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Stosh

Functional Troop Buglers

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This wasn't Bugling MB. I could probably do that in about 10 minutes (if I was a counselor) provided the Scout knew all the calls already. :-)

 

I tried something new with the two new guys last night -- had I not done that, we probably could have been done in less than 20 minutes. I took the "adult association" part seriously. I asked them about their troops, their rank. Then we started in on music. I asked them what instruments they play, who they study with, their school bands, etc. After that, we started to go over the requirements. Since there are two requirements that involve options, we talked about the possibilities. They'd ask questions, basically trying to figure out how little they could do to pass (I'm only being slightly sarcastic here...one requirement, for example, says something like "catalog your, or your parent's, collection of 12 or more CDs, tapes, LPs, etc"...one of them starts going down the path of "my parents have lots of CDs, so is it okay if I just catalog Christmas CDs?").

 

After that, I focused on the one requirement about families of musical instruments. We went through them, discussing which ones belong in which categories, and how the "class" of instrument produces sound. It was more discussion than teaching, although I couldn't help myself at one point, and introduced the concept of the harmonic series to them. When I drew out a sine wave, they'd mentioned seeing it in some class at school already.

 

Lots of MBs have core requirements that demonstrate a basic proficiency in the subject area. In this case, I wish Music MB had a little bit more of general music in it, such as discussions of the basic elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, etc.). I think there could be some "gravitas" added to the merit badge without making it unwieldy. As it stands, it's a pretty simple MB.

 

Guy

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I love Tatoo, as a musical piece.

http://bands.army.mil/music/bugle/calls/tattoo.mp3

http://bands.army.mil/music/bugle/tattoo.asp

I lived in the historic buildings at Fort Riley in my first duty assignment; one of the Main Post loudspeakers for bugle calls was less than 100 meters away. It was something special every night as I drifted off to sleep. Even so, the history of Tatoo is:

Tattoo originated during the Thirty Years War, 1618-1648, and in German was called "Zapfenstreich." At 9:00 P.M., as the call was sounded, all bungs (zapfen) had to be replaced in their barrels, signifying the end of nightly drinking. The provost guard then drew a chalk line (streich) across the bung so that it could not be reopened without evidence of tampering. Tattoo is the longest U.S. Army call, consisting of twenty- eight measures. The first eight are from the French call "Extinction de Feux" and the last twenty measures are from the British "First Post" - in turn adapted from an old Neapolitan Cavalry call "Il Silencio".

http://www.kmialumni.org/bugle_calls.html

 

I'd much rather see a Boy Scout Troop using "Call to Quarters" http://bands.army.mil/music/bugle/calls/CallToQuarters.mp3

http://bands.army.mil/music/bugle/calltoquarters.asp

It "signals all personnel not authorized to be absent to their quarters for the night."

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Traditional calls for these reasons.

 

Assembly

 

Gather in your patrols, yell, flag, line up, quick inspection.

 

First Call

 

Also known as musicians call. Usually played 15 minutes before revellie. Buglers, drummers and fifers gather for the first time each day.

 

Officer's Call

 

Call the PLC together

 

To the Colors (Which is played in place of the National Anthem when a band is not available) TO THE COLOR if only the American Flag is being used. Colors was a term used to indicate National and regimental flags together. The patrols start moving to the parade ground at the sounding of the last note.

 

Played so that the patrols having gathered in camp now move to the parade line

 

Taps

 

Traditionally played on the drum. Drummer quietly tapped out quiet beats to mark the end of the day. All lights were out at the last tap.

 

Now it's the last call of the night, replaced LIGHTS OUT after the Civil War. Eventually drum taps were dropped when the bugle call TAPS was introduced.

 

Reveille

 

Out of bed and lined up in patrols by the end of the call. Boys usually get a 15 minute heads up having heard FIRST CALL gathering the musicians. No excuse not to be up and ready by the time revielle is sounded.

 

Tattoo ?

 

Mess Call, Church Call, Fatigue Call, Sick Call, etc. were all used to indicate certain activities that were going to be happening during the day.

 

Retreat

 

End of the activity, return to camp.

 

Typical Day:

 

First Call

Reveille

Assembly

To the Color(s)

Retreat

Mess Call

Officers Call

Church Call (if Sunday)

Retreat

Sick Call

Fatigue Call

Retreat

Mess Call

Fatigue Call

Retreat

Mess Call

Assembly

To the Color(s)

Retreat

Taps

 

Hope this helps.

 

Also a troop/patrol needs a 4-5 note ditty to indicate that the bugle call is for them and not someone else. I.e. If the ditty indicates a troop, everyone in the troop does it. If it's a patrol ditty, then just that patrol is to listen to the call. It might be the troop ditty followe by the patrol ditty. If a camp has 20 troop buglers, how are your boys going to know which bugler to listen to, especially if he's calling the boys back to their own camp and he's a long ways off?

 

Stosh

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Stosh, Thanks for all that detail. It will certainly give me quite a bit of information to pass on to our new SPL an Bugler.

