Drummer (1) (The)
X:1 T:Drummer , The M:C| L:1/8 B:Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1757) Z:Transcribed and edited by Fynn Titford-Mock, 2007 Z:abc's:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Gmin B/A/|GABG D/D/D DE|F2 FG A>BcA|GABG D/D/D De|dcBA G/G/G G:| |:F|B/B/B Bd|c/c/c ce|B/B/B Bd cAFA|B/B/B Bd c/c/c ce|dcBA G/G/G G:||
DRUMMER, THE. AKA – "The Drummers." AKA and see "Good Morning to Your Night Cap (2)," "Jack the brisk young drummer," "Jack the drummer," "Piper o' Dundee (The)," "Taylor." Scottish, English, Canadian; Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. G Minor (Ross, Thompson): A Dorian/Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (most sources): AABB (Gow/Carlin, Ross). "Very old" notes Gow in his Repository (1802) and MacDonald in The Skye Collection (1887). Glen's (1891) found that the earliest printing of this popular melody occurs in Neil Stewart's Collection of the Newest and Best Reels or Country Dances, published in Edinburgh in 1761 (reissued in 1775). However, it appears much earlier in English publications, including Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances, vol. 3 (c. 1740, p. 21), John Johnson's Choice Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2 (1744), Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master, Fourth Book (c. 1747, p. 182), Samuel, Ann and Peter Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1757) and David Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, 1756). Manuscript versions appear in Thomas Hammersley's copybook (London, c. 1790), and fluter John Simpson's c. 1750 music manuscript pages (bound with a printed flute tutor). It can also be found in the 1747 commonplace book of Walter Rainstorp (Cheapside, London), William Vickers' Northumbrian music manuscript collection (1770), and in the American fiddler Daniel T. Aborn's commonplace book (1790–1809).
A similar tune, although in a different key, is "Wearying on the Gill Stoup," a pipe tune contained in the Edinburgh Collection, Book 2 (c. 1910). Barry Shears, in his Gathering of the Clans Collection, vol. 1 (1986), prints an untitled pipe reel (p. 54) that appears to be a version. In addition, says Shears, he has heard a Gaelic song called "Seallaibh curaigh, Eohainn" sung in Nova Scotia by Mrs. Annie Arnett for the School for Scottish Studies, that "bears a striking resemblance to this tune."
Indexer Bruce Olson suggested this tune was the original of John O'Keefe's "Good Morrow to Your Night Cap," a song written for his farce The Good Soldier. Graham Christian [CDSS News #201, March/April 2008] believes that "The Drummer" is associated with Joseph Addison's (1672–1719) comedy The Drummer; or, The Haunted House, published anonymously in 1714 . Addison, a poet, politician, and essayist as well as a playwright, gained fame as the author of the very successful play Cato (1712), and, with his fried Richard Steele, as the founder of the periodical The Spectator. The Drummer, however, was not a success, nor has time improved the opinion of his effort; in fact, the play closed on its third night. The comedy was based on the famous rapping spirit at Tedworth (1662), in the reign of Charles II, which reveals the title to refer not a martial musician, but rather to a pernicious poltergeist:
The troubles began with rappings on the walls of the house, and on a drum taken by Mr. Mompesson from a vagrant musician. This man seems to have been as much vexed as Parolles by the loss of his drum, and the Psychical Society at Ragley believed him to be a magician, who had bewitched the house of his oppressor. While Mrs. Mompesson was adding an infant to her family the noise ceased, or nearly ceased, just as, at Epworth, in the house of the Rev. Samuel Wesley, it never vexed Mrs. Wesley at her devotions. Later, at Tedworth, 'it followed and vexed the younger children, beating their bedsteads with that violence, that all present expected when they would fall in pieces'. . . . It would lift the children up in their beds. Objects were moved: lights flitted around, and the Rev. Joseph Glanvill could assure Lady Conway that he had been a witness of some of these occurrences. [Andrew Lang, Cock Lane and Common-Sense, 1894]