PDA

View Full Version : The international nature of military marches.



Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-15-2010, 07:44 AM
A thought struck me during yesterday's Remembrance Day parade: whilst we associate martial music with strong feelings of patriotism, the tunes themselves come from just about anywhere.

A handful of examples - parts of the US Cavalry march to "Garry Owen", famously a favourite of General Custer, but it was also a favourite of General Gough, during the Peninsular War, and began as an Irish drinking song.

The Royal Marines quick march is "A Life on the Ocean Wave", which is American.

The Second Battallion The Royal Anglian regiment march to "The Lincolnshire Poacher" but so do the senior regiment of the Armoured Corps of the Indian Army (Skinner's Horse)*.

You will find the Radetsky March, which is most certainly Austrian, played by the Chilean Army and by the 1st the Queen's Dragoon Guards.

The SAS use "Lilli Marlene", which I do believe is German.

Conclusion - thoughts of patriotism and martial valour can be stirred up by any good tune?

*Cross refer Syed's Alexander thread - Colonel James Skinner was known as "Sikander" by his men, but since his father was Scots and his mother was a Rajput the East Anglian connection remains elusive!

Tom Hunter
11-15-2010, 07:50 AM
Music travels well. Yankee Doodle was originally sung by redcoats to mock the Americans. It became the American song for the war.

Dixie was popular with both sides of the US Civil War. Lili Marlene was the anthem for both armies in the desert.

Marches do seem to have a common quality, but I think it extends beyond that.

C. Ross
11-15-2010, 07:55 AM
My wife and kids wanted to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham.

My recollection is that some of the maneuvers were done to show tunes and pop songs. 'twere a bit surprising!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-15-2010, 08:59 AM
Yes, you should have been warned! This is very commonly done as a way of keeping bandsmen interested (it's dull playing the same things all the time) and frankly as a means of showing off a bit, too. OK for changing the guard, but not done at more formal occasions, such as Trooping the Colour (the Queen's Birthday Parade).

JimD
11-16-2010, 09:31 PM
It has always seemed a little amazing that nations think they are so different and are willing to kill each other by the millions to prove it while our respective armies all march off to battle to martial music that is virtually indistinguishable from the designated enemies'. Same thing with flags.

Captain Intrepid
11-16-2010, 09:33 PM
Lily Marlene is originally German. It's a fantastic song. :)

katey
11-16-2010, 10:55 PM
I've always been surprised to see Asian armies march to tunes which, if not Sousa, sound an awful lot like him. Is marching in step a western tradition that they've adopted along with the music, or did it replace something native?

Also military uniforms are suspiciously the same the world over.

I suppose I'm being Euro-centric by assuming that we started it.

C. Ross
11-16-2010, 11:49 PM
I like bagpipes, but think they'd scare the bejeezus out of a fella on the battlefield when used as a signal in war.

After a bit of googling, imagine my surprise that bagpipes were carried into battle by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans - the Romans just left them behind when their empire collapsed.


Throughout history, high-decibel, mouth-blown pipes have always been associated with the waging of war; and as an instrument of war, the Great Pipes certainly have no equal--or even any competition. The notes of the pipes have a shrill and penetrating quality that can be heard at distances up to nine miles, and are not easily drowned out even by the sounds of battle. Compared to the instruments they replaced on the battlefield—trumpets, horns, and harps—the bagpipes have a more warlike, aggressive sound. As a result of their chilling effect on opposing troops, bagpipes were the favorites of generals everywhere, and Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all led troops into battle to the wailing skirl of the pipes.

Among classical civilizations, the Romans are the best-known advocates of using pipes in battle. Pipes were a particular favorite of the Emperor Nero, and Roman coinage of his era features a likeness of Nero playing a bagpipe. Could Nero have played the bagpipes, and not the fiddle, while Rome burned? (Some historians think so.)

In the course of conquering the world, the Roman infantry helped spread the bagpipes far and wide. The Romans also are credited with first adding a bag to a reed pipe to make more air readily available to the instrument while playing, and eliminate breath-related pauses in the music. At the same time, the addition of the bag obviated the need to master difficult circular breathing techniques.

After the collapse of the Roman empire the pipes remained a popular instrument in Europe for more than 1,000 years. By the Middle Ages, the bagpipes were arguably the favorite instrument of all of Europe; pipers played in the courts of the continent’s most powerful monarchs. With their popularity as high in other European countries as in Scotland, there was really nothing to indicate that the Great Pipes or Piob Mhor would one day be identified so strongly with Scotland. Later, it would be up to Scottish Highland clans to elevate the bagpipes to full prominence, to foster further development of the pipes, and to make them the kind of instrument the whole country could embrace, in peace as well as in war.

http://www.celtic-instruments.com/pipes/great-highland-bagpipes/history.html

purri
11-17-2010, 12:05 AM
Lily Marlene is originally German. It's a fantastic song. :)

Slightly off topic, I saw Marlene D. sing it (live) quite a few times. (and I have a dedicated photo of her in
THE dress inscribed "To Richard, best wishes Marlene") . Quite a person!

downthecreek
11-17-2010, 03:38 AM
Slightly off topic, I saw Marlene D. sing it (live) quite a few times. (and I have a dedicated photo of her in
THE dress inscribed "To Richard, best wishes Marlene") . Quite a person!

