Manual For Buglers
This is from: DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL
Prepared by the Bureau of Naval Personnel
Navy Training Courses
Original edition 1919
Reprinted with minor corrections 1951
Reprinted with changes 1953
Manual For Buglers
Prepared by the Bureau of Naval Personnel
Navy Training Courses
Original edition 1919
Reprinted with minor corrections 1951
Reprinted with changes 1953
Title page of manual.
This book is one of the series of Navy Training Courses, and has been written to
help the Bugler to learn his duties in minimum time. Ordinarily, the Bugler is a
Seaman under the direction of a Quartermaster who may or may not have been a
Bugler himself. Since the Bugler is frequently on his own in learning music
notation and the technique of playing the bugle, this book has been designed for
It contains complete instructions for playing the bugle, as well as a complete
list of the bugle calls authorized for use in the Navy. Every effort has been
made to notate calls as they have been traditionally sounded in the Navy. New
exercises have been written for the present edition to replace those found in
chapters 4 and 5 of earlier printings.
The Manual for Buglers, US Navy, was prepared by the US Navy Training
Publications Center with cooperation, assistance, and technical review by the US
Navy School of Music, Naval Receiving Station, Washington, DC.
Chapter 1: The Bugler
Chapter 2: Sounding the Bugle
Chapter 3: Reading Music
Chapter 4: Starting your Practice
Chapter 5: Bugle Practice
Chapter 6: The Calls
Chapter 1: The Bugler
Bugler is a mighty important man in the US Navy. On board ship the bugle
sounds a warning call for almost every activity in which a group of men is to
take part. You are probably already familiar with a number of these calls,
such as “Reveille,” “Mess call,” “Evening Colors,” and “Taps.” These are but
four of more than 100 bugle calls used in the Navy, including a few which are
used only in emergencies, such as “Man overboard” or “Abandon ship.”
Before the days of electrical communication systems the bugle was one of the
few means by which orders could be sent from the quarter deck to any section
of the ship. On small ships a single bugle could be heard everywhere on the
ship, while on larger vessels sometimes as many as two or three additional
Buglers were used to relay the calls down the hatches and into remote parts of
Even now, with all our modern methods of communication, the bugle is
traditionally the means employed to render honors, to attract the attention of
the men for a special announcement, or to signal the routine of the day.
The use of the bugle or a similar instrument as a military signaling device
dates back many centuries, probably originating when someone discovered that a
cow’s or sheep’s horn would make a noise when air was blown through it. Down
through the ages many improvements were made on these military instruments. No
doubt, the first was the substitution of metal for the animal’s horn. This
permitted more careful design of the instruments and, since the metal could be
formed into almost any shape, it led to a study of the proper size and shape
of the tube to produce a pleasing sound.
Before the bugle was as well developed as it is now, no one attempted to play
a standard call on his instrument. Each player invented his own call and his
skill was judged by the loudness of his blasts.
As the instrument has improved, so have the calls. The skills involved in
sounding the calls have also changed. Because the calls have progressed beyond
single tone blasts to take their place as melodic compositions, mere loudness
is no longer considered a standard of excellence. Today, tone quality, rhythm,
and intonation (playing notes which are in tune—neither too high, nor too low)
are considered much more important to you as a Bugler, than the amount of
noise that you can make.
It might be well to mention here that a bugle is sounded, not blown.
Remember—you can blow a ram’s horn, but it takes more than blowing to sound
The regulation bugle which you have been issued is made of brass and is built
in the key of G. You will not have to worry about the key of the bugle because
the bugle is used only as a solo instrument or in a drum and bugle corps and
the key is important only when a number of different kinds of instrument play
The bugle has five important parts, the mouthpiece, the tube or coils, the
bell tube, the bell, and the tuning slide.
The MOUTHPIECE is usually made of brass, and plated with gold, silver, or
chromium. It may look as though its only function is to serve as an air
funnel, but it has another important job. It catches the vibrations produced
by your lips and carries them into the air column inside the bugle. It is the
vibration of this air column which makes the sound that you hear. Actually,
all sound is made up of vibrations.
Figure 1-1. - The Bugle.
The cup of the regulation mouthpiece is always the same size and shape. Some
Buglers, whose lips do not fit comfortably in the regulation mouthpiece,
prefer to use a commercial trumpet mouthpiece. This is a matter for you to
decide; however, it is a good idea, once you have found a mouth piece which
fits your lips satisfactorily, always to use this same mouthpiece.
The TUBE is the part of the instrument which has the same diameter for its
entire length of about four feet. The length and, to a lesser degree, the
diameter of the tube of any instrument determine the highest and lowest note
which can be sounded on that instrument. This is because a long air column
vibrates slower than a short one.
The BELL is the wide portion at the end of the bugle which acts like a
megaphone to spread the tone. The bell tapers into the bell tube, which is the
portion of the tubing with the constantly increasing diameter.
The TUNING SLIDE can be found in the mouthpiece end of the shortest coil on
your bugle and is used, as its name indicates, to tune the instrument. When
the slide is pushed all the way in, the bugle plays in the key of G. Drawing
the slide out lengthens the tube and lowers the sound of the notes which can
be played. The slide can be drawn out about three and a half inches. A letter
F engraved on the lower sleeve of the slide indicates the approximate setting
for the slide so that you can play calls written in the key of F. This means
that every note on the bugle will be lowered one full step in the musical
scale. Normally, the key of F is used only when a drum and bugle corps is
playing with a band.
Like all of your gear, the bugle must be properly cared for to give the best
results. At least once a week, you should clean the inside with hot, soapy
water. Rinse the instrument out well and shake all of the water out carefully.
Grease the slide with vaseline or cosmoline to prevent corrosion of the metal
and to keep the slide free to move.
Bugles which have a lacquered finish are cleaned on the outside by wiping them
with a damp cloth. Bugles with a plain brass finish, or those on which the
lacquer is badly worn, should be polished with bright work polish. Remember
that this polish will remove the lacquer.
When the plating on your mouthpiece wears thin, it should be replated since
the brass is harder to keep free of germs than the plating material; in
addition, brass has a very poor taste. The replating can be done on most
repair ships, or a local music store can return the mouthpiece to the factory
for the job.
You can prevent too frequent replating jobs by handling the mouthpiece
carefully. When you remove it from the bugle don’t set it cup-down on any
rough surface. Make a habit of laying the mouthpiece on its side to avoid
nicks in the rim of the cup. This rim is in constant contact with your lips
when you play and nicks or scratches on it will chafe your skin.
The tube of the mouthpiece can be cleaned by using a heavy-tufted
pipe-cleaner, or a thin wooden stick and a clean piece of cloth. It is best
not to use wire or any metal object to push the cloth through since you may
scratch the cup this way.
The Positions of a Bugler
The position which you should use when you are sounding a call is discussed in
detail in the next chapter on “Sounding the Bugle.” Other positions to be used
when you are standing inspection, marching, or saluting are shown in figures
1-2 to 1-7.
Positions: Figure 1-2. - Attention; Figure 1-3. - Carry bugle; Figure 1-4. -
Positions: Figure 1-5. - Secure bugle; Figure 1-6. - Bugle salute; Figure
1-7. Inspection bugle.
Chapter 2: Sounding the Bugle
this time you have probably tried the bugle on for size, so to speak. You may
have had good results in your first attempt, or perhaps you’ve had nothing but
grunts thus far. No matter how successful you’ve been in your early efforts, you
are going to need plenty of practice to be able to sound the bugle calls
properly. But, before you begin your practice, you will profit by reading and
understanding the instructions which follow.
