Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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MILITARY MUSIC (15OO-17OO).                     31
their enemies, to summon their forts or towns, to redeem and conduct prisoners, and divers other messages, which of necessity requireth language. If such drums and fifes should fortune to fall into the hands of the enemies, no gift nor force should cause them to dis- * close any secrets that they know. They must oft, practise their instruments, teach the company the sound of the march, alarm, approach, assault, battle, retreat, skirmish, or any other calling that of necessity should be known. They must be obedient to the command­ment of their captain and ensign, when as they shall command them to come, go or stand, or sound their retreat or other calling."
These drum and fife bands were but poor affairs of a very dull kind, says Kappey.3 The side-drum was almost twice as large as the present instrument, and had no "snares," that rare contrivance that gives such a bright tone to the modern drum.4 The fife was non-chromatic and its manipulation very rudimentary. What music they played we have but a faint idea. The earliest music for the fife to be found in an English work is in " Mars, His Triumph," by J. B., which is a description of an exercise performed at the Merchants Taylors' Hall in 1638 by the Artillery Company of London. The music was played by one fife and two drums, and accompanied the manual and firing exer-
* Kappey, "Military Music." 'In the "Syntagma Musicum" of Pretorius, 1619, the side drum is shown with "snares."
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