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Question About Performance of The Troop

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  • jkrause365
    Hello the List. This question is for U.S. forces. The Troop has been perplexing me for as long as I have been actively studying the music of the fife and
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16, 2010
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      Hello the List. This question is for U.S. forces. The Troop has been perplexing me for as long as I have been actively studying the music of the fife and drum. I am familiar with two sources of record from the 1812 era; Charles S. Ashworth, Drum Major of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1804-16 and Col. Alexander Smyth, dates unknown and author of "Regulations For The United States' Infantry." Both authors published their works in 1812. I have not consulted Duane, and von Steuben isn't too much help, either.

      Here is a direct quote from Drum Major Ashworth. "The Drummers' Call is beat by the leading drum five or ten minutes before the striking off of The Troop, Retreat, and Tattoo.....The Troop begins with the Three Rolls by drums and fifes. The Rising of the Troop is then beat by the leading drum without the fifes. The whole of the drums and fifes then strike in and go through with The Singlings twice or more times, when the signal (a poing stroke) is given from the right to commence The Doublings, which are repeated once or twoce through the tune when a similar signal to the last is given to repeat The Singlings until you roll off. Three Rolls and the first part of The Doublings ends The Troop." (A Poing Stroke is simply a heavily accented drum stroke.) ["A New, Useful, and Complete Stystem of Drum Beating" Ashworth, Charles Stewart; Washington D.C. 1812]

      Ashworth lists several fife tunes that may accompany a beating he calls "Singlings of the Troop, or Assembly." They are "The Dog and Gun", "Phyllis and Damon", and "When War's Alarm." Similarly, he lists two fife tunes to accompany The Doublings of the Troop; "Charming Molly" and an unidentified tune simply listed as "Doublings of the Troop."

      Turning to Smyth, is where attempts at reconciling these two authorities becomes confusing. Smyth says "Ten minutes before the hour prescribed for roll call, the orderly drummer will beat the Drummer's Call; the musicians will repair to the grand parade;...Five minutes after the First Call, the whole of the musicians on the parade shall beat the second, or Adjutant's Call....From the beating of the Second [Adjutant's] Call until the hour prescribed for troop or retreat beating shall arrive, the band will play. The hour of troop or retreat beating having arrived, the adjutant will direct the drum major to 'beat off.' The musicians, on receiving the signal from the drum major, will commence beating at the center; they will beat to the left, then to the right, and back to the center where they will conclude with three rolls and a flourish; at the last of the rolls, the company officers will face to the front, and draw their swords. The musicians will take post on the right." ["Regulations for the United States Infantry" Smyth, Col. Alexander, Third Edition 2000; Early G. Smith, Ed., p. 206]

      1. I have Drummers' Call. It's listed in Ashworth.
      2. I have Adjutant's Call, also listed in Ashworth. So far, so good.


      What exactly is First Call? Is that synonymous with Ashworth's Rising of the Troop? Second Call is agreed; it is Adjutant's Call in Ashworth. There are no accompanying fife tunes listed in Ashworth for the Rising of the Troop, nor Adjutant's Call. It appears to me that the entire ceremony is structured thus:

      1. Drummer's Call five to ten minutes in advance, with fife and drum.
      2. First Call may be Ashworth's Rising of the Troop, drum solo.
      3. Second Call we agree is the Adjutant's Call, also drum solo.
      Smyth does not mention anything about Singlings of the Troop or Doublings of the Troop by name. Am I to understand that The Musick plays The Singlings of the Troop and then The Doublings of the Troop while marching before the assembled company, batallion, or regiment? Or, are the Singlings of the Troop and the Doublings of the Troop to be beat as the soldiers march to the grand parade? If neither of these are correct, then when during this ceremony shall they be played?

      Jim Krause
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