“Taps” in a Military Funeral Honors Ceremony
Using the Ceremonial Bugle
Given a ceremonial
bugle, you will perform “Taps” as part of a military
funeral honors ceremony.
You have checked your instrument ahead of time and
prepared yourself for the ceremony.
Standards: The performance of “Taps” is a stationary function.
1. Prepare for the ceremony:
Inspect your uniform.
Check the batteries in the insert and replace if
Firmly seat the bugle insert inside the bell of the
Set the volume control based on distance from funeral
site or for an inside ceremony.
Test the bugle prior to the funeral service.
Place the insert in the off position and prepare for
Position the bugle horizontally between the left arm
and body, with the bell pointed forward and the left hand
gripping the front tubing of the bugle and assume the position
of attention. (Figure
Assume the parade rest position (Figure 3) while
waiting for the veterans remains to arrive.
Simultaneous movement occurs:
Left foot moves 10 inches to the left of the right
Right hand moves to the small of your back, centered on
Fingers and thumb extended and joined with palm facing
2. Perform the following actions:
When the remains arrive at the burial location and are
being moved from the hearse or caisson to the gravesite, come
to the position of attention and render a hand salute.
After the casket is put in place, cut your salute and
return to the position of parade rest.
On cue, when it’s time for “Taps” to be played:
Come to the position of attention. (Figure 2).
With your right hand, reach across and using your right
index finger place the insert in the “on” position.
This movement will require some practice if you are wearing
While your index finger is still inside the bell of the
bugle, and the bugle is in the “on” position, continue on
around and push the play button.
You now have five seconds to bring the bugle up to the
With your left hand, bring the bugle up to your lips
while simultaneously bringing your right hand up to grip the
top and center of the bugle.
Release your left hand and bring it down to your side.
Left arm hangs straight down without stiffness.
Keep left thumb straight along seam of trouser leg.
Left hand fingers are curled with tip of the thumb
touching first joint of index finger and with the first joint
of the fingers touching the trousers.
“Taps” is played and lasts about one minute.
While “Taps” is being played, breath normally as if
actually playing the instrument.
This will provide the veterans family with a more
realistic visual image of a live bugler.
Upon completion of “Taps”, bring your left hand up
and grip the front tubing of the bugle and return to the carry
Release your right hand and bring it down to your side
and remain in the position of attention until the ceremony is
2). There is no
need to place the bugle in the “off” position at this
time. After the
funeral detail departs the area, you may place the insert in
the “off” position and the service is complete.
Echo Taps - Silver
Army Regulation 220-90, Army Bands dated December 2007,
Paragraph 2-5h(1) states the following: "Echo Taps" or
"Silver Taps," the practice of performing "Taps" with
multiple buglers, is not authorized. "Echo Taps" is not a
part of Army tradition and improperly uses bugler assets.
Army Regulation 600-25, Salutes, Honors, and Visits of
Courtesy, dated September 2004, Glossary, Section 2 states
the following: "Taps The traditional "lights out" musical
composition played at military funerals and memorials. The
official version of "Taps" is played by a single bugle. In
accordance with AR 220–90, "Echo or Silver Taps," which is
performed by 2 buglers, is not authorized."
Field Manual 12-50, U.S. Army Bands, dated October 1999,
Appendix A, Official And Ceremonial Music, Appendix A,
Section 1 – Ceremonial Music, Paragraph A-35 "A-35. Signals
that unauthorized lights are to be extinguished. This is the
last call of the day. The call is also sounded at the
completion of a military funeral ceremony. Taps is to be
performed by a single bugler only. Performance of "Silver
Taps" or "Echo Taps" is not consistent with Army traditions,
and is an improper use of bugler assets