POSTURE—In playing the bugle, you stand in a natural position, both while
practicing and while sounding the calls. Your chest should be out, your
shoulders up, your chin drawn back, and your head should be held erect. Hold the
bugle with your right hand as shown in figure 2-1. The slide should rest in the
heel of your hand to provide support for the instrument. When you are playing,
keep your bugle parallel to the deck or tilted up slightly. Slouching or
pointing the bugle at the deck in front of you will prevent proper breathing.
from the fact that you are a military man and expected to perform your duties in
a military manner, you will be able to play the calls properly only if you have
the proper posture.
PLACEMENT OF MOUTHPIECE—Place the mouthpiece firmly, but not tightly, against
the center of your lips. The exact placement depends upon the shape of your
teeth and your lips. The most comfortable and natural position is the best
position for you. However, after you have made your selection of the best place
to put the mouthpiece, you should always practice and sound the calls with it in
Your lips should meet inside the mouthpiece, but they must not be clamped
together rigidly. They should be free to vibrate since the lips are to the bugle
what your vocal chords are to your voice.
You will find that your lips will not vibrate properly unless they are moist.
While you are playing, do not dry either your lips or your mouthpiece. If
necessary, shake the excess saliva out of the mouthpiece and bugle, but
remember—keep your lips and mouthpiece moistened while you are practicing or
sounding a call.
The vibrations of your lips and the flow of air which passes through the lips
cause the air column within the bugle to vibrate. Remember that it is vibrations
which make sound. If you have any doubts as to the importance of your lips in
producing a tone, try putting the mouthpiece into your mouth and blowing. You
can blow all day and get nothing but the sound of wind for your efforts.
Figure 2-2. - Placement of the mouthpiece.
BREATHING--The importance of proper breathing cannot be over-emphasized. A
steam engine will not run without steam under pressure; neither can you sound
your calls without a sufficient supply of air. In addition, you are going to
have to control this supply of air, just as the steam engine is designed to
control its supply of steam in order to accomplish its work.
Some of the ways by which you draw in your supply of air and control it may not
seem natural to you, but they have been found necessary by all skillful
performers on the bugle and similar instruments. The first step is, of course,
drawing the air into your lungs. You do this by breathing in through the corners
of your mouth when the mouthpiece is in place. You breathe through your mouth
because you cannot draw air in rapidly enough through your nose when you are
sounding a long or a fast call.
Storing and controlling your air supply is going to seem just as strange to you
as breathing through your mouth; however, if you will follow the steps shown in
the illustrations and the discussion beneath them you should have no trouble.
The trick is to practice this method of breath control until it becomes
natural--that is, until you do not have to think about it.
The most important parts of your breathing apparatus are the lungs, and the
diaphragm. The lungs are spongy organs which fill up most of your chest space.
Lungs have no muscles, but being elastic, they expand or contract to fill up the
space in your chest cavity as it is expanded or contracted. Normally, we think
of chest expansion as being outward, and we speak of a chest measurement of
--let’s say--36 inches, expandable to 39 inches, as being the only possible
However, your chest cavity also expands upward and downward. The upward
expansion is taken care of when you stand upright with your head and shoulders
back. The expansion downward is the action which is going to concern us here,
since it is the part of breathing which is least understood, and the most
important to the Bugler.
downward expansion is normally controlled by the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a
strong, broad muscle wall which separates the chest cavity from the abdominal
cavity. When this muscle is at rest it is shaped as you see in figure 2-4, with
its ends lower than the center section.
When you are ready to breathe in, the diaphragm (remember, it is a muscle)
contracts and the center section moves down. This increases your chest space.
Your lungs expand, a vacuum is crated, and air rushes in to fill this vacuum.
Most people, in their regular breathing, do not make a big enough vacuum and
consequently do not draw in enough air. For every-day activity, this does not
matter too much, but when they are taking some strenuous exercise, or when they
are playing an instrument, their lungs and their diaphragm are not sufficiently
well developed to handle the situation. Not only that--they don’t know how to go
about improving themselves.
The secret lies in making plenty of room for your lungs when you are inhaling.
Remember that your lungs are elastic, but have no muscles of their own, and so
they will expand just enough to fill the available space.
How do you make this space available? Well, we’ve already mentioned posture;
stand straight, get your shoulders up and back. You have also learned,
previously, that the diaphragm flattens out when you breathe, thus making more
room for your lungs. It probably occurred to you, then, that the space below the
diaphragm isn’t exactly a vacuum, and that something has to “give” when the
diaphragm moves down.
In our normal breathing we don’t give any help to the diaphragm when it
compresses the organs beneath it. But, in playing your instrument,
YOU MUST RELAX YOUR ABDOMINAL MUSCLES WHEN YOU INHALE. This allows the diaphragm
to move down farther, thus making a larger cavity in which the lungs can expand.
In relaxing your abdominal muscles and moving the diaphragm down, you may get
the feeling that you are actually pushing out with these muscles. Muscles, like
rubber bands, do not push, but pull. It is the diaphragm pulling down that gives
you the feeling of pushing. However, the muscular action and the feeling you get
are not so important as the fact that your abdomen must move out to make room
for more air (see figure 2-6).
far we’ve talked only about drawing the air in. What happens when you want to
sound your bugle? We’ve mentined breath control before--here’s how you get it.
Instead of squeezing the air out of your chest by contraction of the muscles
between your ribs as normally do, put the pressure on from below. Those relaxed
abdominal muscles should be tightened as fast or as slowly as is necessary to
provide the proper flow of air. Keep a steady pressure on your air supply. Your
tongue is the valve which controls the air flow.
A word of caution here: You have probably seen, at some time or other, a Bugler
or trumpet player whose cheeks Bugled in his efforts to play loud and strong.
Puffy cheeks are not necessary; they look ridiculous, and at their worst are
quite painful. In addition, you will not have effective lip control if you allow
your cheeks to swell.
The action of the tongue in starting and stopping the flow of air is know as
TONGUING. After you have drawn in your air supply, the tip of your tongue should
touch the base of your upper teeth. Start to pronounce the syllable “ta” and
your tongue will, automatically, be in the right place.
Now, with just the mouthpiece in place on your lips and with a comfortable lip
tension, say “ta.” This action--that is, drawing the tongue back and permitting
the air flow to start the sound--is known as the ATTACK.
For a proper attack, the note should start “all at once.” You will get this
result provided you are careful to place your tongue in a position to say “ta,”
build up air pressure by tightening your abdominal muscles, and then release the
air flow by saying “ta.”
YOU WILL NOT HAVE A PROPER ATTACK IF YOU "CREEP" INTO THE NOTE BY STARTING THE AIR FLOW WITHOUT FIRST STOPPING IT WITH YOUR TONGUE.
Until you have exhausted your air supply, hold your tongue back from your teeth.
Keep the air flowing by the pressure of your abdominal muscles. For the time
being, keep just enough tension in your lip muscles to prevent air from escaping
through your lips outside of the mouthpiece.
Your lips should vibrate so that you get a buzz like the sound of a hornet or a
bumblebee from the mouthpiece when it is not in the bugle. Hold the same note
for as long as you can. Don’t let the tone quaver. In time you should be able to
hold a note for more than a minute without any “wobble” in the tone. This will
mean that you are developing an embouchure. This French word (pronounced
awn’ bo sure) is used to refer to the coordination of the muscles in your lips,
your face, and your tongue when they’re producing a musical note. For the
present, the best way to develop an embouchure and improve your breath control
is to hold each note as long as you possibly can.
