Connecticut's Fife and Drum Tradition

Overview

The state of Connecticut boasts an extensive and active community of fife and drum groups. This musical tradition has its origins in the small military bands maintained by standing armies in Britain and Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the drum was especially important as it helped officers train soldiers how to march, and was also used to communicate with troops across battlefields. Today fifers and drummers gather at conventions called “musters,” which may include a parade and concerts ...

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Connecticut's Fife and Drum Tradition

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Overview

The state of Connecticut boasts an extensive and active community of fife and drum groups. This musical tradition has its origins in the small military bands maintained by standing armies in Britain and Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the drum was especially important as it helped officers train soldiers how to march, and was also used to communicate with troops across battlefields. Today fifers and drummers gather at conventions called “musters,” which may include a parade and concerts featuring the various participating corps. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest muster ever was held in Deep River, Connecticut, in 1976. Musician and historian James Clark is the first to detail the colorful history of this unique music. This engaging book leads the reader through the history of the individual instruments and tells the story of this classic folk tradition through anecdotes, biographies, photographs, and musical examples.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"(C)oncise and beautifully written. (A) masterful volume."—Maine Antique Digest

“Clark is perfectly suited to his task. An intimate of the form itself as a student, teacher, director, and performer, he is also a trained scholar. His research was extensive and incisive.”—Renee Rothman, Journal of Folklore Research

“The author, James Clark, has created a valuable resource that sheds light on an important regional tradition of American music. His book is written in a way that is useful to scholars, yet accessible to the drum and fife corps community. The first section of the book, dedicated to the time period before and during the Civil War, provides an especially important review of the American literature, consideration of drum manuals, and discussion of techniques.”
—Jayson Dobney, Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Vol. XXXIX

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Product Details

Meet the Author

JAMES CLARK is a founding member of the Connecticut Valley Field Music, a fife and drum band based in Middletown, Connecticut. A true advocate of this music, Clark gives lectures and demonstrations to a wide array of audiences around the state, across the nation, and in Europe.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Origins of the Fife and Drum
A New Nation
The Early National Period and the Civil War
The Connecticut Fifers and Drummers Association
The Connecticut Ancient Corps of Moodus and East Haddam
The Contemporary Tradition
References

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