tune comment section and other tunes is that contributors make comments and then say watch the video clip attached. Then you click on the thing and it says “THIS VIDEO IS PRIVATE” So what he hell is its shadow doing here. Well Birlibirdie ==explain???