At first, your lips and the corners of your mouth will tire quickly. Stop
practicing for a short time when this happens, because if the muscles in your
lips and face are tired, you have little control over them, and hence your
practice will do you no good.
Keep in mind that your syllable is “ta,” and not “tha.” The “tha” sound will
give you a mushy attack and will, later on, make it impossible for you to play
To vary your practice, try pinching your lips together slightly. This should
give you a higher note than you have had. By pinching your lips together you are
increasing the speed of vibration in the lips and therefore the speed of the
vibration of the column of air inside the bugle. Avoid increasing the pressure
of the mouthpiece against your lips. The added pressure might help you to raise
the tone, but it will also cut off the blood circulation in your lips and cause
them to tire more quickly. For high tones, push the lower lip out slightly, so
as to blow toward the top of the mouth piece.
SUMMARY—In this chapter you have learned that:
1. An upright posture, with the head high and the shoulders back, is necessary
to the Bugler.
2. The bugle is held in the right hand with the slide resting in the heel of
3. The mouthpiece should be placed in the “natural” center of your lips.
4. Your lips are closed within the mouthpiece but with just sufficient tension
to permit them to vibrate freely.
5. The lips should be kept moist.
6. You breathe through the corners of your mouth when playing.
7. Your abdominal muscles must be relaxed when you inhale and then tightened
slowly to provide the proper column of air for sounding your bugle.
8. The proper attack is made by pronouncing “ta.”
9. It is best to practice sustained tones to strengthen your lips and to develop
proper breath control.
10. Frequent and short practices are better, at first, than a single long
practice period during the day because the muscles in the face and lips tire
quickly, just as any seldom used muscle will tire when exercise is first begun.
Chapter 3: Reading Music
sound is produced by vibrations. Some vibrations are too fast for your ears to
hear, but we are only going to worry about those you can hear. Regular
vibrations form a musical sound called tone; irregular vibrations make noise.
Very rapid vibrations cause high notes while low notes result from slower
vibrations. Musicians refer to the number of vibrations per second, or more
specifically to the sound made by a certain number of vibrations per second, as
the pitch of a note. For instance, the first note you play on your bugle will
quite likely be G with 293 2/3 vibrations per second. (You won’t be able to
count these, by the way.)
The length of time you hold a note is the duration of that note. Music is made
by putting tones of different pitch and duration together.
It’s as simple as that, but unless you have an instructior who knows all of the
bugle calls used in the Navy, and who can teach them to you, you are going to
have to learn to read music before you can put these tones together properly. It
isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
Musicians use musical notation to indicate the PITCH and DURATION of the notes
used in forming the melody. They start with the STAFF which has five regularly
Each line and each space represents a particular pitch for a tone. Then they
add the CLEF sign, which will be the “G” or TREBLE CLEF for all bugle music.
The notes which are indicated on the staff have been given letter names for
ease in referring to them. A series of notes such as shown here is a SCALE.
Notice that only the letters A through G are used and that they are repeated
several times. Each sequence of notes from A through A, or from B through B,
or from G through G, etc., is one OCTAVE.
Notice also that there are notes above and below the staff, and each has its
own separate line. These lines are called LEGER LINES. They are continuations
of the staff, and they and the spaces between the lines are lettered in the
same way as the lines and spaces on the staff.
Your bugle does not play all of these notes however. The staff below shows all
of the notes you’ll use in your bugle calls.
The high C is seldom used in bugle calls and the high B-flat is found only in
a few drum and bugle corps marches. The flat sign (b) indicates that the
pitch of the note which follows it is one-half tone lower than it would
otherwise be. Don’t worry about how to produce this flatted note. If your
instrument is in tune you’ll hit it because the bugle was designed to do the
job. In fact, you may hit it when you are trying for the high C.
Notes of the same pitch as those found on the bugle would be written for the
piano as show below in figure 3-5. The piano notes are indicated by the solid
black signs, while the corresponding bugle note is shown by the unshaded
symbols. If a piano is available to you, play the notes which are shown in
black, so that you can hear the tones which you will use on the bugle.
So far we have talked about only the pitch of the notes. This is only half of
the story. Our musical notation system also indicates the duration, or to be
more correct, the RELATIVE DURATION of the notes. Relative duration, or
TIME VALUE, of a note is indicated by the same sign which shows you the pitch.
(Remember that the location of the sign on the staff shows you the pitch.) Time
values of notes are shown by the color (either shaded or unshaded), and by using
STEMS and FLAGS, as you can see in the examples below. In some of the examples
further on in the chapter you will find that the stems may point either up or
down. The direction in which the stem points does not affect the time value of a
note. Usually (but not always) the stems point up for notes below the third line
of the staff and down for the notes above the third line. Notes on the third
line may point in either direction.
The signs for these relative note values are shown in the table below.
The note signs indicate RELATIVE DURATION because—as you can see—they show
only that a whole note lasts twice as long as a half note; a half note is held
twice as long as a quarter note; and so on. The note signs do not show how many
seconds or parts of a second you are to hold any of the notes. A way by which
you can find the EXACT duration of a note is discussed later in the chapter. For
the present we are interested only in the relationship of these notes to each
Which music is written, it is divided into MEASURES, or BARS, as they are
sometimes called. The name bar comes from the way in which the measures are
(A double-bar, such as you see in the example above, indicates the end of a
passage of music. Later on, you will find that a single call may have more
than one passage. A new passage generally introduces a new melody or a new
Each measure in any passage of music has a definite number of BEATS, or
COUNTS. Each of these beats has the same time value, just as the ticks of a
clock are always evenly spaced and of the same duration. You have often heard
the bass drummer in a military band or a dance orchestra making the beat for
his mates or for the dancers. You must have noticed then that the beats were
always evenly spaced, no matter how many, or how few notes the other
instruments in the band played between beats.
How many beats for a measure? What note has one beat? How long is a beat? For
the time being, we will consider only the first two of these questions. The
TIME SIGNATURE is used to show the number of beats per measure and the note
which has the value of one beat. The time signature is expressed as a fraction
as in the sample below. The upper figure in the fraction indicates the number
of beats per measure while the lower figure shows the kind of a note which has
So, in the illustration above, each measure gets two beats and a quarter-note
gets one beat. The other time signatures commonly found in music for the bugle
4/4 time is also known as COMMON TIME and a C frequently replaces the
Remember that in ¾ time it is the quarter-note which gets one beat, while in
3/8 time the eighth-note gets one beat.
In the examples given above, we have used only the notes which have a duration
of one beat under the particular time signature, but of course, a measure may
have notes which have more than a single beat or it may have a number of notes
which get one-half or even a quarter of a beat. For example:
In this example in 4/4 time, the quarter-note has the first beat, the four
sixteenth-notes fall on the second beat, and the half note is held for the
third and fourth beats.
Up to the present we have had our Bugler playing full time, but he does pause
occasionally. These pauses are indicated by signs called RESTS. The rests last
for the same length of time as the notes which they replace.
Another sign or symbol which is frequently used is the TIE. This is the curved
line shown in the example below. This sign ties the notes so that they are
played as a single continuous sound. The tie is used only for notes of the
If notes of different pitch have the curved line over them, or beneath them,
this line is called a SLUR. When you play slurred notes you glide from one to
the other without interrupting the sound.
