Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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days, who, in answering the French Marshal Biron's remark that "the English march being beaten by the drum was slow, heavy and sluggish," said : " That may be true, but slow as it is, it has traversed your master's country from one end to the other."7
Marshal de Saxe pointed out in his " Reveries " that the sound of the drum was something more than a mere noise, and that the entire military art depended upon its various cadences. When pipes and fifes were made to accompany the drum, the precise beat of the latter fell into neglect. Markham clearly saw this when he said : " It is to the voice of the drum that the soldier should wholly attend, and not to the air of a whistle."8 So serious did this inattention to the funda­mental drumbeats become, that in 1610 a Royal warrant was issued for the better regulation of the old English march. Here is the warrant which appears in Wal-pole's " Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors": "Whereas the ancient custome of nations hath ever bene to use one certaine and constant forme of March in the warres, whereby to be distinguished one from another. And the March of this our nation, so famous in all the honourable atchievements and glorious warres of this our kingdom in forraigne parts (being by the
'Hawkins, writing in 1776, says: "Notwithstanding the many late alterations in the discipline and exercise of our troops, and the introduction of fifes and other instruments into our martial music, it is said that the old English march is still in use with the foot."
•Markham, "Five Decades of Epistles of Warre," 1C22.
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