|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
34 MILITARY MUSIC AND ITS STORY.
lowed would scarcely have tended to improve these drum and fife bands. But neither Tabourot nor Mark-ham could have meant all that they said, as the former has left us several worthy specimens of drum and fife music, whilst the latter devotes considerable space to the use of drums and fifes, and bears witness, moreover, that he knew of "no more sweet and solemn melody than that which the drum and flute afforded."
When the Commonwealth came, the English nation entered into what Matthew Arnold called "the prison of Puritanism," and all music other than psalms and hymns was considered profane. Ballad singers were arrested on the highways, and throughout the length and breadth of the land organs and other instruments were destroyed wholesale. Even the "waits" in the large corporate towns were suppressed. Although in the army they could not very well dispense with such important offices as the trumpeter and drummer, upon whom they relied for their "sounds" and "signals," they were looked upon as a sort of necessary evil.6 That almost indispensable appendage to the march— the fife, was banished from the service, whilst the drum major, no small item in the musical display (Aye ! there was the rub) was even considered an unnecessary office.
When the King "enjoyed his own again," a splendid cavalcade met him at St. George's Fields on the
' It is worth while noting that during' this period the military musician is frequently paid less than the private soldier, a most unusual tiling^—See tables of pay, etc., in Fortescue's "History of the British Army."