(long) drill cadences and/or Zulu

Greg Finnegan (finnegan@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU)
Fri, 16 Feb 1996 12:28:55 -0500

In the dance/drill thread, the question was posed:

Then there are the "cadences" or the "jodies." Has any folklorist=
> ethnomusicologist looked at Army jodies? Somebody should! I sometimes=
> dreams about them, and it's been ten years since I left the service.
> Maria Swora
=46ormerly of the 3rd Armor Division and 1st Cavalry Division,
happy to be a civilian!

Checking ANTHROPOLOGICAL LITERATURE online (1983-) under various=
turned up two articles w/ the subject heading "Drill and minor tactics-
-Psychological aspects". One of these (Pearl Katz, "Emotional Metaphors,
Socialization, and Roles of Drill Sergeants," ETHOS 18(4): 457-480,=
doesn't really address issues raised in the thread. But the other=
one is a
direct 'hit' for Swora's query, and has citations to much more. =
Carol Burke's "Marching to Vietnam," JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE=
(406): 424-441, 1989. Burke is/was an English prof. at my father's=
mater, Annapolis, but gets some army as well as navy cadence-calls=
into her
article. She focuses on text, not rhythm, tho' she notes the 120=
180-pace beats. Her bibliography includes two other JAF articles=
the same topic (1965 & 1967), as well as two obscurely-published
collections of "Jody Calls." Interestingly, given the origins of=
thread, she also cites in her opening paragraph an earlier work by=
McNeil, THE PURSUIT OF POWER (1982) regarding the role of drill in=
before the rise of military hi-tech (the repeating rifle.)

=46rom Burke's opening pararaph: "=8Athe carefully choreographed=
movements of
drill (walking in step, loading, and firing) were rehearsal for the=
drama of the battlefield. But today's drill, considered essential=
for any
training program, has no direct parallel to movements in war. A vestige=
a time when men fought standing up, not on their stomachs and certainly=
behind technologically complex control panels, drill today serves=
symbolic function: it erease individuality and inscribes a corporate
identity--the movements of individuals indistinguishable from the=
(p. 424) =20

Like many others who've commented on the interesting fact that the=
drill/dance query has brought in interesting and informative (and=
discussion from all 4 subfields, I want to applaud this illustration=
of the
positive value of the internet in providing a kind of interchange=
limited to (but far from guaranteed at!) annual meetings. A few=
of my own--from the standpoint of one who like several others in=
the thread
managed not to serve in the 60's, but who is additionally the son=
of a
career naval officer (who, apropos of John McCreery, was a Tokyo-trained
Japanese Language Officer and codebreaker), I have the mix of emotions=
Mike S. & others have cited regarding this subject. =20

John Stevens asks "For example, did, say, Zulu warriors have drills???"
While I haven't checked the sources on the precise point--ANY source=
discusses the Zulu army of age-graded, insignia-distinguished (shields)
regiments and their tactics, discusses complexities of mass movement=
must have required extensive practice to execute in unision. For=
a nice
illustration of same on both sides, the 1960's Michael Caine movie=
worth seeing--and as a bonus you get the recently notorious Chief=
acting (both senses?) as King Cetewayo. On the British side, the=
film is
noteworthy for this thread in the scene where infantry, with single-shot,
muzzle-loading rifles, repell an attack through what we'd label "drill:"=
one rank fires in unison, during which other ranks are reloading=
advancing, so that there's a continuous sequence of firing, with=
movement, with those vulnerable during reloading 'covered' by the=
ranks. It is very 'dance-like' and is a powerful illustration of=
the role
of discipline in building a situation of mutual trust and support,=
each individual can concentrate on one task with a secure sense that=
are supporting him. It's probably worth noting in passing that "rank=
file," like so many other cliches (look up "first-rate") have a specific
meaning in their original use.

Some sources (two by anthropologists) on Zulu: Max Gluckman's SCIENTIFIC
AMERICAN article "the Rise of the Zulu Empire" 1960, 202(4):157-162,
164--66, 168, and two books:
AUTHOR: Edgerton, Robert B., 1931-
TITLE: Like lions they fought : the Zulu war and the last=
Black empire
in South Africa / Robert B. Edgerton.
PUB. INFO: New York : Free Press ; London : Collier Macmillan=
DESCRIPTION: vii, 244 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
SUBJECTS: *S1 Zulu War, 1879.
*S2 Combat--Psychological aspects.
*S3 Zulu (African people)--History.
*S4 Zululand (South Africa)--History--To 1879.

