Willig's Compleat Tutor for the Fife      

     Born in Germany in 1764, George Willig was an accomplished musician, composer, and publisher, who arrived in Philadelphia around 1793. He took over the established business of Moller and Capon, the very first music publishing firm in the United States. Willig published music of all kinds: waltzes, classical, minstrel, folk songs, country dance music, piano solos, etc. He was the publisher of Steven Foster's first song, Open My Lattice, Love, in 1842.

     Willig published a number of books of fife music. His most popular was Willig's Compleat Tutor for the Fife, which became available in 1805. This book was used for well over a century to teach fifers across the land. I personally know a few people who used this tutor in learning to play the fife during the latter half of the 20th century, although my recommendation for a learning tool is my Tutorial on the Fife. Not only is Willig a tutor but also a wonderful source of tunes from the American Revolutionary period or shortly thereafter. The tunes included are:

Foot March with DivisionsThe Second Grenadier's MarchThe Duke's MarchCotillion
TroopThe Wiltshire MarchThe Duke of Glouster's MarchMerrily Dance the Quaker
Doublings of the TroopThe Bedfordshire MarchThe Essex MarchLady's Breast Knot
The ReveilleMarch of the Thirty Fifth RegimentPresident's MarchCome Haste to the Wedding
The GeneralBellisle MarchWashington's MarchGrano's March
To ArmsThe RetreatStoney PointThe Dorsettshire March
Troop or AssemblingCaptain Money's MarchJefferson's MarchMarch in Scipio
Scotch ReveillyThe New Coldstream MarchLife Let Me CherishThe Philadelphia Associator's Quick March
The GeneralThe Marquis of Granby's MarchRoslin CastleYankee Doodle
The Drums CallThe Gloucestershire MarchThe Prince of Wales March  The Sette in Queen Mab
The Dead MarchThe Militia MarchPrince Ferdinand's MarchLovely Nancy
The Singling of a TroopThe Warwickshire MarchPioneers MarchThe Georgia Grenadier's March
Lord Loudon's Grenadier's MarchThe Lincolnshire MarchGrenadiers MarchHaymaker's Dance
The Turk's MarchThe Lieht Horse March (sic)Count Brown's MarchGuardian Angel
The Train of Artillery, Grenadier's MarchColdstream or Second Regiment of Guard's MarchLord Carmarthen's MarchThe Congress
The Coronation MarchCaptain Hood's or the Third Regiment Guard's MarchThe White Joke 

     The contents of this wonderful book, 30 pages in all, were scanned from an original manuscript and digitally enhanced to look as sharp as it did the day when it was first published. This required no small amount of effort, literally hundreds of hours. In order to get a sense of what was accomplished, bear in mind that the paper of the original was very fragile and dark brown in color. The print was often almost illegible. Below are before and after images of page 30.


     This is what is meant when you see an item on this website that is labeled with

     This historic document is now available from BeAFifer for $16.95 plus shipping.

To order, click the fife.

or use PayPal



Home Page