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Drum Beatings for a typical day in a Revolutionary War camp.
Based on the following resources:
The Compleat Tutor For The Fife; Thompson & Son: London, 1759 Entire New and Compleat Instructions for the Fife; Longman & Broderip: London, 1780 Young Drummers Assistant; Longman & Broderip: London, 1780-82?
The fife music is presented as it appears in the above mentioned sources.The drum music is based on sound music theory and instructions presented in Young Drummers Assistant. For more information, please see "Of Putting Down the Notes. . ." in the Practical Guide to 18th Century Drumming.
Audio on this site is digitally synthesized with Anvil Studio. Midi Out Port intended for: Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synthesizer. The playback quality is dependent on your computer's soundcard.
If upon review, the reader can provide superior evidence as to the authenticity of material, we would be pleased to be so advised.
Click on "Drum Tacks" for our interpretation of the written music.
Drummers Call: Beat by duty drummer (& fifer) to assemble drummers & fifers just prior to the Reveiller.
The Reveiller: Beat as soon as the day began to dawn. This marked the beginning of the day. (Time differed as to geographic location and season.)
Note: If the regiment was to march, The Reveiller was replaced with the beating of
The General. Shortly (usually 30 minutes) after beating The General, The Assembly was beat, replacing The Troop. The troops marched to The March.
Adjutant's Call: Beat to mark the beginning of The Troop.
The Troop: Beat generally about nine or ten o'clock AM for roll call, inspection and the day's "orders." This was the most important formation (ceremony) of the day.
[First] Sergeants Call: Beat after dismissal from The Troop (usually 30 minutes) to assemble the first sergeants of each company for "orders."
- OR -
All Noncommissioned Officers Call: Beat to assemble all sergeants and corporals for "orders."
The Pioneer's March: Beat after First Sergeants Call (usually 30 minutes) to signal any fatigue party specified in the "orders."
The Retreat Beat at sunset to assemble the men for roll call and evening "orders." (Time differed as to geographic location and season.)
Note: No beating of the drum to occur after The Retreat except in the case of an alarm in which case the duty drummer would beat
The Tattoo: Beat at nine o'clock PM in the fall/winter and ten o'clock PM in the spring/summer.
Note: The Tattoo was never beat in camp. It was only played where troops were garrisoned (in forts) or quartered (in towns). This signaled local innkeepers to "turn off the taps," selling no more liquor for the day.
The Continental Army, not having mess halls or designated times for meals; left cooking and eating to the individual groups (tents) of soldiers. The call Go For Provisions was played to signal that provisions, in their raw form, were ready to be issued to the men. There were also calls such as To Go For Wood and To Go For Water These calls would be beat to signal to those troops wanting wood or water to form a detachment and "fetch" such.
One may also have heard the beating of The Rogues March, played while "drumming" an undesirable out of camp. This would most likely have occured sometime during The Troop.
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