Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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20                 MILITARY MUSIC AND ITS STORY.
Battle! Retreat! and Skirmish!6 We have no nota­tion of English signals (I believe) earlier than the eighteenth century. The Italians and French are more fortunate. The former have trumpet signals recorded in the collection of Girolamo Fantini (1636 or 1638), and the latter were honoured by Mersenne (1635), who included cavalry calls in his great work on music. Mr. Squire has noticed several musical compositions of an earlier period, such as Jannequin's "La Bataille," and his songs in Chemin's "Chansons" and Milano's "La Battaglia," and suggests that they contain mili­tary signals, the comparison of which would probably disclose points of interest between the French and Italian signals. Now, I suggest that this might be carried still further. England has several musical compositions of a like character, so let the comparison be extended to them. That interesting collection of virginal music known as " My Ladye Nevell's Booke" contains a section known as " Mr. Bird's Battel," com­posed by William Byrd towards the close of the six­teenth century. In this there are several pieces which may be counted upon as embodying military signals. Then there is a lute duet, "The Battle" (1616), and another duet, "The Battle of Harlow" (1635?), and an organ solo by Dr. Bull (1562-1628), "La Battaille." Some of these may throw light on the question.
Although not practised as a necessary asset to mili­tary discipline, the march may be traced back to the
'Grose, "Military Antiquities," 1801.
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