Tattoo (bugle call)

Tattoo is a bugle call played in the evening in the British Army and the United States Army.

The original concept of this call was played on the snare drum and was known as "tap-too," with the same rule applying. Later on, the name was applied to more elaborate military performances, known as military tattoos. The etymology of the military tattoo is from Dutch "tap toe", unrelated to the Tahitian origin of an ink tattoo.[1]

United States Army

In the United States Army, the tattoo signals that all light in squad rooms be extinguished and that all loud talking and other disturbances be discontinued within 15 minutes, at which time Taps should follow.[2] At 28 bars long Tattoo is recognized as the longest bugle call in the repertoire of the United States Army.

British Army

The tattoo in the British Army is used to recall soldiers to their barracks. The call lasts twenty minutes, begins with First Post, and ends with "Last Post".[3]


  1. Julia Cresswell Little Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins 2014 0199683638- Page 106 tattoo. Tattoos on the skin came into English in the 18th century from the Polynesian languages of the Pacific Islands—Captain Cook's journals are the first to record the word. The military tattoo sounded by drum or bugle to recall soldiers to their quarters in the evening was originally written tap-too. It comes from Dutch doe den tap toe, literally 'close the tap'. The tap was on a cask, closing it signalled time for drinking was over and soldiers should go home.
  2. "U.S Army Bands Music". Retrieved 2012-06-09.
  3. Deane L. Root (ed.). "Tattoo". Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)

See also

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.