Accurate bugle for camp use

Claude Bauer

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I know just the person to ask. Sent him your inquiry, will let you know what he says. We need more buglers!

Hey, Ed--my bugle source was kind enough to respond right away--here's what he says:

"Civil War styled Bugles can be found on eBay. These are French Clairons and are still being made today. The Amati is a Czech made bugle. I think they are still around and companies like brassWind might have some."

I did a quick search and found a French Clairion online but it's been sold. If you look around, especially keeping an eye out on eBay, you may find others:


Hope that helps. Best of luck!
 

Conf_Ed

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Dec 25, 2020
Great! Thanks. I've Googled 'Clairon' ( after i found Taps Bugler), and there's quite a few out there, but all brass.

How's this? As you probably already know, there aren't too many pictures of buglers (that i can find anyhow), but could this be used? The only Couesnon bugles i can find are all dinged up pretty good
 
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Rusk County Avengers

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Very educational thread.

I know in the SCV, our Color Guard detachment out in Texarkana, dedicated folks with dedicated vets at the head, have a novel solution to the bugle problem. They use an electronic bugle that plays recordings through a speaker!

It bugs me they do that, but their logic is hard to argue with. They can't stand bugle players who screw up notes, (Taps is extremly sacred) so they use it to make sure Taps is dead on. Maybe I ought to try playing a bugle....
 

Claude Bauer

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Great! Thanks. I've Googled 'Clairon' ( after i found Taps Bugler), and there's quite a few out there, but all brass.

How's this? As you probably already know, there aren't too many pictures of buglers (that i can find anyhow), but could this be used? The only Couesnon bugles i can find are all dinged up pretty good

If you're still unsure, I'd suggest that before you buy anything you run it by Yari--he's the authority on bugles and a reenactor, too. Try sending him a message through his website and mention that you're the one who asked me about the Clarion bugle. As an aspiring field musician, we've go to get you properly equipped! Here's his contact page:

 

Claude Bauer

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Very educational thread.

I know in the SCV, our Color Guard detachment out in Texarkana, dedicated folks with dedicated vets at the head, have a novel solution to the bugle problem. They use an electronic bugle that plays recordings through a speaker!

It bugs me they do that, but their logic is hard to argue with. They can't stand bugle players who screw up notes, (Taps is extremly sacred) so they use it to make sure Taps is dead on. Maybe I ought to try playing a bugle....

Don't say that around buglers! My knowledge about bugles is limited, but I do know they can't stand those electronic bugles!

BTW, there's no law or regulation saying that Taps can only be played on a bugle. While that's the preferred instrument due to it's military history, I've heard Taps played on trumpets as well. I imagine that somebody playing it live using a trumpet would be preferable to an electronic bugle. There's a nun, Sister Sue Kilduski, a volunteer for Bugles Across America, who plays Taps on a trumpet for veteran's funerals.

In fact, at the only Civil War event I was able to attend this year--the Battle of Balls Bluff anniversary--I was the only field musician on site. I was playing my fife by myself on top of a hill overlooking the small skirmish that was held. When it was over, everything fell silent, and our CO shouted up to me, "Claude! Play Taps!" I wasn't sure what to do--all the reenactors and spectators were looking at me, so I played it solo on the only instrument I had--my fife.

You know, hearing it float out over the field and echo through the forest from my fife was really nice. I played it in a low key with as much vibrato as I could muster and let that last note fade near off the end. I imagine two fifes playing it in harmony would sound even better.
 

Conf_Ed

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Dec 25, 2020
I love this forum already. Electronic Taps sounds like sacrilege to me. There's something spiritual about the real thing, but i get wanting everything absolutely perfect. Taps is moving and spiritual however it's played. I bet it sounded beautiful on fife.
I've played the British equivalent, Last Post, on a cornet, in a church. Also i'm a musician in the Swedish National Guard. When we do the changing of the guard ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, a trumpeter goes out and plays Assembly (for the old guard). Some bands use a bugle, but some use a cornet or trumpet. Here in Sweden, the military funeral/Remembrance signal is played on a side drum, and is called Tapto.
I will get in touch with Jari. If his website is anything to judge by, he knows what's what in bugling. If i still lived in England, i'd most likely be bugling at funerals or on Remembrance Sunday (Veterans Day).
 

