Music from the Civil War Era
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Band Music

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Detail of the E-flat soprano (leader) part for "Captain Finch's Quickstep," by Claudio S. Grafulla, from the "Port Royal Band Books," first set, in the Music Division.

A recording of this piece may be heard as part of this online collection. Only one major error, the omission of a measure, was corrected by the original copyist--and probable user--of this part. Small errors, and even major ones, were often left uncorrected, even in meticulously copied books such as these, which had heavy use. We know of no published version; the probable date of composition is sometime between 1850 and 1860. This arrangement, presumably Grafulla's, is from the manuscript band books of the Third New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, first set, no. 48. They are frequently referred to as the "Port Royal Band Books" because it was on Port Royal Island, South Carolina, that the band, under the leadership of Gustavus Ingalls, spent the greater part of the Civil War. Grafulla is represented by so many compositions and arrangements in the first set of these books that they have sometimes been erroneously referred to as the "the Grafulla books," and pieces now known to be by others were once attributed to him. However, "Captain Finch's Quickstep" is one of the seventeen out of about fifty works in the collection with which he can certainly be credited. The demanding soprano parts are characteristic of the brass band style of the period, a style toward which Grafulla made a significant contribution. "[Grafulla] was born in the Island of Minorca in 1810," writes the historian of the New York Seventh Regiment, "and came to this country in 1838. He soon occupied a prominent position in Lothian's New York Brass Band, which was attached to the Seventh Regiment, and became its musical director. His talent for composing and arranging military music soon gave him reputation and lucrative employment, and in 1860 he was engaged to organize a new band for the Seventh Regiment. The success of Grafulla's Seventh Regiment band was immediate; it long enjoyed an extensive public and private patronage, and its reputation became national. . . . For twenty years he served the Regiment as bandmaster without salary or any compensation. Age and sickness compelled him to retire from the service, and he died in New York in December, 1880." (Emmons Clark, History of the Seventh Regiment of New York, 1806-1889, 2 vols. [New York: The Seventh Regiment, 1890], 1:289-90.)

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Music from the Civil War Era