The closing scene in the Fort Griffin saloon, with the fiddling Holden surrounded by dancers, completes the characterisation of the Judge as some Satanic Lord of Misrule, for the fiddle or violin has long held a folkloric association with the Devil.
While the Devil plays all instruments equally well, he seems to prefer the violin. He was said in the Middle Ages to own a violin with which he could set whole cities, grandparents and grandchildren, men and women, girls and boys, to dancing, dancing until they fell dead from sheer exhaustion.
(Maximilian Rudwin, The Devil in Legend and Literature)
This folk belief can be seen in traditional Norweigan weddings, where the fiddler accompaning the wedding procession was denied access to the church. The association between the violin or fiddle with the Devil also informs the legend of Giuseppe Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata (1713), inspired by a dream in which the Devil granted the composer the song in exchange for his soul.
Death, the devil’s first cousin, if not his alter ego, has the souls, in the Dance of Death, march off to hell to a merry tune on his violin.
(Maximilian Rudwin, Devil Stories)