Frequently you will see eighth-notes, sixteenth-notes, or thirty-second notes
written with a straight line connecting the stems as in the following
These lines are used to replace the individual flags as shown in the examples
The straight lines do not change the time values of the notes or the way in
which they are played, but are used to make it easier to read the music
rapidly. Usually a group of notes connected in this way has one beat.
In order to add to the duration of a note or rest without adding another NOTE
or REST sign, a DOT is used.
When you see this dot following one of these musical signs, you increase the
length of the note or rest by one-half of its previous length. In the first
example above we have a dotted half-note. In playing this note you hold it for
the same length of time as an ordinary half-note plus a quarter-note, but
there is only one continuous sound for the three beats.
Remember that the dot does not add any particular number of beats or parts of
a beat, but increases, by one-half, the value of the note which follows. For
instance, in the following example of 6/8 time the quarter-note has two beats,
the two eighth-notes have one beat each, the dotted eighth-note gets a beat
and a half, and the sixteenth-note gets one-half of a beat.
Here’s a different example in 6/8 time:
Notice that in 6/8 time it is the dotted half-note which gets the full six
counts of a measure. Why is this? Well, if an eighth-note gets one beat and a
quarter-note gets two, a half-note would have four, and a dotted note would
have six counts.
Let’s add a few complications. Suppose you have a bar of music as shown in
You have common time with a dotted quarter-note, three eighth-notes, and a
quarter-note in the first measure. This would be played as shown in figure
The beats in the measure would fall as indicated by the arrows on the top line
of the staff. The dotted quarter-note would get one and one-half counts. Each
of the eighth-notes would get one-half count, and the quarter-note, one count.
Another symbol which you’ll meet early in your career as a Bugler is the HOLD,
or PAUSE, which is a short curved line with a dot beneath it—both placed over
a note. The HOLD (figure 3-23) has no specific time value, but indicates that
the note beneath it should be held for more than its normal duration.
The length of time you will hold a note marked in this way will depend upon
your own judgement. In some cases you may want to hold the note for twice its
normal value; in other cases it may last four times as long. If you don’t have
an opportunity to listen to someone who knows the calls and can show you how
long the pauses are held, try to fit the length of the pause into the general
style of the call.
Dots are used in still another symbol in music. This symbol is called a REPEAT
(figure 3-24) and has two dots, one above the other, in front of a double bar.
The REPEAT sign indicates that the player is to go back to the beginning and
play the entire passage again. In a few cases where the composer wants only a
part of the music to be repeated, he indicates this by placing a double bar
dots BEHIND it at the point from which the notes are to be repeated. In such
cases you repeat only the music between the reversed repeat sign and the
The phrase “da capo al fine” (pronounced feenay) which often appears as D.C.
al Fine, means “from the beginning to the end.” In a repeat like this, the end
of the call is indicated by the word “Fine.” Turn to Reveille
call No. 86 in chapter 6 and you will see the phrase in use. When you sound
Reveille, play all of the music to the “da capo,” then go back to the
beginning and play to the “Fine.” Notice that repeat marks and the da capo are
not used interchangeably. With repeat marks you repeat the passage in which
the marks are found; with the da capo you repeat the previous passage.
So far, we have talked about note values as though an eighth-note or
sixteenth-note always has the same relative duration under any given time
signature. That is, in common time, there are eight eighth-notes or sixteen
sixteenth notes to the bar with the eighth notes each having one-half of the
beat and the sixteenth notes each getting one-quarter of the beat.
You will find an exception to this general rule in some of the calls.
Sometimes it is necessary to divide a quarter-note into three eighth-notes
instead of just two and quite often an eighth-note is divided into three
sixteenth-notes. This division is called a TRIPLET and is indicated by a small
figure “3” above or below the grouped notes.
The group of three sixteenth-notes is played in the same time as would
normally be given to two sixteenths. The group of three eighth-notes has the
same value as you would usually give to two eighths.
So, in the example above, you will play the first eighth-note and the group of
three sixteenth-notes on the first beat while the group of three eighth-notes
will be played on the second beat.
Up to this point we have talked about beats or counts as though a beat had
only one possible duration. But you know that if you tap your foot to keep
time you can tap as fast or as slow as you like. So, the composer of a call
needs some way to describe to you his idea of how fast or how slow you should
make your counts. The number of beats per minute is known as the TEMPO of the
music. One of the faults of many Buglers is that they try to sound the calls
too rapidly. This results in a call which sounds like potatoes rolling down
the cellar steps.
Sometimes the composer will use words, such as “quick” or “slow” to describe
the tempo of a call. He might even use words from a foreign language which
mean the same thing such as “allegro” or “largo.” But this method still isn’t
very accurate because your idea of fast or slow may be different from his.
However, there is a method of marking which will show you the exact tempo
intended by the composer. Above the clef and the time signature of the calls
you will find either a quarter-note, a dotted quarter, or an eighth-note with
a number beside it. The number tells you how many quarter-notes, dotted
quarter-notes or eighth-notes to play in one minute. For example:
In the example above there are 120 quarter notes to the minute and by
referring to the time signature you can see that each quarter note gets one
count. (This, by the way, is standard march tempo.)
To get the exact tempo, tap your foot in what you think is a good marching
speed, and count the number of taps in fifteen seconds. You should have tapped
30 times during those fifteen seconds. You can keep track of the number of
measures by counting 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 4-2 and so on. In 2/4 time you will, of
course, play fifteen measures in the fifteen seconds, if your tempo is
If you have a dotted quarter-note in the tempo marking, as in the example
below, use the same general method to find your tempo.
Here we have 6/8 time with 152 dotted quarters to the minute. This is quite a
bit faster than the last example. You are going to tap your foot 152 times in
one minute, and a quarter of that or 38 times in fifteen seconds. A dotted
quarter-note, as you know is equal to three eighth-notes between each tap.
This may seem to be quite a trick, but if you will follow the steps outlined
below you should have no trouble.
1. Start tapping your foot.
2. Select the proper tempo by checking with your watch.
3. When you have the tempo, try whistling or playing dotted quarter-notes in
time to the beat; then play three eighth notes per beat. Remember the fault we
mentioned before, and don’t try to play too fast. Keep your notes sharp and
Sometimes you will see the tempo marking indicated in a slightly different way
than was give above. For example: M. M. [quarter-note] =120.
The M. M. is an abbreviation for Maelzel’s Metronome. Maelzel invented the
system for indicating tempo that you have just learned and he also invented
the machine called the METRONOME which is often used to measure the beat. This
machine is a lot like a clock, but you can set it so that the tick will mark
the time for any tempo you want. You set the metronome by moving a small
weight up or down the pendulum which is engraved with numbered lines to show
the setting for all of the tempos used in music.
The latest metronomes are electrical and are set by moving a pointer to the
In addition to the pitch and duration, there is another important bit of
information about a note which you can get from music symbols. This
information concerns the INTENSITY or VOLUME of a sound, and is shown by words
such as “soft” or “loud” and by DYNAMIC MARKS. The CRESENDO (increase) mark <
tells you that the volume of tone should be gradually increased. The
DECRESENDO (decrease) mark > indicates that the volume should be gradually
The two marks together <> are known as a SWELL; this sign indicates that the
intensity of the tone first increases and then decreases. All of these marks
are inserted by the composer to show you the proper length of time for the
crescendo and decresendo. A crescendo, for example, may continue for several
measures, or it may be marked for a single quarter note.
