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Source of RAF March?

MGM·Lion 18 May 12 - 06:30 AM
Will Fly 18 May 12 - 10:18 AM
Will Fly 18 May 12 - 10:26 AM
Snuffy 18 May 12 - 12:03 PM
greg stephens 18 May 12 - 12:23 PM
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Subject: Source of RAF March?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 May 12 - 06:30 AM

The RAF March Past, written in 1918 by H Walford Davies, later Master of the King's Musick in the 1930s, is a familiar tune. Has it been previously noted that its opening phrase is very redolent of that of a song by A P Graves, Marching To Candahar, commemorating a triumphant forced march from Kabul to relieve the siege of Kandahar by General Roberts and his troops in the Second Afghan War, 1880, which was included in the New National Song Book of 1906. It was subsequently included by Walford Davies in a songbook for schools which he edited, I think in the 1930s, called The New Fellowship Song Book, which I remember singing from at Northampton Town & County School in the early 1940s.

Has anyone else noticed a resemblance between these two tunes? Who agrees with me that Davies probably derived the opening phrase of his distinguished march from Graves' Afghan War song, which he certainly knew as he published it in his above-mentioned collection?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Source of RAF March?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 May 12 - 10:18 AM

The first bar of "Candahar" is certainly the same as the March Past - no question of that - but then it deviates, as you say, Michael. I'm sure other composers have nicked the odd phrase, or should we say "quoted" from previous compositions!


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Subject: RE: Source of RAF March?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 May 12 - 10:26 AM

I've just been listening to various versions of the March Past on Spotify - huge variations in tempo! The fastest, by the Band of the RAF Regiment, clocks in at 1'47" - with the Central Band of the RAF doing it at a decent speed - at 2'00".

My father, who was in the RAF, always maintained that they marched at Guards' pace. Standard pace is 120 to the minute, though some regiments march at 140 and others at 112. Even at 140 a minute, I doubt that the RAF could have kept up with the 1'47" tune!


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Subject: RE: Source of RAF March?
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 May 12 - 12:03 PM

Quick march was only 90 for Gunners, so when carrying out drill in "mixed company" we always sounded like Corporal Jones.


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Subject: RE: Source of RAF March?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 May 12 - 12:23 PM

Not that it has any relevance to the discussion in hand, but it is an intriguing fact that AP Graves, writer of humomorous Irish songs among other things, was also the father of Robert Graves. Wgho was also a dab hand at singing humorous songs.


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