Fife and Drums: 18th Century Communications Tools Rattling Windows

SKF NOTE: Newspaper reporter Rodrigo Arriaza makes an important point: drums are communications tools. Not always, but most often, in all music styles, the best drummers think of their instruments as communications tools.

Think of a situation where most people around you are speaking a foreign language. Maybe you can establish basic communication through body and facial gestures, but communications in that situation would be much better if everyone spoke the same language.

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60 years of Fifes and Drums ring in Memorial Day weekend
By Rodrigo Arriaza

The…Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums celebrated its 60th anniversary with a march….

The Fifes and Drums started in 1958, when four area teenagers were recruited by Colonial Williamsburg to form a simple fife and drum unit. Since then, the group has become an area institution, with a 1,000-member-strong alumni association and some 120 former members traveling back to Williamsburg for the march.

“Today was just fantastic, I love rattling windows,” said [James] Teal, [one of the group’s two original drummers].

“If you think about it, fifes and drums were communications mechanisms in the 18th century, they could be heard over gunfire for miles and miles, so I’m sure today, people heard us all the way in Newport News.”

Full story

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