Bands are musical ensembles that do not include the strings – ie. violin, viola,cello, double bass. There has been an enormous growth in these groups since the nineteenth century. This was a time when the wind instruments developed to have the flexibility of the strings and new instruments like the saxophone were invented. This meant there could be groups with the flexibility of the orchestra.
The Concert Band
This is the most common band seen in schools. It was originally called the military band and much of its history came from the marching bands of the military. The oldest of the British Military bands is the band of the Grenadier Guards begun in 1685 seen here in the trooping of the colours
Concert bands consist of brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. The development of the saxophone gave it a family of single reed woodwinds that could fulfill some of the functions that the violin family does in the Symphonic Orchestra. Thus as the orchestra has a preponderance of violins, the Concert Band has more clarinets than any other instrument. Its similarity to how the orchestra works has meant that it is often called the Symphonic Wind Band.
The Brass Band
They have a long history in the English speaking world as community bands and even today the many band rotundas in our older parks were built for local brass bands. As they were meant for the smaller size of the brass band, it becomes difficult to use them for the now more common concert bands which can have 60 + performers.
The Salvation Army has used brass bands since 1878 and even today many of Sydney’s top brass players began in a Salvation Army band
The Big Band
A Big Band (jazz ensemble or jazz combo) is a musical ensemble that plays jazz music usually without a conductor.
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