What we really need in the music side of the hobby is people actually thinking about what they're playing and where it came from. If your source is youtube or some other group's CD you really need to question what you're doing.
Most of the fife and drum music played at CW reenactments today comes from 3 sources: Bruce and Emmett, Colonial Williamsburg, and modern New England Fife and Drum Corps.
With a few exceptions, the music in Howe, Hart, Nevins, Keach, Klinehanse, and most importantly Scott's tactics is completely ignored.
We need more research like this, courtesy of Bill Bynum:
"The marching music came from their fifer whose favorite tune was 'St. Patrick's Day in the morning.'"
(Description of Hillsborough Border Guards, Loudoun County, Va., leaving home for camp of instruction in early May 1861, quoted in John E. Devine, 8th Virginia Infantry, 2nd edition, Lynchburg, 1983, unpaginated "Prologue")
How ridiculous it would be to think one would ever find a quote like "the drum corps played Hohenfriedberger's March and Old Dan Tucker (the bass drummers's favorite because he gets to play all those fancy solos)...then they went into Some Distance from Prussia, which the lead fifer learned from the Connecticut fifer who visited us from 100 years in the future with his time machine."
Now here's a decent youtube link. CW veteran drummers and fifers playing Girl I Left Behind Me. Of course it's a common version, not the fancy one from B&E played almost exclusively by reenactors.
Last edited by 33rdaladrummer; 02-16-2011 at 09:14 PM.
Last edited by 33rdaladrummer; 02-16-2011 at 09:17 PM.
My post wasn't tune specific (it's about performance and a wall of drums), and undoubtedly the numerous ex-Prussian Army soldiers in Federal service during the Amercian Civil War would have been very familiar with many tunes that you have NOT read about in any Fife and Drum manual (possibly ever).
Maybe I'm just tired of hearing one or two drummer's masquerading as a 'field musics'...when we need 12, 24, 50 drummers and 4, 8 , 12 fifers on the infield of a Brigade Review.....those walls of drummers in the Grand Review are quite a sight...and the beats + foot falls must have been thunderous.
One reason I like the bigger events....we get to hear real fife and drum 'corps' playing.....if we limit the musicians to those that can actually play....
Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
"But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "
"After which headed by the old colored Fifer Dennis to the air or tune of "Who'll Be King but Charlie," we moved off."
-The Civil War on the Outer Banks By Fred M. Mallison
'It was a solitary soldier, leisurely strolling towards Fort Corcoran in the rain, playing gaily on his fife, "Who'll be King but Charlie?" '
- New York Times, Nov. 19, 1861
You see, it's not all about what's in the manuals. The manuals are just one appropriate resource for researching tunes to play. Thinking that obscure (to Americans) Prussian tunes are fair game for fifers at CW events is simply conjecture. Where's your evidence that a single fifer played Hohenfriedberger's or any other Prussian March during the war? Why did you start this thread and post videos of modern French drummers and Prussian tunes? What place does that have on the Civil War Reenactors Discussion Forums?
So often people pick tunes they happen to like and THEN try to justify their use at reenactments when they should really be going directly to the primary sources (manuals, newspapers, regimental histories) to find out what may have been actually played 150 years ago.
If you're not being tune-specific then what specifically can a 13 year old kid learning to play the drum, fife, or bugle learn from these youtubes you're linking to?
Last edited by 33rdaladrummer; 02-17-2011 at 06:14 PM.
I'm baffled by these videos of modern musicians. I don't get the point. BTW, Who'll Be King But Charlie is one of the best (fiddle) tunes ever.