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Etymology of Taps?

Lin in Kansas 06 Mar 00 - 03:49 PM
Abby Sale 06 Mar 00 - 04:12 PM
Lin in Kansas 06 Mar 00 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Winters Wages 06 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Mar 00 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Bill in Alabama (at the office) 06 Mar 00 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Murray on Saltspring 06 Mar 00 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Karen 06 Mar 00 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Bill in Alabama (at work) 06 Mar 00 - 06:34 PM
Lin in Kansas 06 Mar 00 - 08:06 PM
richardw 06 Mar 00 - 08:30 PM
Mark Cohen 06 Mar 00 - 11:02 PM
Bob Bolton 07 Mar 00 - 01:05 AM
fox4zero 07 Mar 00 - 01:52 AM
Metchosin 07 Mar 00 - 04:01 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Mar 00 - 04:03 AM
Bob Bolton 07 Mar 00 - 07:56 AM
catspaw49 07 Mar 00 - 08:28 AM
richardw 07 Mar 00 - 12:19 PM
Liz the Squeak 07 Mar 00 - 02:12 PM
richardw 07 Mar 00 - 05:05 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 07 Mar 00 - 06:26 PM
catspaw49 07 Mar 00 - 06:36 PM
Lin in Kansas 07 Mar 00 - 06:56 PM
richardw 07 Mar 00 - 08:09 PM
Barry T 07 Mar 00 - 08:51 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 08 Mar 00 - 12:37 PM
Bert 08 Mar 00 - 01:13 PM
Scotsbard 09 Mar 00 - 01:25 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 09 Mar 00 - 02:20 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 09 Mar 00 - 02:22 PM
Penny S. 09 Mar 00 - 05:07 PM
Alice 06 Nov 00 - 09:54 PM
hrodelbert 06 Nov 00 - 11:27 PM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Nov 00 - 09:56 AM
dick greenhaus 07 Nov 00 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,GUEST CHARLES 07 Nov 00 - 02:01 PM
Alice 08 Nov 00 - 10:33 AM
Alice 08 Nov 00 - 10:40 AM
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Subject: Etimology of Taps?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 03:49 PM

A friend of mine sent me this story, and I'm wondering if there's any truth to it, or if it's just a romanticized version somebody made up. Any 'Catters know?

"It all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moan of a soldier who lay mortally wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.

Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the fallen soldier and began pulling him towards his encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern. Suddenly, he caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, he enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heart-broken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status. His request was partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for the son at the funeral. That request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

Out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of his dead son's uniform. This wish was granted. This music was the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" used at all military funerals."

Thanks!
Lin


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:12 PM

Well, it's a good story & I definately approve of good stories. Killing off the Ellicombe & the bugler might improve on it, though.

A more acepted (but not necessarily more likely story runs: Maj. Gen. Daniel Butterfield improvised Taps on or about July 5, 1862 while quartered at Harrison's Landing in Charles City County, VA. (No Confererate soldiers involved.)


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:48 PM

Yeah, that would sound a lot more realistic to me...although if Butterfield was just noodling around, it's pretty amazing that the song got spread so widely after that...I dunno, the other story sorta fits the era, don't you think?

Any of you Civil War recreationists know?

Lin


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST,Winters Wages
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM

I believe it was Butterfields bugler Oliver Norton who improvised on the notes..at least if my memory serves me (which has been under going a lot of senior moments lately) correctly from the PBS Civil War Series. I will confirm that this eve if I can Regards Winter Wages


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Subject: Origins: Etymology of Taps?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:02 PM

The word "etymology" (properly so spelled) is from the Greek "etymon", meaning the linguistic form from which another word is derived. It applies only to language.
I think the word you needed in your subject line is either "provenance" (if one wants to be academic about it), or perhaps "origin."

Dave (Hopeless Pedant) Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama (at the office)
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:05 PM

Taps, as I understand the background, was the lights-out call which followed Tatoo, or call to quarters. It was originally performed most commonly on a drum (hence the name -taps-), and later on trumpet or bugle. The tune we all know may very well have originated in the 1860's, but I suspect that there was a -taps- call in the military long before that tune existed. I used to know this, I think---but it's been a long time.....

Bill


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:16 PM

The etymology of "taps" seems to be the word "tap" meaning a drumbeat. As to the provenance (good word!) of the tune, it surely has some connection with the British Army's goodnight call, "The Last Post". This may be a chicken-and-egg question, but I suspect the Brit use would antedate the American.


