Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Monday, April 23, 2012

More sheet music for St. James Infirmary: drums, banjo, piano, trumpet

By a very long margin, the most popular posts on this site are the ones that offer the sheet music for "St. James Infirmary." From what I can tell, these visits are increasing in frequency; perhaps this reflects a corresponding increase of interest in this song?

The first music I posted from the orchestral arrangement was the piano score. The only other sheet music for "St. James Infirmary" that I have so far posted, the trumpet music, is the second most popular item.

I doubt many of the people who visit this site to download the music stay to contemplate the history of the song - which, of course, is what this blog is all about. But that's okay. Since this is the first orchestral score that was published for SJI, just by looking at the sheet music you are gazing into the past, into the early days of the song's commercial popularity.

The sheet music I have posted comes from an orchestral score published in 1929 by Gotham Music Service, Inc., a branch of Mills Music. After all the arguments have been exhausted, Mills Music was primarily responsible for popularizing this song and ensuring its survival. The arrangement of the score is attributed to the legendary banjoist Fred Van Eps (1878 - 1960).

Aside from the piano music and the trumpet music, I have scanned (but not yet posted) the sheets for bass, drums, banjo, saxophone, trombone, and violin. So, for all those who are looking for the sheet music I have already posted, you can click to find the piano sheet music or the trumpet sheet music.

I shall post other music sheets later. To start, here is the banjo music sheet:



And here is the drum music from that 1929 score (clicking on the sheets should give you a larger version):