[Sheet music] The Trumpeter

Accession Number RC10923.014
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 438
Collection type Published Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Measurement Overall: 26 x 34 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Dix, Joshua Airlie
Barron, John Francis
Place made United Kingdom, United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1904
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Recording provided for personal, non-commercial and commemorative use. Permission from copyright holder must be sought for commercial use. Attached digital images provided for personal non-commercial use

Sheet music for the song titled, 'The Trumpeter', with lyrics written by John Francis Barron and music composed by Joshua Airlie Dix. Published in G Major, this song is part of the compilation songbook, "Australian Y.M.C.A. Songs Volume II". Published in G Major, by Boosey & Co, London, for the price of 2/-, this copy was included in the compilation songbook titled 'Australian Y.M.C.A. Songs Volume II'. The lyrics discuss the call of the trumpeter and the role this plays in the military for waking up troops, sounding the charge and calling the troops back after battle.

The back cover of this copy features a list of other titles sold by the publisher. The front cover attests that the song was performed by the English baritone singer, Mr [Robert] Watkin Mills; Mr Charles Knowles; and the Welsh baritone singer, Mr Ivor [Llewellyn] Foster.

'The Trumpeter' was inspired by the trumpeter in the Queen Bays, the regiment in which the lyricist, Barron, served for 12 years. Barron also served in East Africa with the Legion of Frontiersmen at the beginning of the First World War.

Barron sold the rights to this song for 50 pounds. Beforehand he had asked his mother as to what he should do. Her response was: 'You can write another tomorrow'. More than 500 000 copies of the sheet music were sold and the song became popular around the world. It took Barron another three years to write a follow-up successful song.

Joshua Airlie Dix was an organist and professor of music who worked with the British songwriter Felix McGlennon and wrote mnay songs for the stage over his career. Dix was from a musical family with one of his brothers also an organist and another an organ builder. His sister taught piano. Dix also played the cello.

Towards the bottom of this page is a sound recording of this sheet music, or a parody, that was created as part of the Music and the First World War project. More information about this recording, including names of the performers, can be found on the catalogue record for the sound recording. A link to the catalogue record for the sound recording can be found at the bottom of this page, under the heading ‘Related objects’ where it can be identified with the prefix [sound recording].

History / Summary

One performance of this very popular song during the First World War was given by Mr J Stephens at a concert in aid of wounded soldiers on 22 August 1916. This concert was held at Victoria Hall, Fremantle, Western Australia. It was organised by the Fremantle Girls Society.

This song was also a popular song with the soldiers serving during the First World War. Harold Frank Nott, who served with the 21st Battalion, performed this song at a concert held for Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Central Hall, London on 24 June 1916. William Nichol Dodds, who served with 12th Field Artillery Brigade, was another Australian soldier who performed this song during the First World War. His version of the song was performed on 27 June 1918, as part of a concert given by the Headquarters Staff, 36 (Australian) Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery, on the Western Front. During this same concert, he also provided the piano accompaniment required for other performances. Hampson Taylor, who served with the 37th Battalion, participated in a concert by The Mountebanks Concert Party on 4 August 1917. The concert was held at Durrington, England, where Taylor was stationed with 10th Training Brigade. 'The Trumpeter' was one of two songs that he performed during this event.

This was also a popular song to perform at sea. There are several mentions of this song in concerts aboard troopships returning to Australia. One of these performances was given by Richard Eli Trewern, who served with the 24th Battalion, aboard HMAT Corinthic on 27 February 1918. Another was given aboard HMAT Ulysses on 31 July 1919 by Francis Stephen Johnstone. Johnstone, served with the 1st Anzac Cyclists and the Australian Army Ordnance Corps. Charles Oscar Rembert, who served with the 10th Field Artillery Brigade, performed the song during a concert by the Napierotts Concert Party aboard HMAT Port Napier on 25 May 1919.