A symphonic poem in G minor, Op. 40, composed by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1874. It was the third of Saint-Saëns' four "tone poems" and one of his most popular works. The Danse Macabre, or Dance of Death, was originally meant to be a song for voice and piano, but Saint-Saëns later modified it to be performed by an orchestra. (and Gorgonzola points out that he parodied "Danse Macabre" just a few years later in the "Fossils" section of his "Carnival of the Animals." Most of "Fossils" was performed on xylophone, no doubt creating images of some prehistoric Lucifer conjuring up a bunch of dancing dinosaur bones.)

Unlike many pieces of classical music in which the story is impossible to follow without a program, the story in Danse Macabre is quite clear. After the clock strikes midnight, the devil (Saint-Saëns originally meant it to be Death itself) tunes up his violin and fiddles up a waltz, conjuring up a dancing army of ghosts, skeletons, demons, and monsters. As the horrors frolic through the night, the waltz, with strings, xylophones, and woodwinds dominating, spirals to wilder and greater heights, until a rooster (actually an oboe) crows. As the sun starts to peep over the horizon, the spectral host scurry back to the graves, and the devil plays a mournful fiddle solo before he slinks back to hell.

Oh, and Stephen King wrote a nonfiction book on the art of horror called "Danse Macabre" back in the 1980s. It was nifty-keen, and nearly all of the books and movies he mentions are definitely worth checking out.

Research from www.allclassical.com and from listening to the song a lot.