The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums | Echoes of Revolution

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Echoes of Revolution

by The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums

When the eighteenth-century fifers and drummers found music they especially liked, they wrote the tunes down in manuscripts. Some have become favorites of our visitors. We hope you will find some familiar tunes—some of your favorites—in this collection.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. York Marsch
2:12 $0.99
2. The Royal Bird Medley: Royal Bird / Count Brown's March / Byrd's Flourish / Devil's Dream / Marionettes
4:44 $0.99
3. Trooping: Cotillion the Gesuit / Ruins of Athens
2:27 $0.99
4. Edinburgh Slow Medley: Edinburgh Slow (I'd Think On Thee, My Love) / Dornock Links / Drummond Castle / East Nook of Fife
3:13 $0.99
5. Trooping: Scipio / The Races
3:16 $0.99
6. Duke of Perth & Reel of Tollock Medley: Duke of Perth / Reel of Tollock / New Rigg'd Ship / Drum Intro, Bung Your Eye / Smith's Hornpipe
3:20 $0.99
7. Inspections: Westering Home / Rhu Waternish
3:16 $0.99
8. Over the Water to Charlie
2:47 $0.99
9. Movements from Handel's Water Music: Hornpipe / Bouree
3:27 $0.99
10. Chester Medley: Chester Slow / Chester Quick / Yankee Doodle
2:51 $0.99
11. Rondeau By Mouret
1:49 $0.99
12. Janizary's Medley: Janizary's March / Cuckoo's Nest / Washington's March / Pleasures of Spa
4:18 $0.99
13. Fife Solos: Drummond's Rant / Carlen, Is Your Daughter Ready? (Reprise)
1:31 $0.99
14. German Airs Medley: March / Tattoo / Nightpiece
10:21 $0.99
15. Gavottes: Gavotte / Gavota (Air)
3:33 $0.99
16. The Greenwood Medley: Jigg / Allamande / Reel / Master Linley's Hornpipe
2:16 $0.99
17. Baltimore Medley: Baltimore / Duncan's Dance / Washington's March / Valley Forge
2:36 $0.99
18. Thomas Liexslip Medley
3:18 $0.99
19. The Rocky Road to Dublin Medley: Rocky Road to Dublin / Costla Bay / Yorkshire Bite / Quickstep 25th Regiment / Black Mary's Hornpipe
2:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With the onset of war in 1775, Virginia began to train an army to defend against a British invasion. Fifers and drummers were an important part of the eighteenth-century military. Just as Virginia enlisted soldiers and stockpiled arms and ammunition, it also trained fifers and drummers to work with soldiers in the field.
Alexandria, June 12, 1775
THE Subscribers would willingly learn any Number of Boys the MILITARY MUSICK of the FIFE and DRUM; and also supply any Persons with Musick for the said Instruments. Gentlemen desirous of having Pupils instructed may depend on the greatest Attention being paid to them. Our Terms are half a Guinea Entrance, and a Guinea per Month for each Instrument.
In 1778 Virginia needed soldiers to protect the capital city of Williamsburg. The General Assembly established the Virginia State Garrison Regiment, which served in tidewater Virginia, stationing troops at Hampton, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. Fifers and drummers served with the enlisted men of this regiment. We estimate the regiment’s field music numbered some twenty-two players. The state’s Public Store Records even provide details about the musicians’ uniforms.
For sundries to make 10 suits of clothes for the Drummers &
Fifers in sd Regimt. Del. Sgt Graves
12 ½ Yds. Red Cloth @ 18 …………..225.0.0
1 ¼ Yds. Ditto @ 20 ……………………..25.0.0
12 ¾ Yds. buff Ditto @ 110/-……..75.12.6

3 ½ ditto Blue Ditto @ 16……………56.0.0
30 double doz. Buttons @ 6/-………9.0.0
2 ½ lb. thread @ 18/-…………………..2.5.0
22 ½ Yds. Shalloon @ 12/9d ..………..14.6.10 ½
50 Yds red ditto @ 10/9d…………26.17.6
Twist of Mohar……………………………..15.0

