Drummers/Pipers/Buglers/Bandsmen a question.

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by chocolate_frog, Aug 24, 2005.

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  1. Just having a discussion on another website.

    I was told by my Drum Major (QLR if taht changes anything) that the Mace represents the monarch, and therefore should not be turned upside down except by the lead Drummy on a Massed Guards parade.

    However it has been put forward that it is actually descended from a Mace as in the twirly spiked ball on the end of a chain used by Knights to hit people over the head with!!! This comes from an american site.

    On a DERR (now part of RGBW) site, it says that the mace possibley comes from the symbol of office used by officials at the head of parades, so surely this fits in with what I was told and that it some how represents the monarch or monarchs head.

    Does anyone know?

    I really can't see how it could come from a medieval weapon that was used by horse mounted knights to the Drumy, who to my knowledge has never been mounted, and of course the small matter of a 100 odd years between the Drumy coming about and the ceasing of use of the mace as a weapon.

    Any links to sites appreciated, sick of looking at Boy scouts and American police pipe bands!!
  2. Politely put, he's talking pump. Look at the "Countermarch" mace signal carried out by just about every Pipe Band out there; Drum Major holds mace inverted.
  3. Firstly, I think that "Staff" is generally the correct formal term instead of "Mace". D/Majors can be picky about these things. I have heard that the original is a derivation of the Sovereigns "Mace" rather than a medieval Knights weapon. As for the inversion on Parade, never heard that one. There are definite Drill manouvres (countermarching without playing) that involve the Staff being inverted. Hope this helps.
    Try this for some info; http://www.drummajor.co.uk/

  4. Thanks for the info, to be fair to him, the Drummy, I may have got the wrong end of the stick.

    Reference the counter march, if my memory serves me correctly, isn't it held above the head horizontally?

    Cheers for the link, I'll try it now.
  5. Why did you feel the need to wash this dirty laundry in public? Could you not have discussed this with him personally or even asked the question a little more anonymously...

    The last minute "I might have got it wrong" backtracking, was that guilt? I think you should have thought this out a bit before posting!
  6. No, the countermarch is done in a few different ways, but all (the ones I've seen anyway) end up with the Mace held upside-down with the head by the D/Maj's chin. The as he clears the last rank of the band, it comes back down again - just watch the highlights of the Edinburgh Tattoo the BBC will be showing in a week or two.

    Reference to the Mace held horizontally - I've seen "mark time" done this way.
  7. Hellfyre wrote

    The backtracking is because it is 15 odd years ago that I was told this information, and I found other info after postings.

    For the Drum Majors of the QLR. The one that told me this was not a current Drummy in the QLR when he told me this/discussion took place, and it was about 15 years ago anyway, so I hope his identity is safe. The reference was purely incase there was a specific drill for the QLR, not a pop at him, as I couldn't remember.

    I have no idea where he is now, otherwise I would have asked him.

    How is this question dirty laundry?

    Sorry, I had a question on a matter that I'm quite interested in and posted it on a board where I thought I might get a sensible answer.
  8. Wow have we got a new moderator? :wink:

    could it be a wannabe mod? seem to be a couple of them floating about the site recently..
  9. PS for anyone in any doubt, ie. Hellfyyr.

    I am not a current member of the 1QLR Corps of Drums, so this question does not in any way relate to the current Drum Major of 1QLR, or indeed any in recent history. I don't even know when the guy that told me this served with them.

    So kindly don't bombard them with abuse for the statement in the original post.

    I apologise for not making it clearer in the initial post and thinking of that sort of thing, and obviously if I could have asked the guy who told me then I would have done.
  10. There is a fashion for scoring points on here at the expense of people in the real world, your original post was as you put a little unclear, I am pleased that you have not fallen into this trap. No need to justify the question, i was just concerned about the impact upon others...
  11. After 33 posts, I am sure you are a site expert...
  12. As far as I am aware, it derives from the days of yore, when a DMaj would use a mace (that weapon thing again!) to batter peasants out of the way of the on coming corps of drums thus clearing the way. I could to totally wrong though??
  13. Isn't that what they do now? :?
  14. From www.drummajor.co.uk courtesy of slackbladder.

    "The Leading Staff

    Staffs and batons have long been recognised as marks of office. The earliest Drum Majors' staffs bear a striking resemblance to those of beadles and footmen, having a very small head and thin shaft. Amongst the earliest in existence is that of the Honourable Artillery Company, presented by Sir Matthew Andrews in 1671. These staffs had the obvious practical application of clearing the way in front of a formed body of men.

    The early staffs were plain, bearing a single title or device, but like so many articles used by the British Army, extra devices were added, and as battle honours were awarded from Gibraltar (1704-05) onwards, these too were engraved or placed on scrolls in the head or the shaft. In the late nineteenth century it became customary for senior officers to provide staffs at their own expense. These were naturally more ostentatious than those issued by the Army or used by the regiment quartered next door.

    The Foot Guards continued, as in so many aspects of their dress and appointments, to use the issue item, a practice which they still maintain.

    The staff is particularly useful for signalling commands to a Band or Corps of drums when their playing precludes verbal orders. As early as 1811 it was required that '...they should be attantive not to deviate in the most trifling degree from the time which will allow, within the minute, the exact number of steps prescribed by H M Regulations.' [Regulations For The Army 1811, cited by H G Farmer The Rise of Military Music, London, 1912, p74]

    Whilst on the march the Drum Major assumed a steady pace by continued movements of the staff which he was required to turn '...with an easy air once round, so as to keep time, and plant it every fourth pace.'[Loc cit.] Here lies the origin of the distinctive 'stage walk' used by the Drum Major in slow and quick time on ceremonial occasions.

    Drum Majors have always been gifted showmen, but have at the same timeset an example in turnout and bearing. Tricks performed with thestaff have become part of the folklore of the Army. Stories of these feats are legion; for example, the Drum Major Cox of the Essex Regiment was famed in the 1930s for throwing his staff over the barrack gates at Warley and retrieving it on the other side without even breaking step. The addition of so many battle honours has meant that the modern staff is much heavier and harder to throw and spin than its earlier counterparts, but whilst officially frowned upon, the practice o throwing the staff was condoned, if not encouraged, by a battalion's officers away from the barrack square. Again the Foot Guards are an exception, in that it is considered disrespectful to the sovereign and undignified for a man appointed as state drummer to the monarch to toss or spin his badge of office. The Drum Majors of line regiments have shown fewer scruples, however, in performing the tricks within sight of Buckingham Palace."

    Hope it helps.

    Or like someone said on another site it comes from the medeval weapon with or with out chain!!!

    [​IMG] or [​IMG]

    Maybe closer

  15. Good post c_f.

    The Duke of Buccleuch presented a silver topped cane to the 25th (later the King's Own Scottish Borderers) Regiment in 1780 at Edinburgh "for the use of the Drum Major." The cane was previously used by the Duke's footman who ran before his carriage clearing the way. Seems the 25th's Drum Major of that era put it to similar use.