Your weekly listen for 11/11/15 is Last Post played on the Bugle by one of Canada’s Governor General’s Foot Guards.
I bet you didn’t know I was a Canuck, did you? Well, in Canada, we have some slightly different traditions for celebrating November 11, which we know as “Remembrance Day”. We don’t take the day as a holiday, but wherever we find ourselves at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, most of us, if not at an actual service, will at least stop what we are doing, turn on a radio and listen to “The Last Post” on the bugle followed by two minutes of silence, during which we may bow our heads in silent reflection or prayer in honour of those who have fallen. We also wear pinned felt poppies on our lapels, sold at stores everywhere in the weeks leading up to November 11, which benefit the Royal Canadian Legion.
Here you can see the Foot Guard wearing a very funny tall fuzzy hat. He plays our traditional “Last Post”, followed by in this case just under one minute of silence and then “The Rouse”.
In addition to its significance as part of our cultural tradition, these bugle tunes are of interest to music students because they are composed entirely of notes from what is known as the “Overtone Series”, a naturally occurring series of tonal frequencies. In the case of the bugle, this series of notes is produced simply by changing the speed at which air flows through the horn. The same series of notes can also be created by multiplying the frequency at which one string vibrates. The overtone series is closely related to our Western system of musical scales.