Fifes and Drums
The fifes are simple, un-keyed instruments made of various hardwoods suitable for woodwinds. We play 6-hole, one-piece fifes in the key of B-flat. Harmonies are employed when available; some of our members write harmonies as desired for certain arrangements.
The drums are wooden-shell, rope-tension snare drums, played with heavy, hardwood sticks, in an open fashion. The drumming rudiments and style of playing typical of the 18th Century vary somewhat from more modern military drumming, and we adhere to this earlier style. Many tunes gleaned from original sources have no drum parts; our drummers write parts accurate to the style of the 18th Century.
There is little or no evidence of bass drums in the massed regimental music companies of that day. The Musick of Prescott’s Battalion therefore strives to achieve a sound authentic to the military camps of the day by performing with only fifes and snare drums. A well-crafted drum beat, appropriately arranged using period rudiments, provides a strong accompaniment to the fifes, however, so that modern listeners never miss the bass line.