Dynamic marks do not appear often in music for the bugle, because, since the
calls serve as signals, they are written to be played “loud.” However, you
will find the marks used quite frequently in the exercises in Chapter 5,
“Bugle Practise,” because practicing swells is excellent for developing breath
You have now had an explanation of all of the signs which you will see in the
bugle calls for the US Navy, as published in this manual. As a review, try to
name each of the signs used in the call below, and tell what each sign
Name both the pitch and the time value for each note. When you are sure that
you understand the meaning of each symbol try beating the rhythm out with your
feet. When you have the rhythm, hum or whistle the notes.
You should be able to recognize the call. You probably will not hit the exact
pitch of the first note unless you have a piano available. The pitch of the
first note does not matter in this exercise so long as you remember to keep
the INTERVALS the same. An interval is the distance along the musical scale
from one note to another. So, if the music shows that one tone is two steps
above another on the musical scale it make little difference in this practice
whether you start on a “C” or a “G” provided you keep the two step interval.
The “do-re-mi” of your school days should be of great help to you in working
Chapter 4: Starting Your Practice
are ready now to practice some written exercises designed to develop both your
ability to read music and your skill as a Bugler. However, before you start to
practice read all of this chapter and take a look at the exercises in chapter
5. Supplement the exercises in chapter 4 with those in chapter 5. The latter
chapter has been arranged to show you approximately what your rate of progress
should be. If you have had previous experience in reading music or in playing
an instrument, you may be able to start practice on the calls before the end
of the 15-week period, or, if you are studying without the benefit of even
part-time help from an instructor, your progress may be somewhat slower than
that given in the schedule.
When you have finished your reading, start with the following exercise. Play
it through often enough so that you can attack each note without fumbling and
can hold each note for
its full value without wavering. Remember to moisten your lips before you
begin. Draw a breath after each note the first few times you play this, then
take two notes in a single breath, and so on, until you can play the entire
exercise without drawing a fresh breath.
If you have no piano available so that you can hear the low C (see chapter 3
for corresponding bugle-piano notes), just remember that this note is the
lowest note which can be sounded on the bugle. The G is the next note, while
the C above that is the next step on the bugle. When you have had more
practice, you will automatically associate the correct note pitch and the
proper lip tension for that pitch with each of the written notes.
Do not try to play above the C shown in this exercise until your embouchure
and your breath control are well enough developed to play the complete
exercise without error.
Here is an exercise which will help you in developing breath control:
Notice that with a tempo in which a quarter note equals 60, each halfnote has
a duration of two seconds. Each of the four notes of the same pitch is tied to
the others, so that for each series of notes of the same pitch you will make
just one attack. In other words, hold the C, the G, the C again, and the low
C, each for seven seconds.
When you have mastered the first two exercises, practice this one. Remember
that your air pressure comes from the tension of your abdominal muscles. The
high notes will require slightly more air pressure than the low notes because
the opening between your lips is going to be smaller for the high notes.
Practice changing pitch by increasing or decreasing your lip tension without
increasing the pressure of the mouthpiece against your lip. Notice that you do
not part your lips. You force a column of air through them, and the tension in
your lips determines the size of the opening between them.
Advanced Lip Practice
Provided your lip is strong enough now to hit and hold the three lower notes
on the bugle, you are ready to add the E to your musical vocabulary. Do not
try to force the note. The increase in lip tension and air pressure from C to
E is very slight. Control over your lip muscles does not come in a day’s time.
When you can sound the E with no strain or difficulty add the high G. Don’t
try to go too fast. It is far better to be able to hit the lower notes when
and as you want, than to be able to hit all of the notes—once in a while. Your
lips require considerable training and strengthening before you can hope to
play with ease beyond the three lower notes on the bugle.
You must continue to practice sustained tones on all of the notes as you add
new ones. However, as you know or will soon know, sustained high notes are
very tiring to your lips. You should, therefore, practice the high notes only
as long as the development of your embouchure will permit, because practice
with tired lip muscles is more detrimental than beneficial.
Up to this point we have been concerned with the development of your lip and
breath control. However, your tongue has an equally important part in sounding
bugle calls. In all cases it is your tongue which determines the sharpness of
the attack for a note. For a clean, sharp attack, you first build up air
pressure by contraction of the abdominal muscles while using your tongue as a
valve to prevent the air from escaping. Then, by saying “ta” you start the
flow of air instantaneously.
When you release notes of short duration, such as most quarter notes, eighth,
and sixteenth notes, stop the air flow by replacing the tip of your tongue at
the base of your upper teeth, where it will be ready for the next attack. With
considerable practice you should be able to play four clean sixteenth notes to
the beat in march tempo [quarter-note] = 120, using the tonguing method
previously described, which is known as SINGLE-TONGUING. However, when you are
sounding longer note values, such as half and whole notes, or quarter notes in
slow tempos, you do not use your tongue to release the note, but stop the flow
of air by relaxing the abdominal pressure on your diaphragm.
There are some bugle calls which require greater speed in tonguing than you
can manage by single-tonguing. It is necessary, therefore, to use other
methods to tongue these very rapid changes.
The most frequently used method is known as TRIPLE-TONGUING although a very
few of the calls require DOUBLE-TONGUING. The syllables used in
triple-tonguing are “ta-ta-ka.” Normally, each of the syllables is given
exactly the same time value. However, for your early practice, it is wise to
put more stress on the “ka” than on the first two syllables, because saying
“ka” requires a throat movement which is more difficult than the tongue
movement used in saying “ta.” You will have to practice this method for
tonguing very slowly at first. When you begin it will seem, and will be,
slower than single-tonguing. However, eventually you will find that you can
play sixteenth note triplets, such as are found in the following call, with
Remember that the ability to sound the calls properly will not be yours
automatically. Your tongue needs as much practice to be able to move rapidly
and in the right direction as your body would if you were called upon to do
flips on a tight wire.
Practice the following exercise carefully, starting very slowly, and gradually
speed up your tonguing until you can play it at a tempo of [quarter-note] =132
without error. Make every note distinct.
Double-tonguing is considered by most Buglers, to be more difficult than
triple-tonguing. The syllables used are “ta-ka” as is shown in the following
exercise. Start slowly, as you did in practicing triple-tonguing, and increase
the speed gradually until you can play the exercise in rapid tempo.
When you think that your embouchure has developed to the point that you are
ready to sound the high B flat and high C, by all means, do so. You should,
however, be able to sound all of the lower notes without error and without
having to “work up to them” before you attempt these two top notes. Keep in
mind that you should raise note-pitch by increasing lip tension and air
pressure rather than by increasing the pressure of the mouthpiece against your
The most important thing that you should have learned from this chapter is
that you can become a good Bugler only by constant and intelligent practice.
Unfortunately, there are no short cuts or tricks to be used as substitutes for
proper technique. This practice should gradually develop your coordination in
breathing, lip tension, and tonguing to the point where you sound all of the
Additional exercises are included in the next chapter. These exercises range
from very simple to very difficult. Unless you have an instructor to check on
your progress and arrange your practice program for you, it is suggested that
you follow the schedule of exercises as shown. This schedule is based on an
assumption that you will be able to practice at least eight hours every week.
Chapter 5: Bugle Practice
exercises in this chapter are arranged in order of difficulty to enable you to
progress smoothly from beginner to bugle player. It is expected that you will
be able to practice at least eight hours a week. Your practice room should be
located in an area in which you will not be interrupted too frequently and, if
possible, where the calls which you are practicing will not be mistaken for
the real thing.