Claude Bauer

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I love this forum already. Electronic Taps sounds like sacrilege to me. There's something spiritual about the real thing, but i get wanting everything absolutely perfect. Taps is moving and spiritual however it's played. I bet it sounded beautiful on fife.
I've played the British equivalent, Last Post, on a cornet, in a church. Also i'm a musician in the Swedish National Guard. When we do the changing of the guard ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, a trumpeter goes out and plays Assembly (for the old guard). Some bands use a bugle, but some use a cornet or trumpet. Here in Sweden, the military funeral/Remembrance signal is played on a side drum, and is called Tapto.
I will get in touch with Jari. If his website is anything to judge by, he knows what's what in bugling. If i still lived in England, i'd most likely be bugling at funerals or on Remembrance Sunday (Veterans Day).

It's great to have you on board! Since you're a military musician and also interested in the Civil War and reenacting, I suggest you visit our "Music & Songs of the 1860s" sub-forum! Lots of good stuff there about period music!


Also, here's a Facebook page that you might find interesting that's dedicated to historic Fife, Drum, and Bugle manuals:


If you're on Facebook, look me up and send a friend request! I've connected with several musicians in Europe, including a fifer in Poland and another fifer/drummer in England. And yes, Yari is the bugle and Taps expert--if you read his bio, you'll understand why. Given your musical skills and background, I'm sure you two will have a lot to talk about!
 

Conf_Ed

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It's great to have you on board! Since you're a military musician and also interested in the Civil War and reenacting, I suggest you visit our "Music & Songs of the 1860s" sub-forum! Lots of good stuff there about period music!


Also, here's a Facebook page that you might find interesting that's dedicated to historic Fife, Drum, and Bugle manuals:


If you're on Facebook, look me up and send a friend request! I've connected with several musicians in Europe, including a fifer in Poland and another fifer/drummer in England. And yes, Yari is the bugle and Taps expert--if you read his bio, you'll understand why. Given your musical skills and background, I'm sure you two will have a lot to talk about!
Hehe....I'm one of those rare folks who don't use social media. I quit facebook a few years back, but thanks. Much appreciated. I have played flute and drum in my time. I play the Bass drum when we're marching. Not that we're doing much of that or anything else at the moment. What sort of fife are you using? i have a fife of sorts. A German instrument, metal, called a 'drum flute'(literal translation) which is the kind in use by few corps of drums here.
 

Claude Bauer

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Hehe....I'm one of those rare folks who don't use social media. I quit facebook a few years back, but thanks. Much appreciated. I have played flute and drum in my time. I play the Bass drum when we're marching. Not that we're doing much of that or anything else at the moment. What sort of fife are you using? i have a fife of sorts. A German instrument, metal, called a 'drum flute'(literal translation) which is the kind in use by few corps of drums here.
I understand completely--sometimes I wonder if "social media" is worth the effort and have come close to dropping it altogether a few times myself. I find focused forums like Civil War Talk more appealing.

I have played serveral models of fife, but I currently play a two-piece Enfield model fife formerly made by Sweetheart Flutes. It's now only available by special order from the new owner. He changed the name of the company to Musique Morneaux.
They did have two-piece fifes back in the day, but one piece were more common.

However, one of the more well-known Civil War manuals for Field Music, Bruce and Emmett's Drummer's and Fifer's Guide, recommends on pg. 16 that fifers play a silver, two-piece German fife. So, I'd be very interested in seeing a picture of your "drum flute." Is it keyless? I wonder if it is the same type of fife referred to by Bruce and Emmet. Do you know the age of your drum flute?

B and E.JPG


In the 1800s, fife makers in Europe started adding keys to fifes and it evolved into a completely different instrument, the Bb Marching Flute. While in the same key as most fifes and still made of wood, the added keys made it a more flute-like instrument. It is very popular in Great Britain, where there are numerous Bb marching flute bands, just like there are fife and drum corps in the US.
 
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Conf_Ed

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Yes, keyless, and very modern, if you see what i mean. Made in Germany, and a 'B'. I'll have a root around and find my old Eb that i used to play back in the day. In my old Corps drums, we used Bb for the melody, and Eb for the counter-melody. We had one or two soprano players, but we never had enough flute players, and too many side drummers. Everybody played bugle though. We sounded like this:


Here's the flute/fife. I should point out that we didn't play these in my old corps of drums. Ours had keys and were made of Ebonite or Rosewood.
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Claude Bauer

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Yes, keyless, and very modern, if you see what i mean. Made in Germany, and a 'B'. I'll have a root around and find my old Eb that i used to play back in the day. In my old Corps drums, we used Bb for the melody, and Eb for the counter-melody. We had one or two soprano players, but we never had enough flute players, and too many side drummers. Everybody played bugle though. We sounded like this:


Here's the flute/fife. I should point out that we didn't play these in my old corps of drums. Ours had keys and were made of Ebonite or Rosewood.
View attachment 386109

Awesome! Thanks for the picture and video! The drum flute is clearly modern, so not what Emmett was referring to, but it looks like a fun instrument--with the lip plate, thumb pad and raised finger holes it may be a little easier to play than a standard fife. As far as musicians are concerned, we have a similar problem here--always more drummers than fifers, but here, almost nobody plays the bugle!
 

