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khazzard2000

Dead March

In the section of Dundas on funeral parties, it states that the band are to play the 'Dead March'. Does anyone know what piece of music this actually refers to?
Ben Townsend

A thought: perhaps it refers to a genre rather than a specific score.
John Waller

Handel's 'Dead March' from Saul circa1738?
khazzard2000

Ben - a good point, perhaps the piece is chosen ad hoc.

The exact quote is "The party moves off in ordinary time, followed by the music, with drums muffled, playing the Dead March."

But with the use of the definite article and capitals I'm inclined to think there was a know piece of music called the Dead March.

John - this was my first supposition, excellent music (found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22BdaFiInrc), and has the right name.

My other thought was Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WKrAQkP6rU), though perhaps this is too early.

I wonder if there was not a specific piece written for the army and if this had survived anywhere; text or in current practice? Does the modern army have a march for funerals?

Eddie, have you seen anything among your collection of period bugle books etc?
Ben Townsend

In support of my suggestion, I would comment that there are multiple 'death marches, enough to constitute a genre, and as for the capitalisation, these are Georgians! Modern grammatical construction hails from the 1940s at best!
RVB

Dead March

Samuel Potter's (1815 ?) manual, The Art of Beating the Drum (which contains the camp calls, duty beatings, and so on) contains a drum score for "The Dead March".

In the notation to the score, Potter references the accompanying fife tune: "In the Dead march the drummers begin first. The fifers then play each part of the tune twice over-The drummers again and so on alternately."

This passage seems to reference a specific tune --- albeit perhaps one known specifically to, or favoured by, Potter.

Although I have not seen it, Potter's follow up manual, The Art of Playing the Fife (1817 ?), probably contains a musical score for this tune, arranged for the fife.

If anyone reading this posting has a copy of The Art of Playing the Fife (modern reprints are available), perhaps they could confirm whether a score for The Dead March is published in that volume and, perhaps, include a scan of the page?
RVB

With thanks to Toronto musician Andy Ballantyne, who has an academic interest in the music of 18th and early 19th century military bands and corps of drums, attached is a copy of the fife score for Potter's Dead March.

Notice the reference to the 104th psalm: "Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. ..."



Andy has also provided me with an mpeg4 file of himself playing the score on his reproduction fife, as directed; an ocatve lower. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I can attach that file to this posting. If you are interested in hearing the recording, you can post a private message to me and I will forward it to you by way of email.

I hope this proves to be of some interest.
Eddie

Just seen this and scanned the Dead March from Potters Art of playing the Fife - but RVB pipped me to the post ! Well done - I think that's your answer Kieran.
khazzard2000

Wow! Major thanks to RVB! Did not expect to get such a complete answer to this question.

I'll send a pm with my email.
privatecannon

You can't hear it really well, but this is a video of the Drums, Crown Forces 1812 playing the Dead March on the way to a memorial service.  I will see if I can find a better video of it.  They learned it for our recreation of Brock's funeral last year.

Chris McKay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KptwdGBh0n8
khazzard2000

Excellent stuff, thanks!

Any idea how the drums were muffled?
Eddie

From the present day Drummers Handbook  Infantry Training:


"Chapter 3-11 0358
When instructions have been received that drums are to be muffled and draped, the shell of the drum is to be completely covered with black cloth, open ended top and bottom, tied with tape, leaving sufficient playing surface to be beaten. The snares should be switched off so that the drums are dull and sombre. Drag ropes should be removed."

This appears to be the traditional way and I guess it has always been done in similar fashion.
Drum Majors also shroud their Staffs - except in the Guards.
Iain Dubh

Leaving Rhu Vaternish = Dead March

All,
While I would hate to contradict Chris, who is a fellow Royal Highlander, a fellow Royal Scot (although, in that impression, he rins aboot wi' ra Licht Bobs), and also on Crown Forces North America Staff... I'm going to do it anyway while he is off defending British North America at the 200th of Chrysler's Farm this weekend.
The slow air played by the 1812 Drums on the clip is actually an old Pipe tune called Leaving Rhu Vaternish. I spoke to the bandmaster of the Drums after the event, and feels the song is very old, but he is not completely sure if it is old enough for our period. I think it does work well as a Dead March, but then, I'm rather biased... I've been playing the tune on the Pipes since the '70's...
Sorry Mr McKay... guess I will be reporting with the other Defaulters as usual?
Aye,
Iain
Eamonn

Dead March in Saul

In "The History of Lord Seaton's Regiment", 52nd Regiment officer William Leeke writes the following about the funeral of his servant George Soones:

"The "Dead March in Saul," which I had never heard before, was sounded very nicely, by our two buglers, who preceded the corpse, and had a very solemn effect."

