Drum Major Signals and Orders
Leading Drum Majors must follow the below signalling and order conventions while performing in a massed bands parade:
· Bands Attention: All Drum Major orders must be given at attention.
· Bands Quick March: depending on the convenience of the formation, one of the following three orders must be given for starting to play playing and marching. Note: the “By-the-____” is a warning command, “…” indicates a pause, and “Quick, March!” must be given indicating the marching/playing tempo. The first drum roll – and marching – must start on the beat immediately following the “Quick, March!” command.
o By-the-Right... Quick, March!
o By-the-Left… Quick, March!
o By-the-Centre… Quick, March!
· Counter March (D/M): To warn of an approaching Counter march, the Drum Major must take the mace by its sweet point with the right hand, and swing it outwards (without releasing) to a vertical upside-down and above-right-shoulder position. At the place where the Counter March must be done, and necessarily on a left step, the mace is lowered from an overhead height to a shoulder height, and the D/M begins to counter march with the following right step. Immediately after the Counter March, the mace is swung down (without releasing) describing a circle in front of the D/M. After the D/M has crossed the last drummer, the mace is then handed back to the left hand and the normal drill swing can continue.
· Counter March (all): The Counter March must be done in 4 steps (the right step mentioned above counts as step 1, i.e. the Counter March is right-left-right-left), where the left shoulder describes a small semi circle towards the right, and the right shoulder is the rotating axis. After the 4 steps of the Counter March are concluded, the drilling continues normally.
· Wheels (D/M): The Drum Major will signal that ranks must wheel (change in marching direction by a certain angle) by swinging the mace to a horizontal-shoulder-height position, held outward (opposite direction of the turn) indicating the starting point of the arc to be described by each rank. During the wheel, the D/M must execute smaller-than-usual steps. Once the wheel is finished, the mace returns to its normal position and the normal swing can continue.
· Wheels (pipers & drummers): Each rank must describe the same arc indicated by the DM’s mace. The piper/drummer on the arc side of the rank must maintain the same step as marching normally, while the piper/drummer on the pivot side of the rank must rotate without advancing. Remaining pipers and drummers in each rank must shorten their steps in such a way that the rank remains a straight line, thus emulating the D/M’s mace. Once the wheel is finished the drilling continues normally.
· Change of tune: The mace held vertically from the base (Drum Major’s right hand) indicates a change in tempo. This signal must be avoided if it is not strictly necessary to indicate the change (i.e. not necessary if the change of tune is convened prior to start playing).
· Stop playing: The mace held diagonally (over the Drum Major) indicates that music must be stopped in the following end of part.
· Marking time: The mace held horizontally with both hands (over the Drum Major) indicated that the bands must mark time (marching without advancing). The Mace should be raised on a left step, and on the following left step the bands must be in marking time.
· Band Halt: There are two possibilities:
o While the bands are playing: the order must be visual. From the marking time position, the mace must be lowered as the right foot is being lowered, being this step the last one of the marching.
o While the bands are not playing: the order can either be visual (as indicated above) or can be oral (without mace signal). The Drum Major must indicate on two consecutive left steps the following orders (one on each left step): “Bands” … “Halt!”. The bands will do a right step, a left step and stop marching on the following right (“Band”-right-“halt!”-right-left-right).
Definition agreed: December 20th, 2003
Revised October 29th, 2005: Erratum in "Counter March" ...
left right shoulder is the rotation axis.