Tuesday, 15 July 2008


As part of an ongoing series of pieces on reenactment equipment for recreating Louis XIV era infantry I should talk about drums. Wooden rope-tensioned field drums with a gut snare are required and pretty large ones at that. The reconstruction by Michel Petard of a Compagnies franches de la Marine drummer of 1690 gives a fair idea of scale. Initially drummers wore the colonel's livery which could be any colour of his chosing but in time the Royal livery and lace became almost universal in the French army.
Marcus Music make some great instruments for the 17th century (pictured). It has to be said that one drum on its own can sound pretty sad but if you have a pair it sounds awe-inspiring. Find a place to practice and be able to march at the same time!
Louisbourg fort in Canada has done a lot of research into 18th century drum calls and is a good place to find out what to play. Also watch tambour La Meche play drapeau

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