The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums | Marching Out of Time

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Marching Out of Time

by The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums

The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg are world renowned military and field music performers. This collection of compound and common time signatures researched from early manuscripts proves that colonial military units performed complex music.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hornpipe Medley: Old Lancashire Hornpipe / Hornpipe by Purcell / Hornpipe by Mr. Festing / Reprise Hornpipe by Purcell
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
4:16 $0.99
2. Farewell to Lochaber: Lochaber No More / Hot Punch
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:06 $0.99
3. Irish Walking Tunes: Paddy Whack / Irish Widow / The Sheep Shearers / William Glen / Sir Roger De Coverly / Andrew Cary / I'll Towzel Your Kurchey
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:39 $0.99
4. Retreat Marches: Night Piece Number 28 / McGregor of Rora / Flow Gently Sweet Afton
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
4:34 $0.99
5. Watkin's Ale: Watkin's Ale / Before I Was Married
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:02 $0.99
6. Beggar's Opera Medley: A Blind Lover / A Virgin of 15 Years / The Merry Meeting
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:04 $0.99
7. The Troop: Singlings & Doublings of the Troop / O'Carolan's Lament / The Jolly Pedlar
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:43 $0.99
8. The Dusty Miller: The Dusty Miller / Miss Eleanor Kerr's Reel / Reprise The Dusty Miller
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:15 $0.99
9. A Quickstep Medley: The McKenzie Highlanders / The Drunken Piper / The 74th Highlanders
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:12 $0.99
10. Mill Hill Troopings: Singlings & Doublings / Mill Hill / Light Horse March
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:43 $0.99
11. Incidental Music: Music for the Royal Fireworks / A Trumpet Tune
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:00 $0.99
12. O'Carolan Medley: Planxty George Brabazon / The Grassy Turf / Mrs. Po'er
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
3:16 $0.99
13. The Long March: Lord Dunmore's Delight / Open Beating-Caledonian / The New Coldstream March / Open Beating-Philidor / Gavotte by Corelli
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
5:24 $0.99
14. Three French Dances: Rondeau Gracieusement / Sauteuse / Rigadoun
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:47 $0.99
15. Zapfenstreich: Coburg Marsch / Altbayerischer / Zapfenstreich
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
4:26 $0.99
16. Faery Dance Medley: The Faery Dance / Lass of Patie's Mill / Tail Toddle
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:16 $0.99
17. Gavot Medley: La Royal Loverie Gavot / Air By Montclair / La Nouvella Angloise
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:46 $0.99
18. Kelvin Grove: Kelvin Grove / Johnny Scobie / Wha Saw the 42nd?
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
2:11 $0.99
19. Fy Gar Trooping: Fy Gar Rub Her O'er With Straw
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
4:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
About the Corps

Raised by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in the Capitol building in 1778, the Virginia State Garrison Regiment came into being. Its field musick, the fifes and drums, were well uniformed and outfitted. According to the Williamsburg public stores records, the field musick numbered some twenty-four players.

Today’s corps of fifers and drummers was raised in 1958 to support the reenactment militia programs presented in the Historic Area for the education and enjoyment of visitors to Colonial Williamsburg. The young members are drawn from a waiting list of applicants, who usually spend nine years in learning their art both formally and phonetically, and graduate from the senior corps when they graduate from high school.

Presenting some six hundred and fifty public performances each year, the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg (the Field Musick of the Virginia State Garrison Regiment) are an important living artifact, easily recognizable as the embodiment of Colonial Williamsburg’s living history programs.

All of the music, both on this recording and in the Historic Area itself, has been researched and documented as authentic to the period. The arrangements are by staff members and corps members.

About the Music

In eighteenth-century Europe the practice was to label those time signatures whose numerator was a multiple of 3 (e.g., 3 3 6 9 12) “compound” time.
2 4 8 8 8
Those tune signatures whose numerators were a multiple of 2 were labeled “simple” or “common” time. The modern assumption is that military music, designed for marching, must be in “common” time signature, yet the music presented in Part One was used by colonial military units and has been chosen for its “compound” complexities. Selections in Part Two are presented as conventional and therefore contrasting “common” marches. Another unfortunate assumption is that those fifers and drummers in the eighteenth century only played “Yankee Doodle” and “that other one.” This, our third recording of period military music, dramatically disproves this theory. The pleasure of searching for, finding, and arranging music from early manuals and manuscripts is only matched by the opportunity to bring it back to life and play it on the streets of Williamsburg in such vigorous fashion.