Conf_Ed

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Awesome! Thanks for the picture and video! The drum flute is clearly modern, so not what Emmett was referring to, but it looks like a fun instrument--with the lip plate, thumb pad and raised finger holes it may be a little easier to play than a standard fife. As far as musicians are concerned, we have a similar problem here--always more drummers than fifers, but here, almost nobody plays the bugle!
I went ahead and took a chance on an Ebay find. A Cousenon! From a guy in France. Fingers crossed she's a good'un. There's a ton of bugle call videos on YouTube. Did the Confederates use the same bugle calls as the Union? Is this video accurate?
Happy New Year, by the way. I wish you a successful 2021!
 
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Mrs. V

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I went ahead and took a chance on an Ebay find. A Cousenon! From a guy in France. Fingers crossed she's a good'un. There's a ton of bugle call videos on YouTube. Did the Confederates use the same bugle calls as the Union? Is this video accurate?
Happy New Year, by the way. I wish you a successful 2021!
They did use the same calls, but each bugler would add his own unique twist, so that their company would know who was playing.

And of course as a librarian, I’ll have to mention the book, “The Last Brother” which is a fictionalized story of two buglers meeting on opposite sides of the war and stream, and how knowledge of each ones unique style was used to change the outcome of a skirmish.
 

Claude Bauer

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I went ahead and took a chance on an Ebay find. A Cousenon! From a guy in France. Fingers crossed she's a good'un. There's a ton of bugle call videos on YouTube. Did the Confederates use the same bugle calls as the Union? Is this video accurate?
Happy New Year, by the way. I wish you a successful 2021!

Wow, that was fast! Great that you were able to find one so quickly!

Again, I'm not a bugler, but from what I understand from Field Music in general, both sides used the same calls and camp duty since they originated from the same army before secession, much like the Continental Army used a lot of English duty and tunes during the Rev War. (Some Rev War tunes like British Grenadiers carried over from the mother country and remained in the US military F&D repertoire up through the Civil War.)

There are numerous music manuals for F&D and bugle, and I only have one Civil War period manual that includes bugle calls: "The Army Drum and Fife Book and Bugler's Call Book." You can obtain a copy at the link below if interested. It has 25 general bugle calls and 23 bugle calls for skirmishers. Yari may be able to point you to other/better sources.

https://regtqm.com/product/the-army-drum-fife-book/

The book has most of the calls in the video but does not include all of those in the video. For example it doesn't have:
  • First call
  • Guard mount
  • Mail call
  • First sergeant's call
  • Taps (the manual is dated 1861)
As with F&D camp duty, there can be a number of different versions depending on which manual you're using and from which time period. For example, I've had to learn 3 versions of F&D Reveille, one from the Rev War, another from the US Army prior to the Civil War, and a third from Bruce and Emmett, which was used by some Union units during the war.

[Side rant: I briefly belonged to a reenacting unit that portrayed Heavy Artillery infantry at Ft. McHenry. One day, they decided to perform a skirmish drill for the spectators. They had a new bugler who could play the skirmish calls, but only while reading from a manual, and only the Sergeant could recognize them and knew what they meant. So, the bugler would look at the manual, sound a call, and everyone would look at the Sergeant, and he would have to shout out what the call meant, instead of the troops reacting instinctively. Wasn't a very convincing demo. The point being that most reenactors in the US can't recognize the bugle calls except Taps and Reveille, or most of the F&D camp duty for that matter beyond Reveille. I became keenly aware of this when I switched from infantry to music.]
 
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Conf_Ed

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Dec 25, 2020
Thanks, Claude!
I enjoyed your "side rant", because i've had similar experiences, although not bugle related. It's not just me then 😋
So anyway, here she is. Came today. looks good, i reckon. I was trying out a few calls on my old copper British model bugle, and my wife told me she could hear me at the end of our road, a hundred or so yards away, and i was indoors with the windows closed (it's -16 Celsius out just now), so i think i'll not play it much this evening. Got to keep the neighbors sweet. Oh, and the missus, since i just bought a banjo:dance: hehehehe...

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