Thompson Compleat Tutor for the Fife

     In 1760, Europe was at war. The Hanoverian King George II of England died and his son, George III, succeeded him as monarch. Five years later, the Stamp Act was passed. The die was cast and the American colonies began their long trek to independence from Britain.

     Established in 1746 by Peter Thompson in St. Paul's Churchyard, London, the firm under his name was a very successful music publishing house as well as a purveyor of musical instruments. In 1759, it was renamed Thompson & Son, and later, Thompson and Sons. In that same coronation year of 1760 the Thompson firm published the Thompson Compleat Tutor for the Fife. The Thompson firm continued operation by Thompson children and grandchildren until sometime around 1800 when it became Button & Whittaker.

     There is little question that this book of instruction was used in the musical education of British Army and Hessian fifers who later occupied Boston and fought throughout America's War for Independence.


     24 pages in length, the book has had the dirt and stains of almost 250 years digitally removed by hundreds of hours of tedious effort. It looks as good as it did on that day in 1760 at its very first printing. As old tutorials go, it is a fine one, containing detailed musical instructions, gamuts and fingering exercises. But of far more importance to a modern fifer, it has the English Duty, (17 tunes), the Scotch Duty (8 tunes), followed by 33 other tunes that were used for parades, drills, and unit specific functions.

English Duty Scotch Duty
The Reveilly The Reveilly
The General The General
To Arms To Arms
Troop or AssemblingThe Gathering
Doublings of the TroopGrenadiers March
TroopFoot March
Troop for the ColoursTaptoo
Doublings when Colours is receiv'd 
Grenadiers March  
Foot March 8 Divisions 
The Retreat  
Other Tunes:
The Drums CallPrince Eugene's March
Rogues March Marquis of Granby's March
A Scotch ReveillyCount Saxe's March
The Queen of Hungary's MarchMarch in Judas Mackabeus (sic)
The Hessian TattooGeneral Wolfe's March
TattooThe Duke's March
The French TroopCaptain Money's March
The Dead MarchPrince Ferdinand's March
Mr. Weideman's singling of a TroopLord Loudon's Grenadiers March
Lord Loudon's singling of a TroopThe Turks March
Foot March The Train of Artillerys Grenadiers March
The BankThe Foot March
The Singlings of Johnson's TroopThe Hessian Dragoons March
The Singlings of Pools TroopA Turkish March
The Doublings Count Brown's March
The TaptooPioneers March
March in Scipio 

This historic document is now available from BeAFifer for $14.95 plus shipping.

To order, click the fife.

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