About the Instruments

Until the 1780s, American military music was performed by the lowly fife and drum, although “bands of musick” were being formed (and paid for) by senior officers of the Continental Line. The fife was well known in Switzerland in the fourteenth century and was widely used as a martial signal instrument throughout Europe, from which it was introduced to America. A cylindrical, side-blown flute with six finger holes and no keys, it is in a mixolydian mode producing two false notes in its natural scale. The E in the upper register is particularly untrue, yet once accepted, the modal sound is not unpleasant. Most fife music was and is written in D or G. As this limits the scope of arranging, and as intonation problems preclude the possibility of playing pianissimo in tune, the dynamic production of the ensemble depends almost exclusively on the drums.

The drum belongs to the oldest instrumental family in existence. The snare and bass drums are replicas of eighteenth-century field drums used by both American and European forces. As was the custom, they are made of ash shells and hoops with calfskin heads and gut snare and are beaten by wooden mallets in a rudimentary style. They are of indefinite pitch.

Part One (The Compounds)

[1] Hornpipe Medley
Old Lancashire Hornpipe Listed in Chappel, Vol.II
Hornpipe by Purcell Ferguson Collection, ca. 1693
Hornpipe by Mr. Festing Stewart’s Select Collection, ca. 1788
Reprise, Hornpipe by Purcell
A set of hornpipes. These English pieces were used as dances as well as marches.

[2] Farewell to Lochaber
Lochaber No More Listed in the Scots Musical Museum
Hot Punch Listed in the Scots Musical Museum
Lochaber is an old traditional lament often used at military funerals when approaching the gravesite. Hot Punch, a light quickstep, is used to depart the graveside.

[3] Irish Walking Tunes
Paddy Whack Skillern, ca. 1790
Irish Widow Skillern, ca. 1790
The Sheep Shearers Thompson, 1792
William Glen New Coventry Dances, 1711
Sir Roger De Coverly Aird, 1788
Andrew Cary New Coventry Dances, 1711
I’ll Towzel Your Kurchey Aird, 1782
A medley of Irish and English pieces found as songs, ballads, dances, and walking tunes. Although the compound time signatures change, the marching rhythm and the tempo remain constant.

[4] Retreat Marches
Night Piece Number 28 Tattoos and night pieces, 1758
McGregor of Rora Listed in the Scots Musical Museum
Flow Gently Sweet Afton Listed in Childs, Vol.1
Three retreat marches, traditionally slower and more stately. The first retreat is a German military duty call, the second is a Scottish pipe tune, and the third is a Welsh ballad adaptation.

[5] Watkin’s Ale
Watkin’s Ale Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, II
Before I Was Married Anon, fife manuscript, ca. 1790
Two old English songs used in ballad operas, folk song repertoire, and dance accompaniment. The change in tempo mirrors the military review movement of breaking from slow time into quick time.

[6] Beggar’s Opera Medley
A Blind Lover Oswald, ca. 1756
A Virgin of 15 Years John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera
The Merry Meeting Oswald, ca 1756
English traditional ballads were borrowed extensively by publishers of instrument manuals printed in London and Glasgow. These three six-eight pieces form a pleasant medley to help uplift dispirited marchers.

[7] The Troop
Singlings and Doublings of the Troop John Moon
O’Carolan’s Lament O’Neil Collection
The Jolly Pedlar O’Neil collection
Here is a trooping sequence inspired by Irish slip jigs. The featured change of tempo into a nine-eight presents a medley of slip jigs performed segue, including “Jolly Gaypedlar,” “Silvermore,” “A Blast of Wind,” and “A Fig for a Kiss.” It is difficult during research to pass by such provocative titles.

[8] The Dusty Miller
The Dusty Miller Jenkins, ca. 1793
Miss Eleanor Kerr’s Reel Copper, ca. 1790
Reprise, The Dusty Miller
The original sources are from British dance music but both pieces are found in military manuals of the late 18th century. Fifers love to play unconventional and unpredictable reels and drummers have resigned themselves to indulging the fifers.

Part Two (The commons)

[9] A Quickstep Medley
The McKenzie Highlanders McDonald Collection, 1785
The Drunken Piper
The 74th Highlanders
The simple or common time signatures are naturally best for marching. These three Highland pip tunes are good examples of regimental marches.

[10] Mill Hill Troopings
Singlings and Doublings Traditional
Mill Hill Bremner, 1761
Light Horse March Longman & Lukey, ca. 1770
This is a sequence of military music designed to accompany a trooping of color ceremony. Various four movements some as intricate as those used in formal dancing, were regulated by music during such parade maneuvers.
[11] Incidental Music
Music for the Royal Fireworks G. F. Handel
A Trumpet Tune H. Purcell
Two examples of inspection or incidental music. The fife scores have been transcribed from military band scores of the period.

