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Reveille played on the bugle by a member of the United States Army Band

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"Reveille" is a bugle call, trumpet call or pipes call most often associated with the military; it is chiefly used to wake military personnel at sunrise. The name comes from "réveillé" (or "réveil"), the French word for "wake up".

British Army Cavalry and Royal Horse Artillery Regiments sound a call different from the Infantry version shown below known as The Rouse but often misnamed 'Reveille', while the Scottish Regiments of the British Army sound a pipes call of the same name.[citation needed]

Commonwealth of Nations and the United States[edit | edit source]

The tune used in the Commonwealth of Nations is different from the one used in the United States, but they are used in analogous ways: to ceremonially start the day.

The U.S. version of "Reveille"

In modern times, the U.S. military plays (or sounds) "reveille" in the morning, generally near sunrise, though its exact time varies from base to base. On U.S. Army posts, the national flag is raised while reveille is played; on board U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard facilities, the flag is generally raised at 0800 (8 am) while the National Anthem or the bugle call "To the Colors" is played. On some U.S. military bases, reveille is accompanied by a cannon shot. As reveille is played (sounded), all U.S. Army personnel are required to come to attention and present a salute, either to the flag or in the direction of the music if the flag is not visible, All Air Force personnel will stand at the position of attention as it plays.[1]

In Commonwealth Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday services, "The Last Post" begins the period of silent reflection, and "Reveille" ends it. The two tunes symbolize sunset and sunrise respectively, and therefore, death and resurrection. ("Reveille" is often replaced by The Rouse, a bugle call commonly mistaken for "Reveille", although these are actually two different tunes.)

"To Reveille" or "to sound Reveille" is often used among military personnel as a term meaning "to notify personnel that it is time to wake up," whether the bugle call is actually sounded or not. Units lacking the personnel or equipment necessary to play the tune will often assign the duty to "sound Reveille" to the last watch of the night, who must ensure that others are roused at the proper time, by any appropriate means (often by actually shouting the word "reveille" until everyone is awake).

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Although there are no official lyrics to Reveille, these unofficial lyrics for the Commonwealth "Reveille" have been recently popularized:[2]

Rev-eil-lee! Rev-eil-lee is sounding

The bugle calls you from your sleep; it is the break of day.
You've got to do your duty or you will get no pay.
Come, wake yourself, rouse yourself out of your sleep
And throw off the blankets and take a good peek at all
The bright signs of day are here, so get up and do not delay.

Get Up!

Or-der-ly officer is on his round!
And if you're still a-bed he will send you to the guard
And then you'll get a drill and that will be a bitter pill:
So be up when he comes, be up when he comes,

Like a soldier at his post, a soldier at his post, all ser-ene.

The first lines of the British Cavalry Reveille were for many years rendered as:

Soldiers arise! Scrub the bloody muck out of your eyes...

While the infantry and general reveille ran:

Get out of bed, Get out of bed, You lazy bastards! (repeat) I feel sorry for you, I do!

In the Royal Navy, Reveille was usually verbalised as:

Wakey Wakey, Lash up and Stow!

To the U.S. tune:

I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up this morning;
I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up at all!
The corporal's worse than the privates,
The sergeant's worse than the corporals,
Lieutenant's worse than the sergeants,
And the captain's worst of all!
< repeat top six lines >

An alternate rendition to the U.S. tune above:

I can't get 'em up
I can't get 'em up
I can't get 'em up this morning;
I can't get 'em up
I can't get 'em up
I can't get 'em up at all!
And tho' the sun starts peeping,
And dawn has started creeping,
Those lazy bums keep sleeping,
They never hear my call!
< repeat top six lines >

Still another U.S. version goes:

You've got to get up
You've got to get up
You've got to get up this morning
You've got to get up
You've got to get up
Get up with the bugler's call
The major told the captain
The captain told the sergeant
The sergeant told the bugler
The bugler told them all
< repeat top six lines >

Irving Berlin cited the lyrics in part of his song, "Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"; from the musical, This Is the Army:

The hardest blow of all
Is to hear the bugler call--
You gotta get up
You gotta get up
You gotta get up this morning

Music[edit | edit source]

Reveille and Rouse are composed, like all bugle music, solely from the notes of the major triad, usually notated in C as: C, the tonic; E, the mediant; and G, the dominant.

Both the Commonwealth and United States "Reveilles" can be played with any combination of valves (or all open valves), because they were first played on a bugle, which lacks valves and plays only notes from the harmonic series.

Germany[edit | edit source]

Reise Reise is the wake up call on ships of the German Navy, the Deutsche Marine. It comes from the Low German word for rise. Every day on a German Navy ship starts with a wake-up call, the purren, which is started by the Locken, a whistle from the boatswain's call given 5 minutes before the main wake-up call. The wake-up call is given by a long whistle and the call: Reise, reise, aufstehen, überall zurrt Hängematten. "Rise, rise, wake up, get your hammock ready".

India[edit | edit source]

In the Indian Army, "reveille" is sounded at 06:00 (or sunrise), and the regimental colours are hoisted. As this also signals the start of the physical training parade, for practical reasons, servicemen must awake prior to the sounding of reveille.

Ireland[edit | edit source]

In the Irish Army, reveille is sounded at dawn and at military wreath-laying ceremonies, as on the National Day of Commemoration.

Sweden[edit | edit source]

In Sweden, revelj (reveille) can be played on bugle, trumpet or drum. Today, it is usually played from a recording. There is also a reveille for military band composed by Johann Heinrich Walch that is used as the reveille of the Swedish Armed Forces.

Boy Scouts of America[edit | edit source]

Within the Boy Scouts of America, it is common for reveille to be sounded as a "wake up" for a large encampment of scouts – usually a camporee, jamboree or summer camp. The music may be played over the camp's intercom, or bugled or trumpeted by the camp bugler. An individual scout unit may also sound reveille to rouse the scouts and scouters on a weekend trip, though this is less common.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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