Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jim Clark at 2012 U.S.A.R.D. Convention

Published on Apr 25, 2012
Jim Clark discusses the history of fife & drum in New England and demonstrates some of the music that would have been heard in the 16th through 19th Centuries.

Thank you Jim Clark and thank you Joseph Gillotti.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Interview with George Carroll: Marching and Field Percussion Historian

Interview with George Carroll: Marching and Field Percussion Historian
as interviewed by Jeff Hartsough and Derrick Logozzo

See http://www.tarrani.com/GeorgeCarolInterview.pdf.

Sons of Liberty Drumline

Question re 1803 US Army Regimental Drum

A reader emailed to say:


"I came across your blog when researching information regarding a specific style drum and I hope you would be so good to share any information you may have regarding such.

"I am trying to ascertain what colors U.S. Army regimental drums would have been painted in 1803.  I have a snare drum built by Nathan Carroll which is painted in the traditional blue body with red hoops.  I purchased it for the 1812 bicentennial.  However, now I am researching the army during the construction of the Natchez Trace road in the old southwest territory in the early 1800's.

"I have read that U.S. Army military drums during the early Federal period were painted with blue hoops, blue body, and thirteen federal style stars.  So, my question is... when did the color change from the "Federal style" to the red/blue combination seen during the War of 1812 period?  Additionally, the book 'Tailor Made, Trail Worn' illustrated by Michael Haynes shows a Lewis & Clark ca.1804 drummer with the red/blue design although he gives very few details on the drum.  He does state that the emblem design on the drum is conjectural but I don't know if the colors of the drum are conjectural as well.

"If you have any information on this subject I would be greatly appreciative if you would share.

"Thank you.


"Jeff Brewer"

Please feel free to provide any responses by way of the comment section below, or email us at BlogMaster@FieldDrums.com.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Very Brief History of the Trumpet and Bugle Through 2006

Trumpet in F by A. G. Guichard, Paris, ca. 1840 featuring Stölzel piston valves. From the National Music Museum.

A Very Brief History of the Trumpet and Bugle Through the Eighteenth Century:

Evolution of the Military Bugle in the Nineteenth Century:

Evolution of the North American Competition Bugle 1900 through 1967: http://www.middlehornleader.com/Evolution%20of%20the%20Bugle%20--%20Section%203.htm

Evolution of the North American Competition Bugle 1968 through 2006: http://www.middlehornleader.com/Evolution%20of%20the%20Bugle%20--%20Section%204.htm

On Rounded Bearing Edges

See https://www.facebook.com/billy.gladstone/posts/1619354978108610.https://www.facebook.com/billy.gladstone/posts/1619354978108610

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

More Historic Photos

SOURCE: Artifact Percussion, April 9, 2017, https://medium.com/@artifactperc/artifact-of-the-week-faces-without-names-c6c2aef426c7

Artifact of the Week: Faces Without Names

Artifacts are storytellers. They connect us - to our past, to long-gone strangers whom we’ve never met, to each other, and even to ourselves. To study an artifact is powerful and necessary. It is a responsibility that we have as human beings - and as drummers and percussionists - to preserve the stories of our craft and to preserve the names, faces, and teachings of those who came before us. Aaron and I find inspiration in those stories, which is part of the reason why we so enjoy taking the time to help protect that history and discover new editions of it, no matter how small.

This is the story of one small artifact: a roughly 5"x7" glass negative found (in its digital file form) in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs online database. It is one of about 70,000 glass and film negatives given to the Library in 1955 by the Harris & Ewing photography studio of Washington, D.C. When this particular negative was digitized, Library staff gave it a simple title (“Drummers”) based on the only information they could gather from the content of the photo itself - that four of the five men pictured were carrying drums. There was no accompanying title or caption and the smallest date range they could gather was that it was taken between 1923–1929 (based on other nearby negatives in the collection).

