Lancraft Fife & Drum CorpsLancraft Fife & Drum Corps Since 1888  
                 North Haven Connecticut








Information regarding our instruments and music

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INSTUMENTATION - There are three musical instruments used in the corps: the fife, the snare drum and the bass drum. 

    FIFE – The fife is a B flat, wooden instrument having six open finger holes, unlike the flute or piccolo, which have keys. The fife is a member of the transverse family of flutes, meaning they are held horizontally and sound is produced by blowing across an open embouchure hole. There is no mouthpiece like the flute. A firm pulse of air is required to set the column of air vibrating.

The fingerings of a fife are quite similar to the D major scale on a flute for the first octave. The fife fingerings are different for the high octave. The standard octave of the fife corresponds to the second octave, or middle register, of the flute. The true first octave of a fife is rarely used.

     SNARE DRUM - Lancraft uses wooden shell, rope tension drums, generally 17” in diameter by 21” deep with plastic heads, carried by a leather shoulder sling. The drum sticks vary in style, but are similar in weight to the standard 3S size. Sticks are held in the traditional grip, not the “matched grip” used in modern bands.

Lancraft plays the Ancient rudimental style which is more “open” and at a slower cadence. The Standard 26 American Drum Rudiments are used in our repertoire… with an occasional Swiss rudiment! The Ancient style has more arm motion than used in modern drumming. A good book on this style is The Sturtze Drum Instructor by Earl Sturtze, 1956.

     BASS DRUM – These drum are also wooden shell, rope tension with plastic heads. They are played with two wooden mallets and use some of the same rudiments used by the snare drummers.


MUSIC – Lancraft plays a mostly traditional, historic repertoire, many of the tunes are from the Revolutionary War era and from the Civil War period. Some tunes are more recent, some from the early 1900’s. Many of the tunes are arranged by Lancraft into medleys consisting of several tunes. While some tunes utilize harmony by the fife section, most tunes are melody only.

The drum section’s parts include some drumming “standards” like Army 2/4, Standard 6/8 and Connecticut Halftime or are from historic fife and drum manuals. Many Lancraft drum parts are written by our own members and are unique to our corps.

     REPERTOIRE - In a given year, Lancraft might have 40 tunes/medleys in its current repertoire, about 80% being parade tunes, with the rest being somewhat more complex “muster” medleys, used in stand still performances. Lancraft’s total “book” of music might be 100 or more tunes. About 2/3 of our tunes are in 2/4 time, the rest in 6/8. The tempo is generally about 100 beats per minute.

 Some examples of Lancraft music are Road to Boston, First of September and Yankee Doodle from the Revolutionary War era and Battle Hymn of the Republic, Dixie and Buffalo Gals from the Civil War period. More recent tunes include Grand Old Flag and God Bless America. A few Lancraft tunes are original, written by Lancraft members, generally named to honor past members.

      MUSIC NOTATION – Lancraft’s repertoire is available in standard music notion for those who read music. For those that don’t read music, most of our repertoire is also available in a notation form that gives the fingering on the fife… and sticking and rudiments on the drum.

Information provided by Corps members
Copyright © [Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps]. All rights reserved.
Revised: December 29, 2017.