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I'm not sure about the reference to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Shouldn't that go under TAPS? I say that because Wikipedia article names are case-sensitive, so the acronym FOOBAR is a different page than Foobar -- if you're looking for the acronym version, you're going to look under FOOBAR. --bdesham 14:15 25 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Well done[edit]

Well done! -- Cimon Avaro on a pogo stick

Er... what?


The link to the Taps MP should probably be corrected to a live download - the one currently linked is no longer valid. If necessary, I can host an MP3 of a USMC Band trumpet solo, but I'm not sure it's free domain. Taliesyn 02:41, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

It'd be fair use, but could anyone get an Ogg Vorbis recording of Taps for the Commons? – (User:SheeEttin) 01:01, 12 August 2006 (UTC)


I changed the line; "no serious researcher doubts that Butterfield is responsible for the current tune."


"few researchers doubt that Butterfield is responsible for the current tune."

Because there probably ARE researchers who doubt this, and they are no doubt very serious.

Isn't the music wrong there?[edit]

Shouldn't all of the double eighth notes be dotted-eight-note-sixteenth-note? —Captain538[talk] 13:57, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

The music is fine.[edit]

I checked it; all the measures add up to 4|4.

It's fine.

    • There is a mistake in the sheet music for Taps displayed as the lead image on this page. The 2 eighth notes leading up to the "G" on top of the staff in the 4th measure should be a dotted eighth note and a sixteenth note per the audio wav file of Taps on the official website for Arlington National Cemetery [[1]]

Just click on the photo of the bugler on this page to listen to the wav file of Taps. This information is also verified here ... Image of Taps sheet music (talk) 22:47, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Taps at deployed locations[edit]

If I recall FM 3 - 22.5 states that Taps is not played as a "lights out" at deployed locations. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

There is no "right or wrong" to this question. The US Army adopted Taps as "lights out" in 1874. Each of the other services makes use of Taps in their own way. Each command has the right to not use it if the situation warrants. In such cases, a more quiet lights out is observed.MR2David (talk) 07:39, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Playing at un-deployed units[edit]

I don't know about other services, but contrary to the article, in the Marine Corps, one is supposed to keep doing whatever it is they were doing as the song plays. You are not supposed to stop or salute, that is saved for morning and evening colors

Ditto in the Air Force. At Basic Military Training, we were told explicitly that it is not to be recognized with salutes, attention, or parade rest, though many stand at attention of their own volition. The salute may be for funerals. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


"Taps concludes nearly 15 military funerals conducted with honors each weekday at Arlington National Cemetery ..."

What is that supposed to mean? It seems nonsensical to refer to the number of funerals it is used in "each weekday" (which I take to mean daily) and even more so to say "nearly 15" - well, is it 14, 13, 12? How many funerals are there each day at Arlington?

Therefore I will change this to

"Taps conclude many military funerals conducted with honors at Arlington National Cemetery ...".

If the portion is accordingly, this can be changed to "most".

Str1977 (talk) 15:47, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Kennedy Taps[edit]

An imperfect rendition of taps was played at the Kennedy funeral; it's deeply engrained in the collective conscious. Some sources are here: 07:48, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm trying to think how to add mention of that to the article without making it seem tacked-on. Perhaps something like "Famous renditions" or having it be a subsection--albeit a true one--under "legends". Suggestions welcome. --TexasDex 01:02, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I posted to the article, about the "clinker" the bugler hit. Here on the talk page there seems to be documentation aplenty, although the editor on the article page added the "citation needed" notation after my posting. (Also, I know the mention of my brother's comment was edited out; ironically, he is now a veteran, and a brass-wind instrument player, and has played in veterans' bands.) Dougie monty (talk) 18:41, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

The first sentence[edit]

I find the current version of the first sentence somewhat awkward. Here it is:

Taps ("Butterfield's Lullaby"), sometimes known by the lyrics of its second verse, "Day is Done," is a famous musical piece, played in the U.S. military during flag ceremonies and funerals, generally on bugle or trumpet.

It gives so much emphasis to alternate names for Taps that it's difficult to see the sense of the whole sentence. Surely this first sentence should just say what it is and not spend its first half on what else it's called. And these alternate names are SO much less important than "Taps" that it seems odd that they are allowed to imbalance the sentence so. I never heard a trumpet player mentioning that they'd done Butterfield's Lullaby or Day is Done but I have heard them mention Taps a million times. Sure these folk-names should be included (assuming they are real, something I am not qualified to judge), but with less prominence and with less of a destabilizing effect in that first sentence. I am going to try a reword, please discuss. Thanks. 09:11, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Lights out[edit]

I also removed from the first para a duplicate of the information about it being used for Lights Out. This is mentioned perfectly clearly lower down, and I do not think it was needed here also. Thanks. 09:14, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

The following line appears in the article:

    • Taps is also sounded nightly in military installations at non-deployed locations to indicate that it is "lights out."

I beg to differ with the "non-deployed" reference. When aboard ship, at sea, in port, at anchor and/or overseas. A Marine and/or the Marine unit is considered to be deployed in these situations. Taps is sounded aboard ship, at sea, in port, and overseas.