Immediately, this image fascinated me. Clearly there was a reason this moment was captured. I had to know what that reason was and why that reason didn’t already travel with this negative. As always, discovery begins with questions. And I had a ton of questions.
With some logical reasoning and a little bit of research, I was able to determine that the man receiving the award in the image was the one and only Frank S. Fancher: renowned rudimental snare drummer, legendary record-breaker, and all-around badass boundary pusher.

Frank Fancher, an oft-overlooked rudimental snare drum legend, posing in his medal-covered drum corps uniform with his drum and his trophies in the early 1920s. The centered text reads: “Frank Fancher, “Wizard of the Drum,” World’s Champion Rudimental Drummer.” To the left it says: “182 — 1st prizes. Cups and Medals.”

I began my research on the guess that the non-uniformed man had to be a relatively “big name” in rudimental drumming during the 1920s. I knew that there were several powerhouse drummers during the ‘20s who would regularly compete in drum corps contests held at American Legion posts all around the country and that rudimental drumming, and these contests, still had close ties to the military. After all, during the first two decades of the 20th century, the snare drum in America was just starting to see a shift from the battlefield to the concert hall. Many of the most notable rudimental drum instructors during this era were veterans of the Spanish-American war. Some of the greatest and most important names in drumming flourished during the ’20s: J. Burns Moore, Sanford Moeller, Dan English to name just a few. William F. Ludwig’s drum company was still just becoming a household name in the percussion community.

Wait. There it was. Drum companies in the 20s were just starting to collect endorsers - the best players they could get - and where else to advertise their endorsements but in their catalogs? So off I went (one tab over in my browser) to drumarchive.com. [Sidebar: If you haven’t been to drumarchive.com, you really need to go there. Right now. It’s amazing.] Anyway, I figured I would start with Ludwig, the biggest name in drums at the time (and the company most contracted by the U.S. government to manufacture service drums). I scrolled through a few catalogs - 1922, nope…1923, no endorsers in that one either…1924, nothing. Finally, as I’m scrolling through the 1927 catalog - debating whether I’m even going in the right direction at all - there he is. Frank S. Fancher. And he’s wearing a badge in this photo - an identical badge to the one being bestowed upon him in the LOC negative.

Frank S. Fancher, World’s Champion snare drummer, making an appearance in the 1927 Ludwig catalog. This headshot was likely taken on the same day as the Harris & Ewing negative.

So I had a name, and from there I was able to finish the story. Fancher’s name appeared in a few Ludwig company histories (and one Slingerland history). There were a couple web pages about his relationship with drum craftsman Odell M. Chapman and Fancher’s time with Chapman’s Continental Drum Corps of Willimantic, CT. I found the obituaries published in a 1966 issue of the Bridgeport Telegram newspaper and learned that Fancher, “a champion drummer many years ago”, died on Tuesday, February 1st, 1966 - less than a month after his friend, Odell Chapman, passed away at his home in Newport. I learned that Fancher’s drum - the one crafted by Chapman himself - lives on at the Company of Fifers and Drummers Museum in Ivoryton, CT.

I found the last piece of the puzzle in Rob Cook’s The Ludwig Book: A Business History and Dating Guide Book. In that text, Mr. Cook shares a postcard depicting two men - Frank Fancher and William F. Ludwig wearing U.S. Army Band uniforms and carrying Ludwig field drums - with the title “In the Inaugural Parade. Washington, D.C. March 4th, 1925.” There was text on the back of the postcard, too. It reads:
“Frank Fancher and William F. Ludwig were honorary members of the United States Army Band in the inauguration of President Coolidge on March 4th, 1925. Permission to play in the band, and honorary membership, was conferred upon them by Captain Sherman for services rendered [to] the U.S. School of Music and the U.S. Army Band in connection with the promotion of rudimental drumming. On March 3rd, Frank Fancher won the U.S. National Rudimental contest held at the Washington Barracks, DC.”

The postcard in question. An artifact that helps to tell its own story.

So there you have it. One story told by one small artifact. And though this story is but a pinpoint in a much larger and more illustrative narrative, it still matters. It mattered to Frank Fancher. It matters to me. And I’m sure it means something to anybody who has ever held a pair of snare drum sticks and felt the weight of a drum on their shoulders, or heard the sound of their instrument resonate through the concert hall, surrounded by other musicians who love their craft.

