Friday, January 5, 2018

Little Drummer Boy Juggling

We're at Epiphany Eve, Twelfth Night.  The three Magi visit the Nativity scene and reveal Jesus.  The little drummer boy plays his instrument.

Does our "Little Drummer Boy" count as one of the drummers drumming on the twelfth day of Christmas?  I don't think so as "Little Drummer Boy" was composed in 1941.  It was first recorded by the Trapp Family Singers in 1951.  The song relates to our Twelfth Night:  he was summoned by the Magi to the Nativity of Jesus, so he's got the right day and place.  Wikipedia gives the origin of this song.  It is considered to be 
somewhat similar to a "12th-century legend retold by Anatole France as Our Lady's Juggler. In the French legend, a juggler juggles before the statue of the Virgin Mary, and the statue, according to which version of the legend one reads, either smiles at him or throws him a rose".

I thought about so many drummers drumming - in comparison today's orchestra which has one or two drummers.  So how did the twelfth night get to having 12 drummers.  And if this song started out in the 1400's there might have been one person on the fife (pipe) and drum.  They could have saved the pipers piping fee - one person typically played the tabor drum and pipe simultaneously.

Since our earliest recorded information on the song is the 1780's, we might instead turn to the snare drum.  It was used from the 16th century onward.  It was a military instrument that allowed troops to communicate with one another.  It was also used in ceremonial occasions. I guess today's marching band would have its origins in the military and ceremonial traditions.

I like to think that our many drummers drumming are announcing the arrival of the Twelfth Night.

Our pictures today are scenes taken at Brock University's School of Performing Arts. 

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