French composer Saint-Saens started this in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano using text by poet Henri Cazalis. In 1874 he altered it into its present form replacing the vocals with a solo violin. Danse Macabre is based on an old French superstition that on Halloween Death will call forth the dead from their graves. While he plays a violin, they will dance for him until the sun comes up when they must return to the grave for another year. Here is an interesting rendition of it using some nifty graphics.