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:26 PM

The story that I have found was that Union Gen. Butterfield wrote this tune for his bugler to play at the burials of his men, rather than giving them a gun salute. The story goes that when his soldiers tried to bury their men after a battle in VA, they drew enemy fire from the Conferates when the Confederates heard the gun salute. Gen. Butterfield was determined that his men still would receive a proper ceremony, but also wanted to protect his living soldiers.


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama (at work)
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 06:34 PM

Right, Murray--

The British call equivalent to -Taps- is known as -Last Post-- and is played following -Tattoo,- which is a call to quarters. The OED gives the use of -taps- as a term used in the American army. I suspect that most armies have a -last call,- or -lights out- or whatever; in the American military that last call became known as -taps-. What, I wonder, is the term used for the last call in the French army (so many American millitary terms were borrowed from the French)?


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:06 PM

Dave (HP) Oesterreich:

As a so-called professional editor/proofer, I bow my head in shame--thank you for the correction (ye gods, both spelling and word use incorrect...can I claim a brain yip?) You can bet I'll remember both in the future!

And long may hopeless pedants live--we need more of you trying to keep our language clean!

Lin


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: richardw
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:30 PM

Bobby Horton in his collection of 10 Civil War CDs says it was written by Butterfield' bugler

However, my recollection from my father, who was a Canadian military bandmaster, is that there is the Taps lights out bugle call, and the longer lament The Last Post which, naturally and appropriately includes Taps. (We played it at his graveside service)

The last post is played at Nov 11 services here in Canada. Taps I remember from Scout camp. To leaders it meant lights out--tous it meant just minuets until just minuetes until we could raid the other tents.

richard


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 11:02 PM

This is fascinating. My only recognition of "The Last Post" is from Eric Bogle's song "No Man's Land" -- "Did the bugles play The Last Post in chorus, did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?" I would like to know the melody, and if the melody of Taps is related.

Having been fortunate enough to have missed the military life (high number at the right time), my knowledge of bugle calls is limited to a couple of summers at camp, and the odd movie or cartoon. I wonder if there are stories behind the other calls, like Reveille, Call to Colors, Retreat, etc. Are there variations in different locations, as with fiddle tunes? Do any of them derive from folk tunes? (I suppose in a sense they are folk tunes...) When were they written down and codified? Somebody must have done a dissertation on this at some point.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 01:05 AM

G'day (he says, skipping jokes about the last post[ing],

It's worth remembering that all the bugle calls are based on a major chord, all that you can play on a simple trumpet with no valves or holes. (OK ... I know that this is not true ... for some talented players, but we are talking about the Army!) All the bugle calls are written in this harmonic series: 3 notes, maybe 2 octaves - a total of 7 separate notes.

Bugle calls are first and foremaost signals for a noisy battlefield. They are meant to be simple and memorable - and recognisable over a confused din. "Taps" is (as I hear it) an elaboration of the "Last Post" - a little up beat, a little busier ... a natural Americanisation of the older call?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: fox4zero
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 01:52 AM

Dear Winter Wages Guest

Language has been corrupted over the years:

It was really BUTTER-FINGERED BURGLAR OLLIE NORTH (who was dyslexic) who originated SPAT, a military order used in connection with chewing tobacco.

Hope that this has been helpful to all. PARISH


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Metchosin
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 04:01 AM

There is another interesting thread? on this here


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 04:03 AM

There are words to the Last Post, are there words to TAPS?

I can't find all the words, but they include something on the lines of day is done, all is well. They were only played during peacetime, when all were safe in their barracks. Playing Tattoo is the call back to barracks, if you aren't in by the beginning of Last Post, you are AWOL.

For Armistice and Rememberance services the Last Post is played usually after the silence, and was meant to be followed by Revelle - literally 'revive' or get up, the two were put together to encourage the belief that those who had died were waking up to heaven's glory. I used to ignore this part of the service. Since I worked in a military museum, saw the war diaries that give daily casualty lists of thousands, some still stained with the mud and blood of Flanders, I pay a bit more attention. Even thinking about it now, gets me choked up.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 07:56 AM

G'day again,

Liz T S:

I thought those words were belonged to Taps, rather than the Last Post. Last Post has very few notes and Taps seems to have added enough repetitions to fit the words.