[12] O’Carolan Medley
Planxty George Brabazon O’Neil Collection
The Grassy Turf
Mrs. Po’er
A medley of tunes by the blind Irish harpist Turlogh O’Carolan (1670-1738). As early as 1727 many of O’Carolan’s melodies were being published in London. Here is music that lives on through the medium of field musick.

[13] The Long March
Lord Dunmore’s Delight Oswald, Caledonian, ca. 1781
Open Beating—Caledonian John Moon
The New Coldstream March Beck, 1786
Open Beating—Philidor John Moon
Gavotte by Corelli Bremner, 1765
A long march consisting of fife scores accompanied by drums and open beatings played on drums alone. Such accompaniments to troops marching from point to point have survived through this century.

[14] Three French Dances
Rondeau Gracieusement Partitions de Plusieur’s marches
Sauteuse Philidor MS, 1686
Three French tunes that appear again and again in instrumental manuals of the period, pointing out their popularity. The second and third tunes obviously doubled as dance music. Once scored for oboes, the lightness of French composition is retained in the arrangements.

[15] Zapfenstreich
Coburg Marsch Historichen Blatter, Heft 2
Altbayerischer Deisenroth
The Prussian equivalent of British regimental ceremonies is entitled “Zapfenstreich.” All of the pieces chosen are standard repertoire marches that transpose well into fife and drum scores.

[16] Faery Dance Medley
The Faery Dance Davies’s Caledonian Repository
Lass of Patie’s Mill
Tail Toddle
Three changes in tempi highlight this medley of Scottish dances. The fast reel or rant achieved in “Tail Toddle” is a challenge to the fifers’ and drummers’ manual skills.

[17] Gavot Medley
La Royal Loverie Gavot Aird, ca. 1782
Air By Montclair 6, Concerts for 3 flutes, D-dur
La Nouvella Angloise Aird, ca. 1782
Three French dances taken from both fife and German flute manuals of the late eighteenth century. Because of its rhythmic properties, dance music translates well into marching tunes.

[18] Kelvin Grove
Kelvin Grove Traditional
Johnny Scobie Traditional
Wha Saw the 42nd? Traditional
Three early songs associated with the city of Glasgow. Kelvin Grove is now a public park beside the river Kelvin, Johnny Scobie has the alternate title of “We’re No Awa Tae Bide Awa,” and the 42nd Regiment is the Black Watch.

[19] Fy Gar Trooping
Fy Gar Rub her O’er With Straw Bremner, ca 1765
An interesting transcription from The Harpsichord or Spinnet Miscellany that uses the theme as a slow march and the variations as a break into common march time.

The musicians are drawn from the Senior Corps playing strength including:

Thomas DeRose
Brady Hoak
Joel Weiss
Andrew Schaefer
Robert Pegg
David Pegg
Michael Sweeney
Scott Grafton
Andre Depuy
Steven Dorsey
David Tarleton
William White, Jr.
Chris Baxter
David Tooby
Greg Sawyer


Chris Burrows
Chris Herion
Mark Perry
Kai Kerner
Rob Helwig
Oliver Chappell
Stephen Elliott
Seth Wheeler
Michael Grazier
Matthew Leffler
Justin Billcheck
Jeff Brenegan
Shawn Owens

The Staff

Stephen T. Johnson

John P. Shoosmith

John C. Moon

Herbert E. Watson

Paul W. Vosteen

John Moon is a native of Ontario, Canada, and was brought up in Scotland. At the age of fourteen he enlisted in the Scots guards, an elite regiment, as a drummer boy. At twenty-three he was the youngest drum major in the entire history of the Brigade of Guards. In 1958 he was appointed Drummer to the Royal Household, a position he still enjoys, and in 1962 he achieved the position of Senior Drum Major of the Brigade of Guards and of the British Army. He became Musick Master of colonial Williamsburg in 1972 and was appointed director of Music in 1985. He is recognized internationally as an expert on eighteenth-century field musick and as an arranger of period drum scores.

The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg
Marching Out of Time

Production Credits

Richard L. McCluney, Jr. Executive Producer
Michael L. Puckett Producer/Engineer
James Survil Assistant Engineer
Dave Doody Photography
Brian Exton Additional Photography
Bill McAllister Special Effects
Diane Grant Production Secretary
John Moon, Musical Direction/Notes
Helen Mageras – Art Direction

Marching Out of Time
is also available on CD, WSC-118.
Contact: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation]
Distribution Center Post Office Box 1777
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-1776

All income from the sales of this recording is used for the purposes of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which operates the Historic Area of Williamsburg, and to carry forward its educational programs. Colonial Williamsburg welcomes private contributions. Friends interested in discussing gifts to the foundation are asked to contact the Director of Development: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, P. O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-1776.

Produced by
©1989 The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation



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