 

Tell me more about he little prefatory ditty for the patrols. You say it is 4-5 notes. If we are using one troop bugler, should each patrol (if they have any musical talent) make up their own ditty, or is this something for the Bugler to do? (We only have 3 patrols now, so it is not a big deal)

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It's going to be hard to sing on the forum so I'll try a couple of examples. Let's say for example, the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth dit dit dit dah. The signal for victory, the 3 notes one pitch, then fourth note lower. Easier yet might be Mary Had a Little Lamb opening notes or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star opening notes. Just a short musical ditty that the boys will remember. Then if the boys wish to number the patrols off they could do the Beethoven with a single note for patrol #1, two short blasts for patrol #2, etc. Otherwise, just the troop ditty with a patrol ditty, such as Beethoven's Fifth followed by Mary Had a Little Lamb. Another common ditty is the "Charge" that they use at sporting events. One might get a copy of the old bugle calls "Bruce and Emmitt" and pick up an obscure bugle call for a ditty. HALT from a forward march is Dah, Dah Dit, Dah, Dah, Dit, for example with the dit a higher pitch. No matter what is used as long as the members of the troop/patrol know their ditty, they can then stop and listen to the next call and know what to do.

 

Traditionally this ditty was created by the bugler and assigned to a company of the regiment. Regimental call, then the company call, same as troop call, then patrol call.

 

As long as the boys know the ditty and it's not being used by another troop, you should be okay. Just remember that the whole idea behind it is to catch the attention of the boys, certain boys, and then give the command call. Be creative, the more creative your bugler can be, or catchy the ditty, the easier it will be for the boys to remember. It's going to be difficult enough for the boys to learn all the calls. The bugler is going to have to be patient enough teach it and then use it often enough so the boys can learn it from rote. Eventually, the SM will get up from his lawn chair, stretch, say to the bugler, "Call Retreat" and all the boys should be back in camp in about 5 minutes. When patrol #3 gets 2 minutes out from serving dinner, the grubmaster tells the bugler, "Wolf Patrol, mess call," and all the boys from that patrol should have mess kit in hand ready to go in about 2-3 minutes. At 10:00 pm, the SM says, "Time for Taps," the bugler plays Troop Ditty/Taps and heads for bed. Next morning, SPL rouses the bugler by saying, "First Call" and he hops out of bed cheery and bright and sounds off Troop Ditty/FIRST CALL, followed 15 minutes later with Troop/REVEILLE. Quick Roll Call to make sure everyone's up, and a half hour later, automatically plays Troop Ditty/ASSEMBLY and the boys fall in with full uniform ready for morning flags (parade). When the camp bugler plays Camp Ditty/TO THE COLOR, the troop Bugler echoes it and off they go to flags.

 

The reason the Bugler is a POR is because it's really a functional position with a ton of responsibility if done right. If not, it's a patch for the scout to gain rank without having to do any work.

 

Stosh

 

Oh, to live in a perfect world.

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Thanks Stosh. That really gives me what I want to know. Our bugler is excited about learning, and preforming this duty. It will be a matter of learning this (bugler, SPL, patrols and SM). I will take the time to talk to him and to the SPL together tonight (we have a campout in another 2 weeks).

 

Do you also use a bugler at troop meetings?

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My troop did, back in the 60s. Provided ceremonial music for To The Color at opening, and Retreat at closing...

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I'm a bugler from way back in my youth. My son is interested in becoming a bugler, too, so we've done a bit of looking around.

 

Just about every bugle call is available online in print, and as an mp3. We found good information on the US Army Band website, and on Wikipedia. For me, at least, learning by ear was quicker than reading the music.

 

No more buglers than there are these days a troop call probably isn't needed in the beginning, but once you have a bugler it might catch on...

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Nothing brightens my day like reviving an old thread, don't you think?

 

Well we are off to camp in two days. Our old bugler, about whom I talked earlier, is still officially our bugler. However, following our camp last year, he seems to have lost his bugle (had it at camp and used it but it never arrived at home :( ). On a few outings, he has brought his trumpet, but only occasionally. In spite of this, he steadily improved in his playing and confidence. He never completely grasped the concept of why he was playing; in other words, he never really got that bugling was a way of communicating.

 

We have now had another scout (who plays the trumpet in middle school) step up and ask to play at camp. One of our leaders loaned him his bugle last night, and the first time he has ever picked up a bugle, he played a perfect taps. Brought a tear to my eye. He immediately went to the (acting) SPL to discuss what he wanted him to learn for camp. As he only has 2 days to practice, it was agreed that he would learn: Assembly, Mess, Reveille, To the Colors, Retreat and Taps. I was impressed that both these scouts understood the importance of the bugle and appreciated its functional application. FWIW, the SPL does not play an instrument.

 

I am looking forward to a great camp with a bugler, who even if he is a novice to the bugle, is eagerly embracing this responsibility.

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I recently attended a Marine funeral with an Honor guard and my son and I are pretty sure that the Marine on the bugle was not playing. It was pre-recorded. The Marine Bugler's face and chest muscles never moved. And we could see the insert and we watched him turn it off when the ceremony was over.

 

Here is one; its a little pricey if it were half the $175 asking price we may consider it for Troop purposes.

 

http://www.ceremonialbugle.com/works.htm

 

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GKlose,

 

Trumpets are used in Drum and Bugle Corps, in addition to other brass instruments (Mellophones, Baritones, Tubas) there are variations for trumpets in different keys.

 

For those wishing to practice bugle calls on the trumpet, the best valve setting to use is 1-3. It gives the most harmonics in a reasonable playing range. (G - D - G - B - D - G), although ANY valve setting can be used.

 

When I was in high school, I was asked to play the "echo" of Taps at a Memorial Day ceremony. The first player was a WWII vet with a bugle in an unknown key. I was 100 yards away behind a tree to play the echo. I spent most of his time trying to figure out what key he was playing in, so that my taps would sound the same...of course is was somewhere between keys, so I had to adjust 3 of my slides to make the pitch match....which I did.

 

I came back to the band and showed my band director what I had to do to my trumpet to match pitch....he smiled and said, "Why do you think I sent *you* out there?".

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