The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums—also known as the Field Music of the Virginia State Garrison Regiment—carries forward this tradition of military music. Since 1958, visitors in the Historic Area have enjoyed the corps’s performances and experienced the history of America’s Revolution. Like their colonial counterparts, Colonial Williamsburg’s field musicians are young boys. Drawn from a waiting list of community applicants, boys start their education in military music at age ten. For the next eight years, they practice weekly and present more than seven hundred performances each year. The corps members talk with the public about the role of music in the eighteenth-century military. They teach younger corps members the music and history needed to continue the tradition of the corps. Members graduate from the Fife and Drum Corps at age eighteen. It is a truly remarkable group of young Americans. Colonial Williamsburg is justifiably proud of each member, past and present.


In the eighteenth century, fifes and drums were the infantry’s signal instruments. They relayed the commander’s orders to soldiers in camp and on the field of battle. When the army moved, fifers and drummers provided music for the march.
Drums belong to the oldest instrumental family. The armies of eighteenth-century Europe used snare drums to regulate military movements. The basic component of the eighteenth-century drum is a rolled cylinder of wood called a shell. Usually the diameter of the shell equals its depth (16 inches or 17 inches by 17 inches, for example). Drum heads, made from animal skins, are stretched across the top and bottom of the shell and held on by wooden hoops. Ropes lace these hoops together along the sides of the shell. Across the bottom drum head, twisted pieces of animal gut called snares are stretched to provide the instrument with a crisp, distinguishable sound.

In the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the European military began using bass drums. These large barrel drums had been popular with Turkish armies for many years. British, German, and French soldiers who fought in the American Revolution were familiar with the sound of these instruments. The musical taste of enemies and allies influenced American musicians. It appears that as the war continued, Americans began adopting the use of the bass drum.

The fife first appeared in the fourteenth century. Swiss mercenaries popularized the instrument, and for many years, the fife served as the European military accompaniment for the drum. The instrument fell out of favor during the seventeenth century and nearly disappeared, replaced by the hautbois (an ancestor of the oboe). In the 1750’s, the fife regained its popularity. By the time of the American Revolution, both the British and Americans had adopted it to accompany the field snare drum. The fife is a simple flute, a cylindrical, side-blown instrument with six finger holes and no keys. The best woods for the instrument are hardwoods (rosewood, boxwood, and cocobolo). It is a limited instrument, and most music for it is written in the keys of G, D, and A. The fife was very effective on the file of battle because its high, shrill sound carried a long way.


Eighteenth-century fifers and drummers had a world of music to draw from. Printing presses produced hundreds of music books that they could use. They selected tunes from the musical theater, popular songs, and dance music that soldiers knew and enjoyed. When the musicians found music they especially liked, some wrote the tunes down in manuscripts. We are lucky that some of these manuscripts survive today. For almost forty years, the musicians and music directors of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums have collected and arranged these popular melodies.

In re-creating the music of eighteenth-century America, some tunes have become old standards for modern-day fifers and drummers. Some have become favorites of our guests and visitors. We hope you will find some familiar tunes—some of your favorites—in this collection. We also hope you will find some pieces that are new and exciting. As we continue to study the music and sounds of the past, we learn more about the music and the people who played it. Of particular note are the tunes from Forty Airs for Two Violins, German Flutes or Guittars, Consisting of Tattoo’s, Nightpieces & Marches as they are Performed in the Hessian and Prussian Armies, published in London in 1758. It offers us a rare look at the music Hessians and Germans brought with them as they served in America during the Revolutionary War.


1. York Marsch, from Ludwig van Beethoven’s March No. 1 in F Major, 1809
2. The Royal Bird Medley
Royal Bird, Greenwood MS, 1775
Count Brown’s March, Holyoke, The Instrumental Asst., I, 1807
Byrd’s Flourish
Devil’s Dream, Cushing, The Fifer’s Companion. No. 1 Containing
Instructions for Playing the fife, and a Collection of Music, Consisting
of Marches, Airs & c., ca 1804
Marionettes, Skillern, Compleat Instructions for the Fifth, ca. 1780