You will not be expected to become an accomplished performer in 15 weeks of
practice, of course, but during this period you should gain enough skill on
the bugle to enable you to work out unfamiliar calls without the aid of an
Tempo markings have not been placed on the exercises in this chapter because
it is expected that the tempo will vary as you gain proficiency.
FIRST WEEK.—During your first week of pracitce, concentrate on sounding a
full, clear tone on the bugle. Remember to moisten your lips before you begin.
SECOND WEEK.—When you practice the E in the exercises for the second week,
reach the note by increasing your lip tension and air pressure rather than by
increasing the pressure of the mouthpiece against your lips.
THIRD WEEK.—Practice the long tones in exercise No. 7 only for as long as the
development of embouchure will permit. When your lip commences to tire put
your bugle aside for a moment. When you play the slurred tones in exercise No.
9, remember that you play both notes without stopping the flow of air.
FOURTH WEEK.—You will find that it is more difficult to play slurred notes
when you are going up than when you are going down; however, you should be
able to do both with ease.
FIFTH WEEK.—Exercise No. 13 is intended to give you practice in rhythm.
Practice it first at [quarter-note] = 120; then take it at [quarter-note] =
180. In exercise No. 14, give each quarter note one full count; give the
eighth notes one-half count, give full value to the eighth rests.
SIXTH WEEK.—In exercise No. 18, give a full six counts to the dotted half
SEVENTH WEEK.—Do not strain to reach the G in these long tone exercises. If
the muscles of your lips are ready you will be able to sound it without
EIGHTH WEEK.—Observe the swells in exercise No. 22. Start the exercise softly,
increase the volume gradually to very loud, and then diminish the volume
slowly to soft. Exercise No. 23 is the second half of a call with which you
are familiar. Exercise No. 24 has a tricky rhythm with a dotted eighth note
and a sixteenth note following two eighth notes. Practice this exercise very
slowly until you give the proper time value to both eighth notes and dotted
eighth note in the same measure.
NINTH WEEK.—Exercise No. 25 will give you further practice in slurring.
Exercise No. 26 is a call with which you may be familiar. Play the call
through slowly at first to learn the note pitch. Then, sound it at a tempo of
[quarter-note] = 132. In exercise No. 27 you must keep a strict count of three
for each measure. Double-tongue the sixteenth notes.
TENTH WEEK.—Exercises No. 28, 29 and 30 give you further practice in
ELEVENTH WEEK.—In exercise No. 31 you have additional practice in sounding
dotted eighth notes and sixteenth notes. Exercise No. 32 is a call which is
certainly familiar to you. It should be sounded at a very slow tempo.
TWELFTH WEEK.—Exercise No. 34 is the first passage of a well-known bugle call.
Exercise No. 36 is another familiar call.
THIRTEENTH WEEK.—Exercise No. 37 has been included to give you practice in
rapid changing of your embouchure. Practice the exercise slowly at first.
Exercise No. 38 is another call which you will recognize. The triplets in
exercise No. 39 should be triple-tongued.
FOURTEENTH WEEK.—Continue your work on triple-tonguing in exercise No. 40.
Exercise No. 41 introduces one of the most difficult of the calls insofar as
tempo is concerned because it includes both eighth and sixteenth note
triplets. You will have to count this one very carefully in order to give the
proper time value to the notes, particularly in the third and seventh full
measures. Exercise No. 42 adds the high C to your note-pitch vocabulary. Do
not mistake the high B-flat for the C. Remember that the high C is exactly one
octave above the C which starts the exercise.
FIFTEENTH WEEK.—Exercise No. 43 gives you the complete range of the bugle
scale. Practice this exercise, observing the dynamic markings closely.
Exercise No. 44 is written with intervals of an octave to give you practice in
breath control and lip tension.
When you can play exercise No. 45 without error you are ready to start
practicing on the calls.
6: The Calls
This chapter contains all of the bugle calls in use in the United States Navy.
The calls have been classified only as ROUTINE, EMERGENCY, or
ROUTINE AND EMERGENCY in order to clarify previous classifications. The calls
have been placed in alphabetical order to facilitate location.
The musical signs and symbols used are those which have been explained in
previous chapters, with the exception of the [pause sign]. This symbol is a
rest or pause of indefinite duration which appears in calls used during
marches or drills. Where the pause appears in a call, the preparatory command
may be given at any appropriate time prior to the execution of the movement,
but the command of execution is to be given when the body of troops has
reached the point where execution of the movement is to be made. The command
of execution is given on the right foot for movements to the right and on the
left foot for movements to the left.
It would be wise for you to consult your Chief as to which of the calls are
used most frequently on board your ship so that you can learn these calls
first. Of course, this does not relieve you of the responsibility of learning
the other calls, particularly the emergency calls, but it will permit you to
“bear down” on those most useful to you. All of the calls must be played from
memory exactly as they are written. This will necessitate considerable
practice on each call in order to commit all the calls to memory with the
correct tune and tempo. The practice should be done in an assigned space below
decks to avoid the confusion which might result if, for example, Liberty Call
were to be sounded at sea.
1. Abandon Ship
.—Emergency—sounded as a signal to man boats and abandon
2. Adjutant's Call
.—Routine—at shore stations sounded as a signal for
companies to form battalion. Immediately after call, the adjutant posts the
guides of the color company and this company marches in line.
Used on board ship in special ceremonies. (See Taps
3. Admiral’s Barge.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away the
admiral’s barge. It may also be used to call away any barge. The particular
barge desired is designated by C-note blasts.
4. Aircraft Elevators
.—Routine—sounded to call away aircraft elevators.
If necessary, C-note blasts can be used to designate the particular elevator
and elevator pump room to be manned. The call is identical to the
.—Routine—sounded as a signal for assembly of details or
companies at a designated place. This call is identical to
6. As Skirmishers, March.—Routine—although this call is generally used
in connection with maneuvering troops in the field, it is frequently used
aboard ship as a call to deploy for physical drill.
7. Attention.—Routine —sounded as a signal for all hands to stand at
attention and maintain silence. When sounded for passing honors, it is a
positive command for every man in sight from the outboard to stand at
attention and face the passing vessel.
8. Attention to orders.—Routine—sounded as a signal that important
information is to be passed. Demands silence but does not require the position
9. Automobile Call.—Routine—sounded to call away a motor vehicle. The
particular vehicle desired can be designated by E-notes blasts.
10. Band Call.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call the band to
quarterdeck or any other previously designated position. It is most frequently
heard following Full Guard or Guard of the Day when colors are being saluted
or honors presented.
11. Bear A Hand.—Routine—sounded as a signal to indicate haste in
obeying a previous order or call.
12. Belay.—Routine—sounded as a signal to countermand or revoke a
previous call or order. If necessary, the previous call should be repeated,
followed immediately by Belay.
13. By the Left Flank, March.—Routine—the four descending notes are the
preparatory command for the movement to the left flank. The G-note blast is
the command of execution and should be given as the left foot strikes the
ground when the body of troops has reached the point where execution of the
movement is to be made.
14. By the Right Flank, March.—Routine—the four ascending notes are the
preparatory command for the movement to the right flank. The G-note blast is
the command of execution and should be given as the right foot strikes the
ground when the body of troops has reached the point where execution of the
movement is to be made.
15. Call All Signalmen.—Routine—sounded to call the signal gang to
muster on the signal bridge.
16. Call Away All Boats.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away all
boats for exercise or when all boats are to be used for a landing or for an
armed boat expedition.
17. Captain’s Gig (Staff Gig).—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away
the captain’s gig. When more than one gig is in use the particular gig desired
may be designated by C-note blasts.
