Dumbarton's Drums (1)

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X:1 T:Dumbarton’s Drums beat Bonny M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" B:Oswald – Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 2 (1760, p. 3) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G>A|B3d B>dA>B|G2 (d>e) d2 T(c>B)|(AGA)B (cB)T(AG)|e2 (e>f) e2 (d>e)| (gfg)a baTg>e|dBde {de}g2G2|AB g(f/e/) (A>G)|E2 (e>f) e2:| |:(d>e)|g3a (g>a)(b>a)|g2 b>c' b2 (ag)|(ag)ab c'bT(a>g)|e2 (ab) a2 (ge)| (de)(ga) (b>g)(a>e)|gdeg TB2 A>G|b>a ge (d<B) (TA>F)|E2 (e>f) e2:| |:G>A|B2g4 TB>A|G2 {Bc}d4 T(c>B)|A2a4 T(G>F)|E2 (e>f) e2 (G>E)| (DE)(GA) TB2 (A>G)|g>a (b/g/a/b/) (d<B) TA>G|A(.g.f.e) d(c/B/) (c/B/)(A/G/)| E2 e>f e2:: G>A|B2 g>a g2 TB>A|G2 (g>a) g2 (eg)|(agab) abag| (e>d) (e/d/e/)g/ a2 T(g>e)|gGga (b/a/g/b/) (a/g/e/a/)|(gf)(ed) TB2 A>G| b(a/b/) (a/g/f/e/) (d>B) T(A>G) |E2 (e>f) e2::g>a|b2 (3ged (B>e) (d/B/A/B/)| G g2 (f/e/) {e}d3 (c/B/)|{B}A3B (G>A)(F>G)|E2 e>f e2 d>e| g2 (3bag F2 (3agf eged B2 T(A>G)|(ga/b/) (ef/g/) (d<B) T(A>G)| E2 (e>f) e2::(d>e)|g2 (3bag G2 (3bag|d2 (b>c') b2 T(a>g)| a2 (3d'c'b (3c'ba (3bag|(ede)g a2 T(g>e)|gGgb F2 (3agf| Eged B2 TA>G|(b>a) ge (d<B) T(A>G)|E2 (e>f) e2:|]



DUMBARTON'S DRUMS [1]. AKA - "Dumbarton's Drums Beat Bonny." AKA and see "I serve a worthie laddie," "Old Dumbarton Drums," "Scotch Tune." Scottish, Scottish Measure and Air. F Major/D Minor. Standard tuning(fiddle) . AABB. Emmerson (1972) characterizes this (and other Scottish Measure tunes) as a "slightly different style of Scottish double hornpipe air." The melody was first published in England as a generically-titled "Scotch Tune" in John Playford's Apollo's Banquet (Sixth Ed., 1690). In its native Scotland the song and tune proved durable and popular; it earliest appears in the Skene Manuscript from the early seventeenth century (c. 1615-1630, see "I serve a worthie laddie") and subsequently was published in over 20 sources before 1793. The Gow's printed it in their Repository, Part Second, 1802 (see "Old Dumbarton Drums"). Robert Burns referred to it as a "West Highland" air in his manuscript notes. It appears in O'Farrell's Pocket Companion vol. III (1810/20) p. 55.

"Dumbarton's Drums" is the oldest tune played for a march-past in the British army, i.e. when a regiment passed in review in front of an inspecting officer on formal occasions. It was the particular march of the Royal Scots, The Royal Regiment, 'First of Foot, Right of the Line and Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard', named for Lord George Douglas, the 1st Earl of Dumbarton, who commanded the regiment from 1655 until its recall in 1678. David Murray (Music of the Scottish Regiments, Edinburgh, 1994, p. 178) states, "'Dumbarton's Drums' might well be older than its name suggests. If, as seems probable, the Royal Scots were playing it when they finally reverted to the British service, it appears likely that the association of the tune with the regiment might have begun during an earlier spell in the French service. But be that as it may, the first definite connection between the tune and the name appears to be in a book of Scots songs and airs published in 1724." In 1881 all the British army infantry regiments were ordered to submit for appraisal by the Horse Guards (the headquarters of the army) all the tunes used for such occasions. The Royal Scots Regiment (who used "Dumbarton's Drums") did not obey, and to this day the march, which continues to be used, has never been officially approved.

It was the Celtic population of Scotland that gave the name Dun Breattan (now Dumbarton), 'the fort of the Britons', to the stronghold of that people on the Clyde (Matthews, 1972). In more modern times Dumbarton has long been a county town on the north side of the Forth of Clyde, about fifteen miles from Glasgow, and is the principle town of the county of Dunbartonshire. It features a castle on the drumlin known locally as Dumbarton Rock. See note for "Dumbarton Castle (1)" for more information on Dumbarton.

The words to the song in Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2 (1733) begin:

Dumbarton's drums beat bonnie, O
When they mind me of my dear Johnie, O;
How happie am I
When my soldier is by,
While he kisses and blesses his Annie, O!
'Tis a soldier alone can delight me, O,
For his graceful looks do invite me, O;
While guarded in his arms,
I'll fear no war's alarms,
Neither danger nor death shall e'er fright me, O.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), 1788; No. 500, p. 192. Emmerson (Rantin' Pipe and Tremblin' String), 1971; No. 19, p. 125. Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book vol. 1), 1853; p. 177. McGibbon (Scots Tunes, book III), 1762; p. 78. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 2), 1760; p. 3. Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2), 1733; No. 8, p. 29.

Recorded sources: -Beltona 78 RPM 2446, Jimmy Shand.



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