I bet I'm the only person swilling about in this bilge to have appeared on national television, singing Lili Marlene in German. |;)

(I may also, possibly, be the only one to have appeared on national television delivering a lecture on the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea, but I've set adrift enough threads lately, so I'll keep quiet about that)

downthecreek
11-17-2010, 03:48 AM
I like bagpipes,


So do I. And I was going to remark that the "national" tunes, on certain occasions, can be almost unbearable. The pipes of the Black Watch playing the Flowers o' the Forest at last Sunday's Remembrance Day service in London, for example. Nothing comes close when the aim is to convey the despair and desolation of war, but with contained grief, pride and dignity.

Here's are the massed pipes and drums of the Scottish regiments at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Extraordinary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gJZoO1liVY

Music for our Remembrance Day services:

For England - Hearts of Oak and Isle of Beauty
For Scotland - The Skye Boat Song and Flowers o' the Forest
For Ireland - The Minstrel Boy and Oft in the Stilly Night (that latter is a lovely tune!)
For Wales - Men of Harlech and David of the White Rock
For all of us - Nimrod and When I am Laid in Earth

Music has the most mysterious power.

purri
11-17-2010, 04:32 AM
I bet I'm the only person swilling about in this bilge to have appeared on national television, singing Lili Marlene in German. |;)

(I may also, possibly, be the only one to have appeared on national television delivering a lecture on the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea, but I've set adrift enough threads lately, so I'll keep quiet about that)
Zo you are Lili reincarnated nein? Zo post me a PM video etc undt zen I do ze crit neh! (BTW PMs at your leisure)

downthecreek
11-17-2010, 05:11 AM
Zo you are Lili reincarnated nein? Zo post me a PM video etc undt zen I do ze crit neh! (BTW PMs at your leisure)

Kein video. I'm talking a VERY long time ago. My sensational appearance (eat your heart out, Dietrich) was part of a documentary film about my school and I am OLD! Es tut mir leid, dass.

Poor Marlene. She went into a decline after seeing my performance. She knew she could never match it. That's vy she vanted to be a lawn. ;)

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-17-2010, 05:37 AM
I like bagpipes, but think they'd scare the bejeezus out of a fella on the battlefield when used as a signal in war.

After a bit of googling, imagine my surprise that bagpipes were carried into battle by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans - the Romans just left them behind when their empire collapsed.

http://www.celtic-instruments.com/pipes/great-highland-bagpipes/history.html

Kilted pipers are still a feature of Greek military parades; whether these go straight back to Byzantium or are a re-invention of the 19th century is more than I know.

skuthorp
11-17-2010, 06:00 AM
The best Changing of the Guard I ever saw was the Ghurkas doubling away to the pipes playing The Black Bear
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoAmJPNRWw4&feature=related
But of course in Syed's country they do it differently
http://www.vidzshare.net/play.php?vid=1283

LeeG
11-17-2010, 07:32 AM
I like school marching bands with tight drum and horn sections. They sound great going between buildings and around corners.

Peerie Maa
11-17-2010, 01:37 PM
I rather admire the Light Division, at the double.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJY4ykPqF84&feature=related

Tom Montgomery
11-17-2010, 03:24 PM
Then there was John Philip Sousa and the U.S. Marine Band. All-American marches.

varadero
11-17-2010, 03:27 PM
Nothing beets this crowd. Are you ready for the Top secret Swiss Drummers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7k6VYGtm8g

Cuyahoga Chuck
11-17-2010, 05:32 PM
If you want to hear some of the most emotional military music bar none you need to plug into what has been produced by the Russians. They have the knack.
I have a CD if the Red Army Chorus doing "We are the Red Cavalry", "Polus'ko Pole'" and "The Great Patriotic War. Dynamite stuff. Not necessarily marches but military music with a propagandistic edge.
Their officers do wear funny hats, tho'.

john welsford
11-18-2010, 04:41 PM
There is of course the story that the Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots, but the Scots haven't see the joke yet!
John Welsford


I like bagpipes, but think they'd scare the bejeezus out of a fella on the battlefield when used as a signal in war.

After a bit of googling, imagine my surprise that bagpipes were carried into battle by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans - the Romans just left them behind when their empire collapsed.



http://www.celtic-instruments.com/pipes/great-highland-bagpipes/history.html

Tom Montgomery
11-18-2010, 04:45 PM
Napoleon never employed Marshal MacDonald against the British. He later explained that he did not want MacDonald to ever be within earshot of bagpipes on the battlefield.

C. Ross
11-18-2010, 09:03 PM
There is of course the story that the Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots, but the Scots haven't see the joke yet!
John Welsford

Or that the definition that a gentleman is a man who can play the bagpipes but doesn't.

Taylor Tarvin
11-19-2010, 12:53 PM
I get the distinct impression that few on this thread have spent hours plodding around a parade field listening to Sousa and his ilk. What sounds like stirring martial music while watching a parade becomes a dirge when listened to long enough.

Military music is to music what military justice is to justice.:d