Also the reference to the French "lights out" links to an article about military tattoos, not the French bugle call. (sentence in article is: "Taps also replaced "Tattoo", the French bugle call to signal "lights out."") —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Sounding vs. Playing[edit]

I was under the impression that Taps is not played, but instead the correct terminology is "sounded." Midway down this page [2], there is an article.

Taps 'Sounded,' Not Played

Many times as the years pass, one generation may fail to watch over the succeeding one in terms of passing on customs and lore.

Perhaps this is the case of a constructive correction needed in the February 2004 issue of NATIONAL GUARD. On page two [STARTING POINT] is a photo of a West Virginia Air Guardsman preparing to "play" Taps at a funeral.

Please be reminded that bugle calls are not tunes or songs or the like. Calls are not "played." They are "sounded." The Guardsman shown is in reality preparing to sound Taps."

-Retired Col. Robert T. Fischer Indiana Army National Guard

I'm not sure, if in bugling, that sounding and playing can be used interchangeably, as the article suggests. S♦s♦e♦b♦a♦l♦l♦o♦s (Talk to Me) 02:45, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

  • I agree with you wholeheartedly; Taps, reveille, Colors, etc are all 'sounded', not 'played'.
  • Additionally, these are not 'songs'. They are known in the US Marine Corps as 'music', or more appropriately, 'field music'.

Magnet For Knowledge (talk) 05:23, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Name of Tune[edit]

Why "Taps"? Is it named after something/someone? Is it an acronym? Does it refer to tapping of rhythm or something? I didn't see an answer to this, and I wonder if anyone knows. --Replysixty (talk) 19:53, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

The lack on an etymology is a gap in the article, luckily the answer is at Military tattoo - which explains that it comes from the Dutch "doe den tap toe", which means "close the taps" (of the beer barrels). It's an order to the pubkeepers to close for the night and send the soldiers back to their barracks. Roger (talk) 08:17, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

The John Wayne version of the lyrics.[edit]

The line should be, "Trumpet calls as the sun sinks in flight." "...sinks in fright." is not correct. However, I can't prove it. I just know it. Youtube link here.--Traumatic (talk) 17:48, 11 September 2010 (UTC)


Do we really need the harmonica bit? We may have discussed this years ago but I can't see where ... is there a ref or something? Is this a common usage?? cheers DBaK (talk) 17:26, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm. Well the harmonica was added 05:58, 13 March 2008 by an anon IP editor whose sole contribution this was. They did not use an edit summary. In an astonishing display of boldness I am going to remove it. If you'd like it back in I will look forward to the debate, and to seeing the reliable sources. Otherwise, whilst I don't doubt that it's true, there are loads of instruments which can play G-C-E-G but I hope we don't feel the need to list them all here. I'd be happier having this here if there were some real evidence that it is relevant. Best wishes, DBaK (talk) 17:36, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Global or US only?[edit]

Article states: "It became a standard component to military funerals in 1891". I've changed this to "It became a standard component to U.S. military funerals in 1891" as I believe this is only true of the USA and not in all countries in the world. Please change back if it's globably true and not limited to this one country. Many thanks. -- (talk) 17:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

My understanding (for what little it is worth) had always been that it is a uniquely US tune, and that, therefore, your edit is helpful. I'd be very interested, though, if anyone comes up with a different story. Best wishes DBaK (talk) 20:13, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Aus and UK sound "Last Post" at military funerals and at remembrance ceremonies. "This custom dates from at least the 17th century", so the decision to use Taps for the same purpose obviously had precident. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:29, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

A few suggestions[edit]

I have a few suggestions for improvements to this article, which I plan to start working on. I am going to start adding some things here to work on but if anyone has comments or suggestionsn please feel free to add them or make the improvements.

  1. Create a section for Echo taps and Silver taps but make sure its explained that these are not done using military personnel. IMO, this article is about the song TAPS, not specifically the military use of it. I think its important to discuss this in the article
  2. The lede should summerize the article but it currently just has more content
  3. Cleanup the article, its extremely poor
  4. Expand
  5. Add some more images,
  6. Nees some more references
  7. Is there rules for Deployments/undeployments. (talk) 16:12, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Because the melody spans a modest range, it is ideally suited to instruments that have a limited pitch range, such as the Native American Flute.[edit]

So what? I bet the various aboriginal North American flute-like instruments are capable of playing all of the bugle call, both US and UK/Canadian useage. However, flutes are fingerhole instruments and are diatonic and even chromatic: they are not based on lip buzzing and ONLY the overtones of a harmonic series. "Taps" is idiomatic to brass instruments because of the harmonic series and the gaps in the melody. So why not say it is ideally suited to playing on a *tuba* without using the valves. It is a bugle call. It is quite suitable for a trumpet without the valve being put to use. And that is a sensible alternate instrument if a bugle is not available. But it could be played on a Highland Bagpipe, too. But pipers have other tunes used for "lights out" in the various military situations that call for melodic signals. You could play it on a piano. You could play it on a Harmonica. You could play it on lots of instruments. Get rid of the "Native American Flute" thing. Besides which: anyone born in the continent is NATIVE. This term "Native American" applies George W Bush. He was born in North America. Barry Obama was born in Hawaii, so he isn't native to America. Clinton is a Native American just as much as any Tuscarora or Navajo or Mohawk or Iriquois. All born in North America: NATIVE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