As I remember the words, they are (~):
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the sea, from the hils, from the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh

These I remember from a school camp about 42 years ago. I can't imagine this set of words surviving unscathed in any military camp - peacetime or otherwise.

BTW: Subsequent to my last post (... no! ... leave it alone!) I looked up some bugle calls and they all seem to use only 4 notes of the major chord (thus a Bb bugle would sound from F to f), so it seems that only the dominant note can be reliably overblown to a higher octave. Writing bugle calls is like devising clock chimes: the important thing is clear signalling, not high art.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:28 AM

Try this site....Its really excellent and if you click on the songs section you will find a "History of Taps" which is quite good. Kat ran across this site awhile back and I cannot recommend it enough!!! Very well done. Read the section on reenactors and authentic music and instruments also.

POETRY and MUSIC of the WAR BETWEEN THE STATES

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: richardw
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 12:19 PM

A more direct route is:

http://www.west-point.org/taps/Taps.html

This says taps is 24 notes. This fits the words day is done.

Last Post is much longer. Once upon a time I could play it--no longer with echoes of other calls such as revellie hinted at in the tune.

Maybe there is a midi out there somewhere.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 02:12 PM

Yes those are the words to Last Post, but there is a whole bunch of B music that doesn't always get played, that also has words, but I've never found the whole lot yet.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: richardw
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 05:05 PM

Here is another site with an Aussie version of the origin.There is a Quicktime audio file here but I cannot get it to play.

I was wrong--Taps is not on the Bobbie Horton CD but on Songs of the Civil War.It is the 24 note version.

http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/last_post.htm

richard


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 06:26 PM

Just to amplify a little on what Bob Bolton was saying-

The bugle is one of a number of horns that are called natural horns,because they only play the pitches in the harmonic overtone series of the fundamental--(Bb, for instance) the harmonics work pretty much like they do on the guitar, except (for some reason that I have never quite understood) the lowest pitch that you can play is actually the octave of the fundamental--

The notes that it plays, in the key of C (for all transposing instruments, the fundamental called C, even though it isn't) are (C)C-G-c-e-g-c-and so on, the first C being the note it doesn't really play--

The funny thing is, though, in the harmonic overtone series, the number of notes you can play doubles in each succeeding octave, One note in the lowest--Two notes in the second octave, Four in the third (which is where the bugle calls mostly are) eight in the fourth, and Sixteen in the fifth(if you could play there, which you can't)--

There is a particular style of Trumpet, used in Bach's time, called Klarinblasen, which used the notes in the fourth octave, which, through advanced lip-technique, the players could bend so that they corresponded to scale notes-

The third octave is the easiest to play in, though it doesn't have as many notes as the one above--

Military music is based on drum cadences-each military unit has it's own unique cadence, used for marching drills and parades. and, as the pipers among us know, for dancing--and bugle calls tend to simply use bounce through the octaves and major triad using one cadence or another(after a while, they tend to sound more alike than different)

Since brass music up until 1813 (when the valve was invented) was written within the limitations described above--and since they were widely used and written for from the sixteenth century, I am inclined to believe that most good music for bugles and other natural horns must have been pretty much written well before the Civil War--I mean, how many melodic possiblilities are there for the four or five notes in a two octave major chord?


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 06:36 PM

Ted..think about the length and wave form of a string and how it's wavelength and frequency changes as it is shortened. Its a similar thing to your question on the bugle. More is possible as the wavelegth shortens.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 06:56 PM

Thanks, you guys, this has been very interesting! (And 'Spaw, thanks for linking that site--cool!)

Lin


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: richardw
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:09 PM

http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/last_post.htm

Just managed to download from this site. It is indeed Last Post not Taps -- and a lovely version.

richard


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Barry T
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:51 PM

Three verses of lyrics along with my midi are here


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 12:37 PM

Yes--with a string, you are actually able to produce those higher range harmonics--not necessarily a good thing, because many of the the higher harmonics don't correspond to pitches in the tempered scale that we use--

I have just spend an ungodly amount of time studying Hindemith's system for deriving the chromatic scale from the harmonic overtone series, so all of these issues are fresh in my mind, and, music wonk that I am, I pore over the calculations until they actually mean something to me--

I have been thinking about devising a quarter-tone type scale based on the harmonics in the fifth octave, and fooling around with it to explore the possibilities for harmonies. The critical problem is that one needs an instrument of some sort to play the scale on--


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Bert
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 01:13 PM

M. Ted,

Try a Santur for your instrument. It's a hammered dulcimer but each course of strings has it's own movable bridge, which looks somewhat like a pawn in chess with a flat top. They user quarter tones in Iran and move the bridges individually when playing different tunes.

