Guido Deiro |
by Guido Deiro
The Pietro Musicordion
Volume 6, Number 2
Of all the compositions that have been arranged or composed for the accordion, there is probably none that has outsold Sharpshooters March. It is a "must" in the repertoire of all accordionists. Furthermore, it is a composition that enjoys a popularity only among accordionists.
Since it has been so popular for so long and may be found in the catalog of every publisher of accordion music, I had been asked to tell the true story behind the introduction of this composition to the accordion playing public. There are many who have given me credit for being the composer and, although this is true in some respects, it is not entirely correct, and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify certain prevailing opinions and rumors.
One morning, in the Fall of 1907, I was playing in Metz, Germany. I heard a very catchy march melody that was being played on a hand organ. I was so impressed by the tune that I made the hand organist play it over several times. He didn't know the name of it; all he could tell me was that it was an Italian march.
At that time, I was taking lessons from the famous accordionist, Giovanni Galiardi. He took it down the best he could. We then sent it to several European music companies. They had no record of ever seeing such a number in print. I didn't become discouraged and, after a time, when I was able to arrange my own music, I arranged it from memory.
Soon after, I came to America and played the composition in cities on the West Coast. It was an exciting moment for accordion players since they had never before heard a bass solo on the accordion. The composition's popularity soared overnight but there still was no published arrangement. Since it was a military march, I titled it Bersaglieri or Sharpshooters.
While in New York on the Keith Circuit in 1910, I was requested by the Columbia Records to record for the company. I agreed to make 10 records, one of which was the Sharpshooters March. Later, I recorded it again for the Edison Recording Company. In this case as Italian Army March by DEIRO.
Upon the final publication of the composition, Sharpshooters, there was applied the secondary title of Curro Cuchares by G. Metallo. When I saw the publication I enquired why the second title had been entered and why composer's rights were given to Metallo. I was informed that there was a march similar to Sharpshooters under the name of Curro Cuchares for violin and guitar. However, when I listened to this march, I noticed quite a difference between the one I had arranged and the published copy entitled Curro Cuchares.
And so you can see I have never claimed the composition as being mine. I did, however, introduce it and make it popular with the American public. The old composition, Curro Cuchares is never played in its original form by accordionists. It is, in every case, written and published under the title of Sharpshooters March, as I arranged it, as I introduced and popularized it.
First page of Sharpshooters March from Guido Deiro's Royal Method for Piano Accordion (Mills Music, New York: 1936).
To listen to Guido Deiro play Sharpshooters March (1911 recording) go to the Sound Files page.
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