[Sheet music] The Voice of the guns: march

Accession Number RC11024
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 539
Collection type Published Collection
Measurement Overall - closed: 32 cm x 24 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Alford, Kenneth J
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c. 1926
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 instrumental march titled, 'The voice of the guns', composed by English composer and Bandmaster Frederick Joseph Ricketts under the pseudonym Kenneth J. Alford in 1917. The song was written in honour of British artillerymen serving with British forces during the First World War.

This arrangement for solo piano, was published as part of the series 'Popular marches played by regimental bands of the British Army'. The cover of the sheet music features a Foot Guard's Drum Major in ceremonial dress. The back cover features a list of piano arrrangements of popular marches played by the regimental bands of the British Army. These include five marches that were written by Ricketts and includes a note that all of these marches were also available as arrangements for orchestra and military bands.

The march titled, 'The voice of the guns' is one of several marches that Ricketts wrote during the First World War period with other marches were written just before or during the First World War, including 'Colonel Bogey' (1914); 'The voice of the guns' (1916); and 'The vanished army' (1918). Ricketts was posted to Edinburgh with the 3rd Battalion (Reserves) for the duration of the First World War.

Frederick Ricketts enlisted as a band boy in the Royal Irish Regiment in 1895 and recommended by his bandmaster, Mr J Phillips, for entry into the Royal Military School of Music as a student bandmaster. He was posted as bandmaster to the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Band in 1908 and joined them in South Africa. He started composing music under the pseudonym Kenneth J Alford as he wanted to compose music but this was not highly regarded for commissioned officers. His first peice of published music under this pseudonym was 'Holyrood' which was published by Hawkes and Son, London, in 1912.

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

This instrumental march was adopted as the regimental march of the 57th Australian Infantry Battalion during the First World War.