Songbook - Fife Tunes from the American Revolution
by Kate Van Winkle Keller. Sandy Hook, CT: The Hendrickson Group, 1997. ISBN 1-877984-21-3. 40 pages
This is a modern edition of melodies for the fife collected in Ellington, CT in 1777. Born in 1760, Giles Gibbs, Jr, was just old enough to be a member of the local militia. He lived in a small town, but the 59 tunes he wrote down are from sources far beyond the Great Swamp and the wide Connecticut River. His music is from the Lexington alarm, the French and Indian War, the Beggar’s Opera, Masonic songs and old ballads. Scottish and Irish melodies, French dances, English marches by Handel and psalm tunes fill his pages, some copied from books, many written out by ear. Even "Yankee Doodle" is included, but with a very strange title.
Gibbs’s book is unusual for its concise, local and dateable contents. It gives a unique view of musical practice in a small colonial New England town at a pivotal time in our history. This study sheds light on the sources of his music, the outward connections of his world, and the network of music that linked British-American communities on both sides of the Atlantic.