So you'd have a lot of freedom tuning to any special scale.

Bert.

P.S. Get ol' Spaw to make you one.


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Scotsbard
Date: 09 Mar 00 - 01:25 PM

That contemplator site is an execellent resource ... Thanks, Barry T ~S~


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 09 Mar 00 - 02:20 PM

Thanks for the tip Bert--it shows that you do your homework--and a Santur-like instrument is a definite possibility-Harry Partch actually used an instrument based on the Kanu'un(which is a similar instument, but plucked instead of hammered) for his 39 pitch scale--

The only thing is that the Santur is intended for playing melodic music, the bridge really functions as a way of altering the pitch of any given note--since my intent is to work with harmonies, I need to have all the pitches available all the time--

It would be very possible to just tune a Santur or Kanu'un to each of the fractional pitches that I derive--and it would work for demonstrating intervals, but I am not sure how easy to play this instrument would be--

On an extremely wonkish note--Neither Persian, Arabic, nor Turkish music use actual "Quarter-tones"-- The intervals between pitches are allocated in a completely different way than in what we call "Western" music--and there are additional steps that are possible--some of which are considerably smaller than the smallest half step that we use--

I have been told that in Turkish classical music, there are about 180 different scales that are used--The scales typically have seven steps, and each scale has a name, which describes the pattern of intervals in the scale, the lengths of the intervals themselves are tradtionally set by the players themselves--

This alteration of pitch by player is in concept and function to the "blue" note that occurs in blues and jazz--It is easy to jump to conclusions here, and, considering the considerable interrelationship of Arabic and African cultures, it would be hard for anyone to refute you--

Anyway, S'Paw, if you are still there, what are the cost/time components of a project like this?


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 09 Mar 00 - 02:22 PM

Thanks for the tip Bert--it shows that you do your homework--and a Santur-like instrument is a definite possibility-Harry Partch actually used an instrument based on the Kanu'un(which is a similar instument, but plucked instead of hammered) for his 39 pitch scale--

The only thing is that the Santur is intended for playing melodic music, the bridge really functions as a way of altering the pitch of any given note--since my intent is to work with harmonies, I need to have all the pitches available all the time--

It would be very possible to just tune a Santur or Kanu'un to each of the fractional pitches that I derive--and it would work for demonstrating intervals, but I am not sure how easy to play this instrument would be--

On an extremely wonkish note--Neither Persian, Arabic, nor Turkish music use actual "Quarter-tones"-- The intervals between pitches are allocated in a completely different way than in what we call "Western" music--and there are additional steps that are possible--some of which are considerably smaller than the smallest half step that we use--

I have been told that in Turkish classical music, there are about 180 different scales that are used--The scales typically have seven steps, and each scale has a name, which describes the pattern of intervals in the scale, the lengths of the intervals themselves are tradtionally set by the players themselves--

This alteration of pitch by player is in concept and function to the "blue" note that occurs in blues and jazz--It is easy to jump to conclusions here, and, considering the considerable interrelationship of Arabic and African cultures, it would be hard for anyone to refute you--

Anyway, S'Paw, if you are still there, what are the cost/time components of a project like this?


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Penny S.
Date: 09 Mar 00 - 05:07 PM

Going back a bit, I learned those words in the Guides, and called the song Taps. And when we lived at Dover, we heard the Duke of York's Military School playing Last Post every night. It had a chill eerieness as it came over the valley.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Alice
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 09:54 PM

The story that started this thread is still traveling around as email. I found this page,
http://www.angelfire.com/pa2/Stump45/taps.html
carrying on the myth.


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: hrodelbert
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 11:27 PM

One of the only things that the cavalry had in common with the infantry was 'Taps' All the other calls Last Post etc. were quite different. Cavalry Calls were made on a trumpet as opposed to a bugle which was simply longer and larger and in a different key. As far as I know there was a sort of mouth music which one learnt to remember the calls. Playing the calls is called 'Sounding' by the way and the mouth music thing imitated the way the call was tongued. e.g. da dum digidigi dum da dum da digidigi dum. Each of the calls also had words some of which were quite rude and others quaint. Mess Call for instance was "I wentto the cookhouse and what did I see fuckall for supper and fuckall for tea. Last Post started "If he wants to die let him die"

Ta! Hrodelbert


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 09:56 AM

US Army mess call, when I was in that estimable organization, had popular words as follows:

Soupy, soupy, soupy, without a single bean
Bacon, bacon, bacon, without a streak of lean. Coffee, coffee, coffee, the weakest ever seen!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 10:16 AM

Getting back to etymology, does anyone know where the word Taps (as used here) came from?


