- Hardcover: 231 pages
- Publisher: Integrity Pr (April 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0918048109
- ISBN-13: 978-0918048103
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,248,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Military Music of the American Revolution 0th Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Military music was certainly in its infancy during this time. The standard regimental band was little more than eight wind instruments usually composed of the following: 2 Bassoons, 2 Clarinettes, 2 French Horns and 2 Hautbois or Hautboys (oboes). This chamber music certainly could not have done much on the battlefield, nor was it intended to for that matter. Officers supported these bands as they were not supported by their respective governments. Regiments and their officers tended to regard these ensembles as their private musical resource. They were often employed for internal purposes, and for the growing amount of military ceremonial of the period.
American music of the Revolutionary is usually associated with Fife & drum. Indeed this was the standard Field Music that accompanied soldiers onto the battlefield. This classic combination remains with us today in various guises, but in its basic form was without base drums or cymbals.
The author spends a lot of time discussing the actaul army calls that Von Stueben put together or adapted at Vally Forge in 1777. Again, much of this is conjecture, and is aimed more at the music student because of its technical content. The author does include a lot of useful printed music which would be useful for re-enactors and those interested in re-creating this music.
There is a distinction to be made between the purposes of Harmoniemusik, or wind band of the period, and Field Music. Both served different purposes and rarely if ever played together. Field music musicians were virtually soldiers in that their duties could take them into the firing line during battle. This was not the case with Harmoniemusik. American bands were small in number compared to their European rivals, but they did exist. The author points to three ensembles in some detail, and mentions the creation of a central instructor of music, an important development for sure. Still, the predomiant influences were undoubtedly from the British and German bands which were much more fully developed and which left their mark where ever they went. Americans eagerly sought desertions from these bands to fill out their own scanty musical resources.
The advent of the French in the latter part of the war gives rise to the Turkish or Janiassry music which had become all the rage in Europe at that time. French bands probably incorporated this new perceussion influence more than the British bands in North America since their duties in the war cut them off from musical developments on the Continent. These French bands had probably close to a dozen players or more and were dazzling to all who heard them. Not surprising that French military music influences would leave their mark on later US bands. The USMA band at West Point when combined with the famous Hellcats drums & Bugle corps presents a distinctly French sound in their music. Although most Americans would not know this fact! British influences are also there today in many of the army's bugle calls.
Military music certainly developed during the American Revolution, which would set the tone for the larger bands of the Napoleanic period and the 19th century. Still, these early ensembles are compelling in their elegant simplicity, and show how the military band has evolved over the years. The author also provides a nice summation of the course of the Revolutionary conflict, as well as a complete appendix listing which British regiments in North America had bands. A fascinating look at an interesting topic. Well worth reading. Hopefully this work can be reprinted and expanded since its first edition some years ago.
Dr. Raoul Camus is professor emeritus of music at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York and director emeritus of the Queens Symphonic Band, a community organization. He earned his Ph.D. in music administration from New York University, and spent a number of years teaching instrumental music in secondary schools. Prior to teaching, he managed a major music-publishing firm, and performed professionally on the french horn. For many years he was director of New York's famed 42d (Rainbow) Division Band, and is a retired army reserve bandmaster.
A past president of the Sonneck Society for American Music, he is active in many band organizations, including the College Band Directors National Association, the Association of Concert Bands, the International Military Music Society, the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and Windjammers Unlimited.
In his book Professor Camus describes how the Continental Army had bands from it's inception The bands in early America had drummers and fifers who played signals to keep garrison activities on time and signalled the troops in battle. Brisk marches and quicksteps kept soldiers moving together in cadence and specific drum beats or tunes were used to send messages to all the troops within earshot. These musicians were referred to as the "field music," never as a band or band of music. Most of the time, they played alone or in pairs for their own companies. For special reviews or ceremonies, all the drummers and fifers would practice the same music and play together. Drummers and fifers were paid by the army and performed other military duties as well as playing their instruments. They were soldiers first, then musicians.
Much later Bands of music, on the other hand, were professional musicians who agreed to become part of an army although they were not expected to carry guns or participate in battle. The officers of the regiment supplied their pay, uniforms, instruments, and music privately. They supplied music when and where the officers wanted them to play, usually for ceremonies in which the troops were massed for review and for private parties and dances at which the officers of the regiment associated with the local citizens.
Professor Camus has researched the historical progress of military music from the European and |British Traditions and the impact that the "Red Coats" had on American music. The book has numerous illustrations and re-introduced extant musical examples. Another highlight of the book is his closely aligning the major battles of the American Revolution with military music. In chapter 3 he lists the Preparations For War, the Siege of Boston and the Continental Army of 1776 and 1777.
The role of military music is shown in the Surrender of Charleston, the Arrival of Rochambeau and the world turned upside down at Yorktown. His scholarly treatment of the bands of music and the appendix are an excellent historical resource for further study in this art form. One of the musical examples is the famous Rogues march which is no longer employed but is historically priceless, The Grenadiers march which also is featured as an example is amazingly still in use today by military bands and may be heard every day during the summer months in Ottawa Canada for the Guard Changing on Parliament hill by the Ceremonial Guards band.
The book, which was originally published in 1975, is available from Amazon or .No school or historical society should be without this book it is a historical testament to America's past.