18. Carry On.—Routine—sounded after Attention to Orders as a signal to
resume activities underway before the interruption.
19. Cease Firing.—Routine—sounded as a signal to cease firing or to
knock off fueling.
.—Emergency—sounded in the field as a signal for a charge.
This call is identical to Man Overboard
21. Church Call.—Routine—this call signals that divine services are
about to be held. Aboard ship the call is followed by the tolling of the
ship’s bell. The call may also be used to form a funeral escort.
22. Clean Bright Work.—Routine—sounded as a signal to clean assigned
bright work or to take up assigned detail work.
23. Column Left, March.—Routine—the first two measures are the
preparatory command for the column left movement. The G-note blast is the
command of execution and should be given as the left foot strikes the ground
when the body of troops has reached the point where execution of the movement
is to be made.
24. Column Right, March.—Routine—the first two measures are the
preparatory command for the column right movement. The G-note blast is the
command of execution and should be given as the right foot strikes the ground
when the body of troops has reached the point where execution of the movement
is to be made.
25. Commence Firing.—Routine—sounded as a signal to begin firing.
26. Commence Fueling.—Routine—sounded as a signal to begin fueling.
This call is identical to Commence Firing.
27. Companies.—Routine—sounded to alert companies of men as units. If it
is necessary to alert a single company, this company is designated by G-note
28. Crash Boat.—Emergency—this call is sounded as signal for the boat
crew to man the designated crash boat (designated by C-note blasts if more than
one crash boat is aboard). The Hospitalman reports immediately at the boat with
his medical kit. The deck division concerned with lowering the boat stands by.
The crane operator goes to his station and sees that the power is on and that
the crane is ready to operate.
29. Cutter.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away a cutter. The
particular cutter desired may be designated by C-note blasts.
30. Dinghy.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away a dinghy. The
particular dinghy desired may be designated by C-note blasts.
31. Dismiss.—Routine—sounded after Secure, or sounded alone after drills
as a signal to dismiss a division.
32. Division.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call a designated division
to quarters. It is followed by C-note blasts to designate the division desired.
This call is identical to Assembly.
33. Double Time, March.—Routine—used when on the march to take up the
double time (cadence of 180 paces to the minute.) This call is similar to
Bear a Hand.
34. Drill Call.—Routine—sounded as a warning to turn out for a drill.
35. Evening Colors.—Routine—this call (also known as Retreat) is sounded
by the Bugler at sundown each evening during the flag-lowering ceremony at all
naval stations, marine barracks, naval or marine camps, and aboard ship.
Prior to the beginning of the ceremony, Attention is sounded by the Bugler.
After a short pause he sounds Evening Colors. The flag leaves the peak or truck
at the first note of the call and is lowered at a speed which will bring it to
the arms of the flag guard with the last note of the call. Upon completion of
Evening Colors the Bugler sounds Carry On.
When a band is present at the ceremony the procedure described above is
followed, except that the flag is lowered while the band plays the national
anthem. The national anthem follows Evening Colors in the ceremony and is
followed by Carry On sounded on the bugle.
36. Extra Duty Men.—Routine—sounded as a signal for extra duty men to
fall in at designated position.
the About Face or Face the Rear.
38. Fire Call.—Emergency—this call is sounded in case of fire or fire
drill as a signal for general assembly. The call is usually followed by one or
more blasts, as specified in fire orders, to designate the location of the fire.
Aboard ship, the call is sounded simultaneously with the ringing of the ship’s
bell. One blast indicates that the fire is forward. Two blasts indicate that the
fire is aft. The call is repeated as many times as the emergency requires.
39. First Call.---Routine---sounded as a warning signal for roll call
formations and for most other ceremonies, except mounting of the guard. It is
sounded five minutes before morning and evening colors as a signal for the
guard, band, and divisions to assemble.
40. First Call for Mess.---Routine---this call may be sounded five
minutes before mess call, but is seldom used.
41. Fix Bayonets.—Emergency—used in the field as a signal to fix
bayonets. This call is identical to Crash Boats.
42. Flag Officer’s March.—Routine—upon completion of the last flourish
honoring an officer of flag rank, the Bugler may be required to sound the Flag
Officer’s March. (See Honors.)
43. Flight Quarters.—Routine—sounded as a signal for all aviation crews
to go to their stations. C-note blasts can be used to designate type of
operations (launching, recovery, respotting, or other) to be undertaken.
44. Forward, March.—Routine—sounded as a signal to begin the march.
45. Full Guard.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call the full bluejacket
or Marine guard to the quarterdeck or other designated place.
46. General Muster.—Routine—sounded as a signal for all divisions to
assemble for general muster.
47. General Quarters.—Emergency—this call is sounded as a signal for all
hands to report to their general quarters’ station.
48. Go In Water.—Routine—sounded after Swimming Call as a signal for the
swimming party to go in the water. The life guard boat should be in position and
the boom lowered before the call is sounded.
49. Guard of the Day.—Routine—sounded as a signal for the assembly of the
guard of the day at the quarterdeck or other designated place.
50. Guard Mount.—Routine—used in the field to signal that guard mount is
about to begin.
51. Guide Center.—Routine—sounded on the march as a signal that the guide
is to the center.
52. Guide Left.—Routine—sounded on the march as a signal that the guide
is to the left.
53. Guide Right.—Routine—sounded on the march as a signal that the guide
is to the right.
54. Halt.—Routine—sounded on the march as a signal to halt.
55. Hammocks.—Routine—sounded as signal for every man using a hammock to
fall in abreast his hammock and maintain silence. Also sounded as signal that
bunks may be taken down.
56. Honors.—Routine—in the absence of a band the Bugler may be required
to sound Honors and the Flag Officer’s March to salute a visiting dignitary.
Honors are rendered by giving the number of flourishes prescribed by Navy
Regulations for the rank of the honored official.
The flourish or flourishes are sounded immediately after the visiting official
or group of officials has reached the upper platform and saluted the colors.
Navy Regulations provide that four flourishes be given to the President of the
United States, an ex-President, the Vice President, a member of the President’s
Cabinet, Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air
Force, the Chief Justice, ambassadors, the govenor of a state or of a territory
or possession of the United States, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congressional committees, admirals and
generals of four star rank or above, and personages of similar rank from a
foreign government, including members of a reigning royal family.
Three flourishes are sounded for envoys extraordinary, vice admirals, and
lieutenant generals of the United States, and officials of foreign governments
holding similar ranks.
Two flourishes are sounded for ministers resident or diplomatic representatives,
rear admirals, and major generals of the United States, and for officials of
foreign countries holding similar ranks.
One flourish is sounded for Charge d’affaires, consul generals, commodores, and
brigadier generals of the United States, and officials of foreign governments
holding similar ranks.
57. Hook On.—Routine—sounded as a signal to hook on and prepare for
hoisting the boat or boats whose call has preceded the hook-on signal.
58. Inspection.—Routine—sounded as a signal to prepare for the commanding
officer’s inspection of personnel, ship, or station.
59. Knock Off Bright Work.—Routine—sounded as a signal to stow all
60. Knock Off Fueling.—Routine—sounded as a signal to cease fueling. This
call is identical to Cease Firing.
61. Left Oblique, March.—Routine—the first three notes are the
preparatory command for a left oblique movement. The C-note blast is the command
of execution and should be given as the left foot strikes the ground when the
body of troops has reached the point where execution of the movement is to be
62. Liberty Party.—Routine—sounded as a signal for the liberty party to
fall in for inspection.
