Authors, a warrant of Charles I. to the following effect:—'Whereas the ancient custome of nations hath ever bene to use one certaine and constant forme of March in the warres, whereby to be distinguished one from another. And the March of this our nation, so famous in all the honourable atchievements and glorious warres of this our kingdom in forraigne parts (being by the approbation of strangers themselves confest and acknowledged the best of all marches) was through the negligence and carelessness of drummers, and by long discontinuance so altered and changed from the ancient gravity and majestie thereof, as it was in danger utterly to have bene lost and forgotten. It pleased our late deare brother prince Henry to revive and rectifie the same by ordayning an establishment of one certaine measure, which was beaten in his presence at Greenwich, anno 1610. In confirmation whereof wee are graciously pleased, at the instance and humble sute of our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin and counsellor Edward Viscount Wimbledon, to set down and ordaine this present establishment hereunder expressed. Willing and commanding all drummers within our kingdome of England and principalitie of Wales exactly and precisely to observe the same, as well in this our kingdome, as abroad in the service of any forraigne prince or state, without any addition or alteration whatsoever. To the end that so ancient, famous, and commendable a custome may be preserved as a patterne and precedent to all posteritie,' etc. etc.—This document also contains the following notation—
Voluntary before the March.
subscribed 'Arundell and Surrey. This is a true copy of the original, signed by his Majestie. Ed. Norgate, Windsor.'
The primary (indeed absolute) importance of the drum in the early form of the March is very evident. Rousseau, in his 'Dictionnaire de Musique,' in his article on that subject, thus defines it:—'Marche: Air militaire qui se joue par des instrumens de guerre, et marque le métre et la cadence des Tambours, laquelle est proprement la Marche.' The same author, writing towards the close of the last century, speaks of the superiority of the German military music, and says that the French troops had few military instruments for the infantry excepting fifes and drums; and very few marches, most of which were 'très malfaites.' Rousseau gives—as follows—the first part of the March of the Musketeers of the King of France, as illustrating 'L'accord de l'air et de la Marche.'
In its earlier instrumental form the German March had two reprises, each of eight, twelve, or even sixteen bars, and its melodic origin would seem to have been influenced by the national dance called the 'Allemande,' in 2-4 time. The modern March is now usually in common time—four crotchets in a bar—consisting of reprises of four, eight, or even sixteen bars, with a subsidiary movement entitled a 'Trio' (generally in the dominant or subdominant key), which occupies a similar place to that of the Trio associated with the Minuet or Scherzo of a symphony; that is, following the March, which is repeated after it. With the ordinary (Parade) March, about 75 steps go to the minute; with the Quick March (Germ. Geschwind Marsch; Fr. Pas redoublé) about 108; while the Storming March (Germ. Sturm Marsch; Fr. Pas de charge) implies about 120 steps per minute, these being measured by rapid beats of the drum.
Military Marches, intended of course to stimulate hopeful enthusiasm, are generally written in a bright major key, trumpets, drums, and other instruments of percussion being prominently used; and Funeral Marches in a solemn minor one—a remarkable exception to the latter rule being offered by the Dead March in 'Saul,' the key of which is C major, a mode usually associated with cheerful sentiments. This is indeed a notable instance of 'The long majestic march, and energy divine,' and most readers must have experienced the sublimely pathetic effect of its 'muffled drums beating funeral marches to the grave.' 'The stormy music of the drum' (of course unmuffled) is still an important element in all the pieces used at the parade or on the battle-field; as it exercises a commanding influence on rhythmical precision, as already indicated. Formerly, as above indicated, that instrument was the all-essential feature in the March,
- The notes are lozenge-shaped in the original.