In Memoriam
May 31, 2004 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Taps: Sometimes broken, recently automated; an American melody.
posted by mr_roboto (18 comments total)
 
The "broken taps" story was amazing; the idea of playing recordings of "Taps" at funerals is as sickening and disrespectful as the blackout on images of coffins.
posted by interrobang at 10:55 PM on May 31, 2004


true. makes me want to volunteer.
posted by sklero at 11:16 PM on May 31, 2004


Wow. Maybe I should.
posted by interrobang at 11:21 PM on May 31, 2004


This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Taps is probably the easiest tune to play on a trumpet/cornet/bugle. Now I understand the remote control and the popcorn button on the microwave, but this has gone too far. The water-powered light in the shower head was a much cooler idea.
posted by estey at 11:39 PM on May 31, 2004


In high school one of my best friends played Taps at his father's funeral. I haven't heard a better version since.

This is disgusting. Milli Vanilli bugling.
posted by estey at 12:08 AM on June 1, 2004


Jari Villanueva, the creator of that web site, also was a major resource for the recent book about Taps.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:19 AM on June 1, 2004


Just checking. Anyone else who has work with machining and metals get let astray by "Taps: Sometimes broken..."?
posted by eriko at 5:33 AM on June 1, 2004


This reminds me of the time when, as a member of the Canadian reserves, I was part of Remembrance Day ceremonies. It was a fairly cold day, and the batteries of the tape machine playing Taps were affected by this. The slowing down of the song sounded, well, kinda funny.

We could see the bodies of the officers in front of us shaking, as they tried to stop themselves laughing aloud.... This set the rest of us off... Lots of fake coughing to camouflage the heresy. Needless to say, the veterans at the ceremony weren't impressed.
posted by sunexplodes at 5:33 AM on June 1, 2004


I think the link about the "canned Taps" may be worth revisiting for some of you.

It is meant for times when no bugler is available. The alternative is to play it out of a boom box, which come on, that's more than a little tacky.

It at least LOOKS like a military ceremony. I doubt if the grieving widow is overly put out that it is a recording. More likely, she was appreciative of the effort to make it "right" given the circumstances.

I just don't view it with the indignance that some of the posters apparently do. *shrug*

And, Taps can be surprisingly difficult to perform under pressure and the added emotional burden of a funeral. I once performed a "call and response" version of Taps where two buglers are on opposite sides of the graveyard, and the first bugler plays the first phrase, and is echoed by the 2nd bugler, and so on. Haunting effect, and would move even the hardest of hearts.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:05 AM on June 1, 2004


this is SO wierd. i was just out for a stroll around the block with my mom, and we were reminiscing. having been a boy scout, cornet player and a member of a drum and bugle corps as a lad, i became known somehow to the folks at the local naval reserve responsible for arranging such things. for a time back then, probably ages 12 through 14, i would be called upon several times a year to blow taps at a funeral for a deceased vet. i don't remember any families though, i suspect most of these poor guys were loners from the local veterans facility. still, the uniforms, flags, ceremony, and rifle fire added up to make a strong impression on my young mind. and i'll never forget blowing taps at a boy scout jamboree where thousands of scouts were encamped within a square mile or so - there were maybe half dozen buglers spread out among this group and i can still feel the shivers up my spine hearing the echos of my own horn, and the responses 5 or 6 levels deep rolling back out of the darkness. a prime moment i'll never forget.
posted by quonsar at 8:33 AM on June 1, 2004


The real question is how high the "high-quality" version of Taps is. Is it CD quality? It would be scandalous if it were 8-bit.
posted by inksyndicate at 8:53 AM on June 1, 2004


Ynoxas has it exactly right. This may sound like a stupid idea, but if no bugler is available, this is the least they can do. Though we can all agree that it should only be a last resort.
posted by MrAnonymous at 8:59 AM on June 1, 2004


Weird repressed memory--at my dad's funeral, a year-and-a-half ago, I cannot remember if Taps was played live or on a boombox. So I guess that says something about how important such a thing is. There were the guys in uniforms who folded the flag that had covered his coffin, there was Taps, but I can't remember how it was performed...more important things to think about at the time.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:32 AM on June 1, 2004


this is SO wierd. i was just out for a stroll around the block with my mom

I don't know which is more strange, the idea of q. as a young teenager playing Taps for lonely veterans, or the fact that he has a mother, and might even be part of a normal family structure.

Perhaps he should be appointed as the MeFi house bugler.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:35 AM on June 1, 2004


well, i don't know that i'd call it a normal family structure...
posted by quonsar at 9:58 AM on June 1, 2004


Taps? The girl guides thing?

I guess I'm just hopelessly confused on this one.
posted by reklaw at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2004


Isn't that tune what I call the Last Post? In which case it isn't an American melody, it originated with English bugle calls and it's common to all the Anglo-descended militaries - we have it in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, for a start.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:36 PM on June 1, 2004


Isn't that tune what I call the Last Post?

Apparently not, through the tradition of it as the "turn-in" bugle call seems consistent. Listen to the JFK "broken" taps for comparison.

Taps is way shorter.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:47 PM on June 1, 2004


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