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST,GUEST CHARLES
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 02:01 PM

Tattoo was the call for the tavern owners to turn off the taps, and the troops to return to their post. So taps would literly means the beer taps. It was witten based on tattoo.


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Alice
Date: 08 Nov 00 - 10:33 AM

Here's what is written at a website for Richmond, VA.

------

The Unceremonious Origin of Taps
Beth Ferrara, about.com

The eerie melody of Taps is recognizable to most Americans and to all of our soldiers as the traditional song of endings. It marks the end of the day as well as the end of lives. Written in 1862 by Dan Buttefield, a Union General, the song quickly became the nation's requiem.

Camped at the Berkley Plantation shortly after the battles of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill, Buttefield and his men were spending an uncomfortable July night in the Virginia heat. When it came time for lights out, the bugler played the traditional French Extinguish Lights melody, a song Buttefield had always disliked.

Inspired by his aversion to the song he'd just heard, Buttefield set out to write something more soothing to end the day. O.W. Norton, Buttefield's 22 year old bugler, recounts what happened next: "Buttefield, showing me some notes on staff written in pencil on the back envelope, asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound the call thereafter, in place of the regular call. The music was beautiful on the still summer nights and was heard far beyond the limits of our brigade. The next day I was visited by several other buglers from neighboring brigades asking for a copy of the music, which I gladly furnished."

The song drifted over the battlefield, and it is said that Confederate buglers began playing it as well. To avoid instigating unexpected attacks during the war, Taps was substituted for the customary rifle volleys played at military funerals.

When Buttefield died in 1901, Taps was played at his burial at West Point where his white marble monument still stands.


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Alice
Date: 08 Nov 00 - 10:40 AM

The source I just posted says it is "Buttefield", not "Butterfield". ??????? more confusion


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Louie Roy
Date: 23 May 02 - 11:49 PM

Check this web site out for the true story on Taps
www.arlingtoncemetery.com/tapsproj.htm
This give a documented version by a Master Sergeant Jari Villanueva.Louie Roy


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 02 - 12:14 AM

If I remember aright, which may be open to question to start with.... the bugle was primarily an instrument for mounted regiments. Infantry would parade with bands, but in battle, bandsmen acted as medical orderlies, stretcher parties etc. Infantry drilled and moved in column and/or line on the battlefield to orders relayed as signals by the tap of drum and/or possibly a fife. The highland regiments were different - of course some would say the pipes are a weapon of war in their own right and should be banned under the Geneva Convention.... Anyway, some officers or sergeants would also carry a whistle.

Cavalry units obviously could not carry a drum (or bagpipes) for this sort of thing, and so a trooper with a bugle remained by the commander's side ready to sound the ordered command. Initially, this may have been a very simple sequence of notes ascending/descending. Simple things do tend to get fancier with use, as many folkies may have found, so buglers would tend to add flourishes etc..

When the rifle appeared on the scene around 1800, the 95th were trained to act independently, and so were equipped with horns or bugles instead of the drum to relay signals, and this appears on their badges. This could be the origin of the use of the bugle rather than more conventional band instruments to sound certain calls in British infantry units. Seems logical, comments ?


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Subject: RE: Etimology of Taps?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:08 AM

The website cited by Catspaw and richardw early in this thread has Villanueva's story (Twenty-four Notes That Tap Deep Emotions) as well.
M. Webster's Collegiate suggests that taps may be an alteration of the earlier taptoo (note spelling).
Many years ago I attended a military school (cavalry-oriented). Tattoo and Taps were played on the trumpet every night by a young man who was a master. Every one listened silently as he played the 24 notes of Taps. There was always a space before the usual after-lights-out low chatter resumed. One of those memories that keep coming back.


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 24 May 02 - 04:20 AM

Alice, it might have been typed by somebody with Butterfingers.