AUTHOR: Morris, Donald R.
TITLE: The washing of the spears; a history of the rise=
of the Zulu
nation under Shaka and its fall in the Zulu War=
of 1879 [by]
Donald R. Morris.
PUB. INFO: New York, Simon and Schuster [1965]
DESCRIPTION: 655 p. illus., maps, ports. 24 cm.
SUBJECTS: *S1 Chaka, Zulu Chief, 1787?-1828.
*S2 Cetewayo, King of Zululand, ca. 1826-1884.
*S3 Zulu War, 1879.
*S4 Zululand (South Africa)--History.

As one known as a klutz, and fairly tone-deaf and a-rhythmic to boot=
, I
certainly support the idea that dance is NOT necessarily playful,=
fun, or
spontaneous (and dreadful memories of "dancing school" I am certain=
lurk in
more ANTHRO-L memories than mine!) THAT raises the Mike Salovesh-Martin
Cohen discussion of who sang Yiddish songs with which kind of soul:=
do I--as an "insider"--have to bring to "experience" to perceive=
either of them did? What is "minimal competence" WITHIN a culture--now
that we more or less all agree that cultures are like gene
pools--statistical entities with a range of variation within them.=
musical friends have insisted that 'anyone' can do music, until they=
me. (As for dance, I always felt that it existed ONLY as an excuse=
adolescents to get close to sex objects--and had been made obsolete=
by the
relaxing of related constraints in the 60's! I have a FAINT glimmer=
of the
idea that pleasure is found in coordinated movement. Smile)

Salovesh's comments about close-order drill as other than mind-numbing
struck a couple of chords (sic) with me. One is the experience doing=
it as
a scout in a very UN-military, laid-back, troop, really for fun and=
other reason. The other, from the same era, c.1958-62, having the
widely-acclaimed high point every year of what was claimed to be=
Calif.'s major July-4th parade (Redwood City) being the navy drill=
from Treasure Island base; led by a legendary, African-American leader,=
team did all sorts of jazz-cadenced, untraditional, spectacular movements
that certainly confound any attempt to put drill & dance at opposite=
of a continuum. (In re mind-numbing, it is worth remembering that=
original purpose of Prussian goose-stepping, found as well in the=
armies of
the former USSR and GDR, was that it requires so much concentration=
to do
that the individual can't have independent thoughts.) =20

As far as the two previous paragraphs overlap, my endless political=
with my father included his contention that HE never had a military=
that he thought as he pleased. That was important to HIS self-image,=
impressed me less at the time since he did, after all, DO what they=
him to. Maybe the dance thread will un-weave ethnography itself,=
if we
sink into worrying--as we have to!--about the relationship between=
John H M Beattie, OTHER CULTURES) What People Do, What They Say They=
and What They Think They Ought To Do--and I'd add, What They Want=
to Do,
and What They Want Outsiders to Think They Do.

I'm also reminded of a story a musician friend tells, of his compulsory
ROTC service circa 1960, back when whole (male) student bodies had=
participate. Being musical, he was in the band. Before the end-of-year
review before Regular Army brass, the band arranged all their music=
in 9/8
time (or somesuch slightly-off rhythm) and practiced until they could=
to it perfectly. Come the big 'pass-in-review' the ROTC squads were
tripping all over the place attempting to march to an oh-so-subtly=
beat, while the band never got blamed because THEY were in perfect=

=46inally, there's the interplay of linguistics in all this. I'm=
competent to say much on that score, but wanted to point out to those=
are an article by a grad-school friend of mine: Alice Singer. She
finished the following article the day she was fatally injured in=
truck/bicycle accident; it was to be the opening round of a life's=
integrating Macedonian dance, language, and culture in one
transformational-grammar; she had an MFA in dance as well as her=
training and BA in anthro. "The Metrical Structure of Macedonian=
ETHNOMUSICOLOGY 18(3): 379-404, Sept. 1974. Insofar as dance is=
language, the mix of order and novelty makes for great complexity=

I'll take up "insider/outsider" ethnography & ethnic identitie(s)=
in a
separate posting.=20


Gregory A. Finnegan, PhD
Associate Librarian for Public Services
and Head of Reference
Tozzer Library
Harvard University
21 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-2089
617-495-2253 fax 617-496-2741

"For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was=
put into
words or books." MOBY-DICK, chapter 110.