Cotillion the Gesuit, Greenwood MS, 1775-1776
Ruins of Athens, Beethoven, 1811

4. Edinburgh Slow Medley
Edinburgh Slow (I’d Think on Thee, My Love), The Edinburgh Musical
Miscellany, ca. 1792
Dornock Links, Traditional
Drummond Castle, Neil Gow, A Second Collection of Strathspey Reels, & c.,
ca. 1804
East Nook of Fife, Aird, A Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs
Adapted to The fife, Violin or German-Flute, I, ca. 1778

Scipio, Handel and St. Martini, Warlike Musick Book II, being a Choice
Collection of Marches & Trumpet Tunes for a German Flute, Violin or
Harpsichord, ca. 1760
The Races, Cushing, The Fifer’s Companion. No. 1, ca. 1804
6. Duke of Perth, Reel of Tollock Medley
Duke of Perth, Reel of Tollock, Drummond Castle MS, ca. 1734
New Rigg’d Ship, Neil Gow, A Second Collection of Strathspey Reels, ca.
Drum Intro, bung Your Eye, Aird, A Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and
Foreign Airs, I, ca. 1778
Smith’s Hornpipe, Ashworth, A New Useful and Complete system of
Drumbeating, ca. 1812

7. Inspections
Westering Home, Traditional
Rhu Waternish, Traditional

8. Over the Water to Charlie, Jonathan Fentum, The Compleat Tutor for the
German Flute, ca. 1770

9. Movements from Handel’s Water Musick, 1717

10. Chester Medley
Chester slow, Chester quick, William Billings, The Singing Master’s
Assistant, ca. 1778
Yankee Doodle, Carr, Evening Amusement containing Fifty Air’s, Song’s,
Duett’s, Dances, Hornpipe’s, Reel’s, Marches, Minuett & c, & c for 1 and 2 German Flutes or Violin, ca. 1796
William Billings wrote “Chester” for four-part choir. We have adapted the tune for fife, then transposed the melodic line for a quick march tempo. The medley ends with the popular tune “Yankee Doodle.”

11. Rondeau by Mouret, 1729
This section is from Fanfare for the Trumpet, Timbales, Violin and Oboe,
First Suite, by Jean-Joseph Mouret. It has been arranged for three-part

12. Janizary’s Medley
Janizary’s March, Carr, Military Amusement: A Collection of Twenty Four of
the most Favorite Marches, ca. 1796
Cuckoo’s Nest, Beck MS, ca. 1786
Washington’s March, Lovering, The Drummer’s Assistant or the Art of
Drumming Made Easy, 1818
Pleasures of Spa, Cushing, The Fifer’s Companion. No. 1, ca. 1804

13. Fife Solos
Drummond’s Rant, Traditional
Carlen, Is Your Daughter Ready? Edward Murphy MS, 1790

14. German Airs, Forty Airs for Two Violins, German Flutes or Guittars,
Consisting of Tattoo’s Nightpieces & Marches as they are Performed in the Hessian and Prussian Armies, 1758
Index 1. March Medley, Number 23, 25, 34
Index 2. Tattoo Medley, Numbers 10, 6, 27
Index 3. Nightpiece Medley, Numbers 32, 28, 15

15. Gavottes
Gavotte by G. P. Telemann, 1723
Gavota (Air) by G. F. Handel, Bolling MS, ca. 1750

16. The Greenwood Medley, Greenwood MS, ca. 1775-1776
Master Linley’s Hornpipe
These are four popular dances from the late eighteenth century found in
the Greenwood Manuscript.

17. Baltimore Medley
Baltimore Fife part: Greenwood MS, ca. 1775-1776. Drum part: Benjamin
Clark Drum Book, 1797
Duncan’s Dance. Fife part: Aird, A Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and
Foreign Airs, I, ca. 1778. Drum part: Gardener MS, ca. 1782
Washington’s March, Gardener MS, ca. 1782
Valley Forge. Fife part: Anonymous MS (Hay 2), ca. 1797. Drum part:
Gardener MS, ca. 1782
These four pieces are original eighteenth-century fife and drum scores. Most drum music was learned phonetically, so there are few written drum manuals of the eighteenth century. We have tried to stay true to the music by having an equal number of fifers and drummers, the ideal ratio during the Revolution.

