Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment c. 1985.

"Felix McGlennon, like Harry Clifton before him, performed many songs that might be seen as attempts to raise the moral tone of music hall. This was particularly important in the later century, when music-hall proprietors were keen to promote the respectability of their halls. “Comrades” is not the only song to pay tribute to the loyalty of one male friend to another in the face of death, but it remains among the best known. The musical arrangement is attributed to E. Jonghmans, who produces a stirring accompaniment for the final verse in which the “savage foemen” attack. The tremolando effect (requiring a rapid shaking of the pianist’s right hand) against the striding bass line ensures a dramatic conclusion to the narrative and heightens the pathos of the final chorus. — Derek B. Scott

Related Material


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Scott, Derek B. Sounds of the Metropolis: The 19th-Century Popular Music Revolution in London, New York, Paris, and Vienna. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Created October 2009

Last modified 24 March 2017