63. Lie Down.—Routine—sounded in the field as a signal to fall out and
64. Light Smoking Lamp.—Routine—this call signals permission for the crew
65. Mail Call.—Routine—sounded as a signal that mail is ready for
66. Main Battery Fire Control Exercise.—Routine—sounded as a signal
before an exercise for all elements of the main battery fire-control system.
67. Man AA Machine Gun Battery.—Routine and emergency—sounded as a signal
to man the AA machine gun battery for drill or other purposes.
68. Man Overboard.—Emergency—this call is used as a signal that there is
a man overboard. When the call is sounded, the lifeboat crew mans and lowers its
boat, and the lifebuoy guard tosses a buoy into the water as close as possible
to the man.
69. Man Radars.—Routine and emergency—sounded as a signal for radar crews
to man their stations. If necessary, individual units can be designated by
70. Man Range Finder.—Routine—this call, without designating notes, is a
signal to man all range finders. Individuals range finders may be called into
action by using an established number of C-note blasts after the call to
indicate the proper instrument and crew.
71. Man Search Lights.—Routine and emergency—this call, without
designating notes, is a signal to man all searchlights. Individual searchlights
may be called into action by using an established number of C-note blasts after
the call to indicate the proper searchlight and crew.
72. Man the Boat Falls.—Routine—a signal for all hand to man the boat
falls which are indicated either orally or by boat call.
73. Man Torpedo Defense Battery.—Routine and emergency—sounded as a
signal for torpedo defense crews to go to their stations.
74. Mess Call.—Routine—sounded as a signal for crew to assemble for
breakfast, dinner, or supper. Also used as a signal for mess cooks to spread
75. Morning Colors.—Routine—this call is sounded by the Bugler during
flag raising at 0800 each morning at all naval stations, Marine barracks, camps,
and aboard ship.
The flag begins to ascent at the first note of the call and is raised quickly to
the peak or truck. Aboard ship only the first full eight measures of the call
76. Motor Boat.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away a motorboat. The
particular motorboat desired may be designated by C-note blasts.
77. Motor Launch.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away a motor
launch. The particular motor launch desired may be designated by C-note blasts.
78. Moving Picture Call.—Routine—this call is sounded five minutes before
a moving picture is to begin.
79. Officer’s Call.—Routine—sounded as a notification for all officers to
report to the commanding officer or at some designated point. This call is also
frequently employed as a signal for divisions to assemble at morning quarters
for muster. In such cases it is sounded five minutes before assembly time.
80. Out Smoking Lamp.—Routine—sounded as a signal to knock off smoking.
81. Pay Call.—Routine—this call is sounded when the paymaster is ready to
pay the crew and is a signal for the men to fall in at their proper places to
receive their pay.
82. Provision Call.—Routine—sounded as a signal that provisions are about
to be served. Also used as a signal to equip and provide boats for abandon ship.
83. Quick Time, March.—Routine—used as a signal to take up the quick step
(120 paces to the minute) when on the march.
84. Race Boat Crew.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away the race
85. Rally by Companies.—Routine—sounded in the field to rally a company
which has been dispersed.
86. Reveille.—Routine—this familiar call is sounded to awaken all
personnel for morning roll call. All Hands is piped immediately after the call
87. Right Oblique, March.—Routine—the first three notes are the
preparatory command for a right oblique movement. The C-note blast is the
command of execution and should be given as the right foot strikes the ground
when the body of troops has reached the point where execution of the movement is
to be made.
88. Route Step, March.—Routine—sounded as a signal on the march to take
up the route step.
89. Saluting Gun Crews to Quarters.—Routine—sounded as a signal for
saluting gun crews to make all necessary preparations to fire a salute.
90. School Call.—Routine—used either on board ship or at training
stations to signal that classes are about to begin.
91. Secure.—Routine—sounded as a signal after battle or emergency drills
to secure equipment.
92. Set Material Condition.—Emergency—sounded as a signal for all men to
man their damage control stations. When followed by one E-note blast the call
designates “set material condition able;” followed by two E-note blasts it
indicates “set material condition baker.”
93. Sick Call.—Routine—sounded at times designated by the commanding
officer as a signal for men requiring routine medical attention to report to
94. Surgeon’s Party.—Routine—sounded as a signal for dressing station
crews and battle stretcher men to muster at the sick bay for instruction in
95. Swimming Call.—Routine—sounded as a signal for the men taking part in
swimming exercises to don their trunks and prepare for the swim.
96. Taps.—Routine—this beautiful and well-known call was written by
General Daniel Butterfield and his brigade Bugler in July, 1862 to replace a
previous, less melodious call. It is the last call to be sounded at night, with
the exception of emergency calls, and is the signal for the men to turn in and
extinguish unauthorized lights.
Taps is also sounded at the funeral of a member or ex-member of the armed
services as the final military tribute to the service which that man has
rendered to his country.
When a Bugler is to take part in a funeral service ashore he accompanies the
firing party to the place of internment. Upon completion of the commitment
service, the commander of the escort gives the command PRESENT ARMS. On this
command, the bugler moves to the head of, and facing, the grave. When he has
taken his position, he gives the hand salute without further command. At the
command FIRE THREE VOLLEYS the firing party fires three volleys of blank
cartridges and assumes the position of READY. Immediately following the last
volley, the Bugler sounds Taps. Upon completion of the call, he again gives the
hand salute, faces about, and rejoins his unit.
If for any reason the volleys are omitted from the ceremony, the Bugler follows
the procedure described above, but sounds Taps immediately after moving to the
head of the grave and giving the hand salute.
For burials at sea the Bugler falls in with the firing party. When the order
“All hands bury the dead” is given, Officer’s Call is sounded on the bugle. When
the crew has assembled, Adjutant’s Call is sounded and all divisions face the
body. With the vessel hove to and the colors at half-mast the divisions are
brought to Parade Rest for the reading of the scripture and for prayer. Upon
conclusion of the prayers all divisions are brought to attention for the
committal service by sounding Attention on the bugle. After the committal, three
volleys are fired by the firing party, and the Bugler sounds Taps. Following
this, benediction is said the colors are two-blocked. Retreat is sounded on the
bugle to bring the ceremony to its close.
97. Tattoo.—Routine—Tattoo is sounded in the evening as a signal to make
down bunks and prepare to retire. Aboard ship, Tattoo is a signal for silence
about the decks. The origin of this call has been traced back to the Thirty
Years War (1618-1648) when it was used by a German commander to call a halt to
the nightly drinking bouts of his soldiers.
98. Torpedo Defense Fire-Control Exercise.—Routine—sounded as a signal
for fire-control exercise, torpedo defense battery. When searchlights are to be
included in the exercise, this call is followed by the call Man Searchlights.
99. Torpedo Defense Quarters.—Emergency—sounded as a signal at general
quarters to call the torpedo defense gun crews from reserve.
100. To the Rear, March.—Routine—the first three measures serve as the
preparatory command for this movement. The C-note blast is the command of
execution and should be given as the right foot strikes the ground when the body
of troops has reached the point where execution of the movement is to be made.
101. Watertight Doors.—Routine and emergency—sounded as a signal to
secure the ship below the water line for the night during maneuvers or fog.
102. Whale Boat.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away a whale boat.
The particular whale boat desired may be designated by C-note blasts.
103. Wherry.—Routine—sounded as a signal to call away a wherry. The
particular wherry desired may be designated by C-note blasts.
104. Working Party.—Routine—sounded as a signal for assembly of a working
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