18. Thomas Liexslip Medley, O’Neill Collection

19. The Rocky Road to Dublin Medley
Rockey Road to Dublin, Traditional
Costla Bay, Traditional
Yorkshire Bite, Traditional
Quickstep 25th Regiment, Aird, A Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and
Foreign Airs, II, ca. 1785
Black Mary’s Hornpipe, Edward Murphy MS, 1790


1. York Marsch
2. The Royal Bird Medley
3. Trooping: Cotillion the Gesuit, Ruins of Athens
4. Edinburgh Slow Medley
5. Trooping: Scipio, The Races
6. Duke of Perth, Reel of Tollock Medley
7. Inspections
8. Over the Water to Charlie
9. Movements from Handel’s Water Musick
10. Chester Medley
11. Rondeau by Mouret
12. Janizary’s Medley
13. Fife Solos
14. German Airs
Index 1. March Medley
Index 2. Tattoo Medley
Index 3. Nightpiece Medley
15. Gavottes
16. The Greenwood Medley
17. Baltimore Medley
18. Thomas Liexslip Medley
19. The Rocky Road to Dublin Medley


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

Fifers Ryan Carey Keven Wells Preston Sharp
Chris Redd Brian Kline Booth Hardy Adam Coleman
Dave Mitchell Paul DeRose John Hagee Daniel Scruggs
James Davis Justin Cullivan Tyler Hawks
Todd Ellis Carter Hammond Jason Purse The Staff
Peter Berquist Alexander Haislip Stewart Pittman Timothy E. Sutphin
Brad Bonhoff Michael Baron Benjamin Pickin Musical Director/
Rob Bradenham Christoph Fehrenbach John Baron Arranger
Patrick Avery Drummers Kevin Birocco Lance Pedigo
Anthony Jackson Charles White Jarratt Harvell Assistant Musical
Matt Griffin Jay Nelson Jonathan Wade Director/Arranger
Jonathan Owen Chris Challoner James Smith

We would like to thank former directors and corps members who, over the years, helped arrange many of the pieces found on this recording: John C. Moon, William E. White, Herbert Watson, Todd Johnson, Jack Underwood, Kevin Garland, and Charles White.

Tim Sutphin joined the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums at the age of ten. He marched with the corps to Yorktown in 1981 and performed for the 1983 Economic Summit in Williamsburg. He graduated from the corps in 1983. Tim earned his degree in American history from East Tennessee State University in 1988. He returned to the fife and Drum corps as an instructor in 1988 and took over leadership of the corps in 1991. Tim is currently involved in outreach programs to schools, where he teaches the importance of field music to students and serves as a clinician in eighteenth-century field music for other fife and drum corps throughout the nation.

Lance Pedigo entered the corps in 1972 at the age of nine and graduated in 1981. Lance received a bachelor of music degree with a performance concentration from James Madison University. Lance has been a member of Disney’s All-American College Marching Band, the 1984 Summer Olympics All-American Marching Band, the 1985 Presidential Inaugural Band, and the All-American Statue of Liberty Band. Lance returned to Colonial Williamsburg in 1991 to serve as supervisor for the corps. He currently performs with the early music ensemble Capriole as well as serving as a clinician and private teacher.

Following the tradition of digital recording that began with Colonial Williamsburg’s first compact disc release in 1985, Echoes of Revolution was digitally recorded and mastered. The outdoor sound of this recording most closely re-creates the sound and ambiance of the Historic Area familiar to our visitors and was captured using the Schoeps Sphere stereo microphone system and digital multi-track technology.

Production Credits for Colonial Williamsburg
Executive Producer Richard McCluney
Production Manager Michael C. Durling
Musical Director/Arranger Tim Sutphin
Assistant Musical Director/
Arranger Lance Pedigo
Art Director Helen Mageras
Photography Tom Green
Notes Tim Sutphin,
Bill White

For Noble Creek Production Services Inc.
Producer/Recording Engineer Michael L. Puckett
Production Manager Joanne H. Puckett
Assistant Engineer Jorin Hood
Production Assistant Daniel Schmidt
Mastering Masterfonics

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

©1996 by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation



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