What we’ve learned (so far). We have a date, location, event, and a couple names. Unfortunately the Sergeant First Class, Corporal, and Private remain unidentified. Since it seems that they aren’t Army bandsmen (judging by their cap and collar insignia) it will be much harder to identify them, but we are currently trying to find more information on the results of the 1925 U.S. National rudimental contest. If you have any information at all, please let us know.

For me its the journey of the artifact itself. Ninety-two years ago, a photographer with Harris & Ewing, Inc. saw fit to imprint this moment onto a glass plate. He was probably a freelance photographer with the news service and took the photo with the idea of it being sold to a local newspaper - these were two of the biggest names in drumming, in town for the inaugural parade. But, for one reason or another, that never happened. So there it sat, unpublished, in a storage room in the studio at 1313 F Street NW, until George Harris retired in 1955 and gave his entire collection of negatives to the Library of Congress. And somehow, out of 70,000 negatives, this one was one of the 28,000 that were turned into a digital file directly from the original. So thanks to the preservation work by the Prints & Photographs Division staff, I was able to stumble upon it while hanging out with my dog on a Sunday afternoon. (Yeah. The internet is magic.)
But that negative could just as easily have been destroyed. Just like so many one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted snare drums that were thrown away by unknowing grandchildren of Civil War veterans. Or beautiful, hundred-year-old tambourines - with another hundred years of life left in them, at least - that are “upcycled” into primitive wall decorations, never to see a concert hall again. We all collectively, as percussionists, need to preserve these artifacts and the stories they carry with them.
So go explore and go discover and cherish each detail you find. Find the missing pieces of our past and bring them to light. Share them with each other and pass them on to our future generation.
And remember that one day, an artifact will tell your story, too.
Happy hunting.
This was the first edition of our new, weekly Sunday percussive-history hang out. If you dig it, feel free to share with a friend who may also dig it. If you have any questions, please shoot us an email at www.artifactpercussion.com/contact
Check back next week to learn about one our favorite artifacts in our collection: a one-of-a-kind WFL tambourine that jingle-jangled for astronauts ;)
Recommended reading & viewing:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

John G. Pike Civil War Militia Drum

John G. Pike Civil War Militia Drum 

Priced at $1,990 on http://www.invaluable.com/buy-now/very-rare-john-g.-pike-civil-war-militia-drum-c624d4f821

Dimensions: 15" x 16.75" x 16.75"
Artist or Maker: John G. Pike

Thursday, June 15, 2017

1913 National Guard Fife, Drum, Bugle & Bell Corps

Recorded more than 100 years ago.  Includes Semper Fidelis, Gary Owen, Hell on the Wabash (with modified drum chart presumably to play at speed), and more.

Pretty snappy for their time.

Per Frank Dorritie, "These recordings are remarkable and the playing is state of the art for the context. You may be interested that the bugles used herein are in the Key of F, meaning they are the Cavalry type, or possibly, Regulation G's with the tuning slides pulled out to the F line, though this is less likely given the superb intonation and tone here.

"Also attached a pic of my own fully restored Edison Cylinder Player."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Civil War Eagle Snare Drum of the 78th New York Infantry, 1st Regiment Eagle Brigade, Cameron Highlanders....

"Civil War Eagle Snare Drum of the 78th New York Infantry, 1st Regiment Eagle Brigade, Cameron Highlanders. The regiment left for the "seat of war" in April 1862, and was engaged at Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and, later, through heavy fighting in Georgia, being consolidated with the 112th New York in July 1864. The drum is 10" high with a 17" diameter, doubtless being slightly shortened during the period of use, which is not uncommon with the diminutive size of many drummers. Both heads intact, retaining most of the original rope, now broken, and one of the original tighteners, only remnants of the label remain. Brass tack decoration around the air hole, classic painted eagle decoration with the number 78 deeply carved preceding Reg. Original red painted hoops. The drum is in as found/ untouched condition, having surfaced a number of years ago with other artifacts related to this and other New York state regiments. The drum retains about 80% of the original paint decoration, with no imminent signs of further deterioration. Hoops retain 95% of the original red paint with demonstrable wear from the ropes. The drum is accompanied by the original fine condition sticks, with artificially grained decoration, the first example we've seen and the original cloth storage bag, black cotton with gray silk lining, a few holes, but very good and sound."

