Taps (3)

The words to Taps are:

Day is done.

Gone the sun.

From the lakes

From the hills.

From the sky.

All is well.

Safely rest.

God is nigh.


Fading light.

Dims the sight.

And a star.

Gems the sky.

Gleaming bright.

From afar.

Drawing nigh.

Falls the night.


Thanks and praise.

For our days.

Neath the sun

Neath the stars.

Neath the sky

As we go.

This we know.

God is nigh.


Taps, like the other bugle calls, only uses the three notes of the major triad based on the tonic (e.g., in the key of C, the tonic triad is C E G). Those tones are the natural tones of the bugle, and the calls are restricted to the octave from the fifth below the tonic to the fifth above.

I don’t recall Taps or other bugle calls ever being used on the battlefields of Vietnam. They would have alerted the enemy to our presence and activities. But I encountered it at military installations in the U.S. and heard it at military funerals and burials. It still moves me deeply. It calls attention to those who have given up their lives in defense of our country. For that reason alone, the tune deserves our respect.

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