This indicates that Handel's piece "Dead March" from Saul was used at funerals, as John Waller has suggested. However, the fact that it was unfamiliar indicates that, at least Leeke's experience, this work was not played very often.
Eddie

Re: Dead March in Saul

Eamonn wrote:
In "The History of Lord Seaton's Regiment", 52nd Regiment officer William Leeke writes the following about the funeral of his servant George Soones:

"The "Dead March in Saul," which I had never heard before, was sounded very nicely, by our two buglers, who preceded the corpse, and had a very solemn effect."

This indicates that Handel's piece "Dead March" from Saul was used at funerals, as John Waller has suggested. However, the fact that it was unfamiliar indicates that, at least Leeke's experience, this work was not played very often.


Thank for that Eamonn - I knew I had read that somewhere but couldn't find it - page number?
The notation on a standard bugle could not cope with playing this tune - so these must have been Royal Kent or Keyed bugles -  which the Band of the 52nd used to effect entertaining the locals in the Champs D'Eysees during the occupation of Paris. As such I would have thought these performers were Bandsmen/Musicians rather then Buglers.
Eamonn

Hi Eddie.

The passage mentioning the Death March in Saul is on page 214 of Part 1 of the 1866 Hatchard edition.

A digital version can be found on Google Books: http://books.google.ca/books?id=o...h%20march%20in%20saul&f=false

Yes, a keyed bugle would be necessary for these tunes.

My understanding is that the 52nd's buglers had keyed bugles. They were not part of the band but rather ordinary company musicians. Leeke in his accounts identifies the band and the bugles as separate entities, indicating that the keyed buglers weren't part of the band.

The regiment I re-enact, the 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment, also had buglers in place of drummers as company musicians. It is clear that they played keyed bugles because Lieutenant John Le Couteur mentioned in his account that the buglers played "The Girl I Left Behind Me", a song which requires an instrument that can play a full chromatic scale. However, I am unsure whether they also carried less delicate standard bugles for field use.

It would be great to have a reproduction of a keyed bugle for songs such as the Death March in Saul or "See the Conquering Hero Comes". Alas, the cost is prohibitive!  

Eamonn
Eddie

Eamonn - interesting - though while obviously the calls could be sounded on a keyed bugle the instrument would not last two minutes in the skirmish line without damage - I can't see them actually being carried into action by Buglers.

And if I may be permitted to stray a little off the topic -you use the term "company musician". Where does this come from?
The ACW I think used the term "Field Musician"

In the British Army "Buglers/Drummers/Fifers and Pipers"  are completely different  animals than "Musicians/Bandsmen"  - that is the case today and as far as I am aware it has always been that way.
Eamonn

Eddie wrote:
Eamonn - interesting - though while obviously the calls could be sounded on a keyed bugle the instrument would not last two minutes in the skirmish line without damage - I can't see them actually being carried into action by Buglers.

And if I may be permitted to stray a little off the topic -you use the term "company musician". Where does this come from?
The ACW I think used the term "Field Musician"

In the British Army "Buglers/Drummers/Fifers and Pipers"  are completely different  animals than "Musicians/Bandsmen"  - that is the case today and as far as I am aware it has always been that way.


Eddie, I think it's possible that buglers in these regiments carried both a regular bugle (perhaps for campaign/battle use) and a more delicate keyed bugle for use on parade.

As far as terminology goes, I meant company fifer/drummer/bugler by the term "company musician". They are not part of the "music"/band but I was using it as a neutral term that avoids specifying what instrument (bugle/fife/drum) they played.

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