FieldDrums.com Blogmaster's Note: Probably cut-down based on three reasons (the 10" height; the emblazonment is cut-off top and bottom; the tack pattern appears also to have been cut off at the top and the bottom of the shell).

Source: https://historical.ha.com/itm/military-and-patriotic/civil-war-eagle-snare-drum-of-the-78th-new-york-infantry-1st-regiment-eagle-brigade-cameron-highlanders/a/6021-57739.s?ic4=OtherResults-SampleItem-Thumbnail-022817#

Sold at auction by Heritage Auctions for $4,310.37 (including buyer's premium) on 12/12/2009.

Friday, May 12, 2017

"Liberty" Barrel Drum - What Can You Tell Us About This Drum?

"Liberty" Barrel Drum - What Can You Tell Us About This Drum?

David Hillier, an antiques dealer in W. Townsend, Massachusetts seeks information about this drum.  Please reply to BlogMaster@FieldDrums.com.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Civil War Infantry Drum

Looks authentic.  What do you think?
Description: Regulation Civil War Infantry drum. The drum gives every appearance of being very well used since the war, with restoration to the leather hoop tighteners and replaced cords. Brass tacking looks to be original on drum air hole. Drum head of bottom is torn. The paint on both the red hoops and the eagle decorated panel is worn but retains vibrancy.
Dimensions: 14 -1/4"T. x 16 -3/4"D.
Condition Report: (Very Good). 
May 26, 2017, 9:00 AM PST
Las Vegas, NV, US
Live Auction

Friday, March 17, 2017

Antique Regimental Civil War Drum

Experts in the drum community, please feel free to comment.  Share your comments on this drum.  If it's original, was it simply not finished (even to the point of not painting in the usual information on the banner)?  The emblazonment looks so clean and the counterhoops so fresh as to suggest that if it is original, it's never been used.  But, is it CW?

Described as:

Antique Regimental Civil War Field Drum, eagle motif. A 1 inch crack in one of the skins and a small hole in the other otherwise very Good original condition. 14 inches tall X 17 inch diameter.

Source: http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/antique-regimental-civil-war-drum-747-c-43e48cd840

Showtime's Spring Auction, 2017, 1st Session
by Showtime Auction Services
March 31, 10:00 AM EST Live Auction
Ann Arbor, MI, US

Sewell Morse Snare Drum

Described as:

Civil War Era Sewell Morse Brattleboro Vermont Snare drum in excellent overall condition - drum retains early leather, bindings and gut snares. Minor marks, dings and wear to drum but appropriate for an object of this age, 8" high 18" diameter.

Source: http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/sewell-morse-snare-drum-157-c-a174c988fa


Civil War, Sporting and Firearms Auction
by Duane Merrill & Company
March 25, 9:45 AM EST Live Auction
Williston, VT, US


Marked 9th Vermont Company Grade Infantry Drum

Described as:

9th Vermont infantry drum. An unusual tenor drum dating from 1830-1840 most likely from milita use prior to war. Drum is marked with 9 VT INF in blue pain on old red surface. It has been repaired and restored by Charles Soistman of "The Rolling Drum Shop"- Drum retains early paint, one original hoop (now damaged) and canvas hanger with two period correct drumsticks. 17 in High x 16 diameter.

Source: http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/marked-9th-vermont-company-grade-infantry-drum,-83-c-faf48668b3 

Duane Merrill & Company
March 25, 9:45 AM EST
Williston, VT, US
Live Auction

P.R. Winn, Drummaker

An article by W. Lee Vinson, author and publisher of BostonDrumBuilders.com and blog.BostonDrumBuilders.com . For Lee's story about ...