Music as an Adjunct to Punishment in the Armed Forces and the People of Britain and the Empire

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


The inspiration for this paper came from the various erroneous comments that wrongly attribute the tune, ‘The Rogues March’, in its application as an accompaniment to the naval punishment ‘flogging around the fleet’, to the popular song- and opera-writer, Charles Dibdin. This paper will examine the true source of the tune, and the symbolic features it brings to instances of punishment and mockery across the armed services and in the general population too. This tune, and the symbolisms attached to it, seem to address the ‘from below’ aspect of this conference particularly well. I will also examine two other songs with established associations with punishment, even death: the ‘Dead March’ from Saul, and the oft-quoted doleful song, ‘Fortune my Foe’.

This paper is offered as part of a three-way panel with Dr. Kate Bowan and Prof. Paul Pickering. Our paper will meet with instances of rituals and punishments, and public theatre and spectacle, which were repeated across the expanding Anglophone world and were not exclusive to Britain’s shores.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010
EventWriting the Empire: Scribblings from Below - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Jun 201026 Jun 2010


ConferenceWriting the Empire: Scribblings from Below
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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