We Are on the Road to Boston

woodcut of soldiers marching with drum, fife, and lances

“The English Courage Undaunted,” Broadside, 1680. This 17th century image of English soldiers marching to a fifer and drummer highlights the European origins of American martial music. By the time of the American Revolution, fifes and drums were the most common field music in the British and American armies. Illustration from a song collected by Samuel Pepys, printed in London in 1680, courtesy of the Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK.

Road to Boston was a well-known tune that was particularly well-suited for marching at either a common march or at the quickstep. As with other popular military songs, the tempo could be considerably quickened, making it a popular dance tune as well as a marching song.

Instrumentation: fife and drum