While I can't say I agree completely with your way of expressing it, I do feel that the core content of this comment is spot-on: thank you very much for pointing out the illogicality. I have boldly removed the line and would be happy to discuss it here if anyone feels that in so doing I have fatally compromised the encyclopaedic purity of the article. :) Thanks and best wishes DBaK (talk) 07:58, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Just to continue this, having looked a bit more I feel that the original contributor has a clear may have a WP:COI as he is adding content that refers to his own work. Here's another one where again we learn that "Because the melody spans a modest range, it is ideally suited to instruments that have a limited pitch range". At the risk of upsetting the author, I have removed that one too. Best wishes DBaK (talk) 08:11, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

"Ceremonial Bugle"[edit]

Would it be appropriate to include information on this page about the "Ceremonial Bugle", an electronic bugle insert which can play a recording of Taps? It seems to be in common use now for military funerals., — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes! This is a great idea, thank you. We should cover the whole thing - the US entitlement for veterans, the problems with availability of live buglers (deaths of WWII vets), the use of CD players then the pretend bugles (and the outrage over this), the rise of BAA, the Getzen Field Trumpet. This would be a great addition to the article. If no-one else does, I will try and draft up something, but otherwise please feel free. Brilliant point, thanks very much. DBaK (talk) 23:32, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Find out what?[edit]

"At Texas A&M, Echo Taps is held on the Quadrangle (the 12-dorm complex that is used mainly by the Corps) at 10:00 p.m. the night they find out."

There are two possibilities here:

  1. "Find out" is a military term that the rest of the world doesn't know and the article is lacking because it isn't explained or linked.
  2. The person that wrote it is on crack and doesn't know how English works.

Anyone know which it is?

"... the night they find out." has been corrected. The sentence should read, "At Texas A&M, Echo Taps is held on the Quadrangle (the 12-dorm complex that is used mainly by the Corps) at 10:00 p.m. the night they are informed that one of their alumni has passed." "Find out" means when they are informed. MR2David (talk) 07:22, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Historical Information[edit]

The tune that we know as taps was unknown until the Battle of Gettysburg. Until then the Army didn't have a standard bugle call for lights out. The one most often used was an old French call known as a "tattoo". The term "Taps" came from a Dutch term for "taptoe" which was used to signify closing the beer taps at the end of the day and sending the troops back to camp from leave. In July, 1863, tattoo was re-written by the commander of the Union Army at Gettysburg, Maj Gen Daniel Butterfield, because he wanted to have a standardized call for day's end. His men called it "Drum Taps", "The Taps", or simply "Taps". The call was adopted by both the Northern and the Southern Armies for the duration of the war. [Source: Historical archive at the Gettysburg National Battlefield Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.]

The Army officially adopted taps in 1874, and it became standard for campfires and funerals in 1891.

Taps didn't have words until many years after it was written. The most official version of lyrics in use today, the first two verses, was published by Horace Lorenzo Trim. There have been several additional verses written by civilians and soldiers throughout the Army for a variety of purposes. John Wayne, Josef Pasternak, John Tidball, and Robert Ellicombe all get credit for writing verses. Ellicombe used it for the funeral of his son, said to be a confederate soldier.MR2David (talk) 07:35, 8 December 2014 (UTC)


I think that the Lyrics section is getting unwieldy. A new set attributed to Anne McAffrey has just been added. I am not an expert on Taps but I feel that what is probably required is just ONE set of lyrics that are regarded as the most commonly-used, and with a good reference for this. All the others could be removed and replaced with a note that variants exist. Certainly, if we go the other way and add every set across which we stumble, the article is not going to improve. But that's just my inexpert opinion - what do you think? Best wishes to all, DBaK (talk) 09:29, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

I just rather dramatically trimmed it back to all except the first. I don't really think it needs trimming THAT drastically but I really would appreciate some discussion here followed by others editing it to what they think is correct, and/or commenting on my point above. Thanks and best wishes DBaK (talk) 10:30, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
PS Sources - is it Jari Villanueva wrote that lovely book about it (or if not, who)? Might it help? I think I have a copy. Anyone else, any other source?? DBaK (talk) 13:17, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

The "lyrics" should fall under the Legends area until we can find sources. Bugle calls usually don't have official lyrics. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4F1:5420:B593:8A02:4E49:C9AE (talk) 00:17, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Texas A&M paragraphs seem confusing[edit]

The two paragraphs about the Texas A&M tradition(s) confuse me. Are there 2 traditions--Silver Taps and Echo Taps? I think there's overlap in the two paragraphs. I hesitate to change because I'm unfamiliar with the traditions. Also, the meaning of "Aggies" isn't explained. Kekki1978 (talk) 08:14, 7 July 2015 (UTC)