Empty Pockets

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EMPTY POCKETS. American, March (2/4 time). A Dorian/Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The (particularly Irish-sounding) melody was composed by George B. Bruce, who, along with Daniel Decatur Emmett (of black-face minstrel fame), wrote a guide for the training of musicians for the Union Army during the American Civil War. Bruce held the position of Drum Major and Principal Drum Instructor at the army's School of Practice on Governor's Island in New York Harbor, while Emmett was the Principal Fifer for the 6th Infantry.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bruce & Emmett (Bruce and Emmett's Drummer's and Fifer's Guide), 1862; p. 59. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 66.

Recorded sources:




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