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:10 AM

Talking of bugle calls, and remembering a recent thread on old tv shows, anyone remember the show which shared its name with a cavalry call ? "Boots And Saddles"


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: ozmacca
Date: 24 May 02 - 06:01 AM

OH, no Nigel .... How could you? I've been trying to forget F Troop. It was memories of F troop that made me join the artillery........


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: GUEST,Keith A at work
Date: 24 May 02 - 06:42 AM

Always better than Rin Tin Tin I thought.I t always started with the Boots And Saddles call, but what were the series of calls sounded at the end?


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 24 May 02 - 08:25 PM

I joined the navy so didn't hear bugles except for reville and taps in boot camp. Keep in mind that we may never know the origen of the music although I believe it was Butterfield's bugler who came up with the call not "Old Dan". The infantry certainly used a bugle even in the Mexican war which accounts for mounted rifle regiments (The Mexican war and antebellum period equivilent of mechanized infantry) wearing a bugle device on their hats. Infantry units wore a hunter's horn on theirs So bugle call were part and parcel of infantry life during the Civil War reville has it's own words whic are rather rude but then think about what the call is used.. Something along the lines of "He can't get it up/he can' t get it up..." Ad nauseum and yeas there are other words but I can't remember them just yet, Sorry neil


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: DonD
Date: 24 May 02 - 09:42 PM

Twice, I've composed a long post only to hit some wrong key and have the whole thing disappear. Third and last try, and if I screw this one up, tou'll never know.

The most ubiquitous bugle call -- at leasr in the US, at every baseball stadium that boasts a sound system --derives from all thos eWesterns we were raised on in which the cavalry rides to the rescue and at the crucial moment (the wagon train is just about to give up hope) the troop commander utters the immortal line, "Bugler, sound the CHARGE!"

Now when the team need a rally, the organist/tape plays the stirring notes and the loyal fans scream, "CHARGE!" I'm sure this hasn't spread to cricket, and I've never herard it at American football games, but is there such a practice at Rugby, FA or Australian Rules games? Yet?

I'm surprised that some enterprising promotion man hasn't figured out how to co-opt "Taps" as well, maybe to mark the end of a lost game or season, or to mock the visiting team if it's been shellacked.


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 May 02 - 01:11 PM

The book "Sound Off! Soldier Songs" by Dolph has three sets of words to Taps, which I never heard when I was in the Army.

Fading light
Dims the sight
And a star
Gems the sky gleaming bright,
From afar, drawing nigh,
Falls the night.

Love, sweet dreams!
Lo, the beams
Of the light
Fairy moon kiss the streams.
Love, good night!
Ah, so soon!
Peaceful dreams!

Dear one, rest!
In the west
Sable night
Lulls the day on her breast.
Sweet, good night!
Now away
To thy rest.

Can't you imagine the retiring soldiers murmuring these timeless lines? These were composed for the women at home.

The book repeats the old story that Taps came from tap-too used during the Thirty Years War as the signal to turn the tap "to" and cease the night's beer-drinking.


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 May 02 - 01:32 PM

While there are many more stanzas available the most commonly sung, for campfire closings, are the simple, lyrical ones of:

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lake,
from the hills,
from the sky;
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 26 May 02 - 03:49 PM

Ozmacca: Good to see someone else recalls F-Troop, but, IIRC "Boots and Saddles" was a completely different show, and preceded it by at least a decade!

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 26 May 02 - 10:42 PM

Damn! So it was.... Now I'm going to have to try to forget it again....

And to fit in the theme, I've just heard a repeat of that deathless line in an old Goon Show, with major Bloodnok saying,

"Bugler, sound the sound of the buge" (pronounced b-yoo-g)


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Subject: RE: Etymology of Taps?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 27 May 02 - 12:37 PM

Regarding the etymology, I read a number of years ago that "Tattoo" (which in British usage is a military display or performance - cf. the Edinburgh tattoo) comes from the Dutch "Tap toe", i.e. close the taps on the canteen beer barrels. It would seem reasonable to assume that the American name "taps" refers to the same function.

Regarding bugles and trumpets, in the British Army the bugle was used for signalling in the infantry, whereas trumpets were used in the cavalry (both are still in use for ceremonial purposes by the appropriate regiments). I believe that drums also had a signalling function, though I don't know if this predated or complemented the use of wind instruments.

Regarding use in funeral or memorial services, the practice in Ireland (and I imagine at least some other countries of a predominantly Christian tradition) is to play the last post followed by reveille, representing death and resurrection.


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