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A concert band, also called wind ensemble, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind orchestra, wind band, symphonic winds, symphony band, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind, brass, and percussion families of instruments, and occasionally including the double bass or bass guitar. On rare occasions, additional non-traditional instruments may be added to such ensembles such as piano, harp, synthesizer, or electric guitar.
Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments. What differentiates these instruments from other wind instruments is the way in which they produce their sound. All woodwinds produce sound by splitting an exhaled air stream on a sharp edge, such as a reed or a fipple. A woodwind may be made of any material, not just wood. Common examples include brass, silver, cane, as well as other metals such as gold and platinum. Occasionally woodwinds are made out of earthen materials, especially ocarinas.
A brass instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips. Brass instruments are also called labrosones, literally meaning "lip-vibrated instruments".
A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater including attached or enclosed beaters or rattles struck, scraped or rubbed by hand or struck against another similar instrument. The percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments, following the human voice.
A concert band's repertoire includes original wind compositions, transcriptions/arrangements of orchestral compositions, light music, and popular tunes. Though the instrumentation is similar, a concert band is distinguished from the marching band in that its primary function is as a concert ensemble. The standard repertoire for the concert band does, however, contain concert marches.
A wind instrument is a musical instrument that contains some type of resonator, in which a column of air is set into vibration by the player blowing into a mouthpiece set at or near the end of the resonator. The pitch of the vibration is determined by the length of the tube and by manual modifications of the effective length of the vibrating column of air. In the case of some wind instruments, sound is produced by blowing through a reed; others require buzzing into a metal mouthpiece.
Light music is a less-serious form of Western classical music, which originated in the 18th and 19th centuries and continues today. Its heyday was in the mid‑20th century. The style is through-composed, usually shorter orchestral pieces and suites designed to appeal to a wider context and audience than more sophisticated forms such as the concerto, the symphony and the opera.
A marching band is a group in which instrumental musicians perform while marching, often for entertainment or competition. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Most marching bands wear a uniform, often of a military style, that includes an associated organization's colors, name or symbol. Most high school marching bands, and some college marching bands, are accompanied by a color guard, a group of performers who add a visual interpretation to the music through the use of props, most often flags, rifles, and sabres.
During the 19th century, large ensembles of wind and percussion instruments in the British and American traditions existed mainly in the form of the military band for ceremonial and festive occasions, and the works performed consisted mostly of marches. The only time wind bands were used in a concert setting comparable to that of a symphony orchestra was when transcriptions of orchestral or operatic pieces were arranged and performed, as there were comparatively few original concert works for a large wind ensemble.
Early British popular music, in the sense of commercial music enjoyed by the people, can be seen to originate in the 16th and 17th centuries with the arrival of the broadside ballad as a result of the print revolution, which were sold cheaply and in great numbers until the 19th century. Further technological, economic and social changes led to new forms of music in the 19th century, including the brass band, which produced a popular and communal form of classical music. Similarly, the music hall sprang up to cater for the entertainment of new urban societies, adapting existing forms of music to produce popular songs and acts. In the 1930s, the influence of American Jazz led to the creation of British dance bands, who provided a social and popular music that began to dominate social occasions and the radio airwaves.
The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by West African, Irish, Scottish and mainland European cultures among others. The country's most internationally renowned genres are jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, rhythm and blues, soul, ragtime, hip hop, doo wop, pop, techno, house, folk music, disco, boogaloo, reggaeton, and salsa. American music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near-global audience.
A military band is a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music. Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching bands in the world, dating from the 13th century.
Prior to the 1950s, wind ensembles varied in the combinations of instruments included. The modern "standard" instrumentation of the wind ensemble was more or less established by Frederick Fennell at Eastman School of Music as the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952 after the model of the orchestra: a pool of players from which a composer can select in order to create different sonorities. [ citation needed ]The wind ensemble could be said to be modeled on the wind section of a "Wagner orchestra," an important difference being the addition of saxophones and baritone/euphonium. (The American Wind Symphony Orchestra, which uses neither of these, adheres more strictly to the "expanded orchestral wind section" model.) While many people consider the wind ensemble to be one player on a part, this is only practical in true chamber music. Full band pieces usually require doubling or tripling of the clarinet parts, and six trumpeters is typical in a wind ensemble. According to Fennell, the wind ensemble was not revolutionary, but developed naturally out of the music that led him to the concept.
Frederick Fennell was an internationally recognized conductor, and one of the primary figures in promoting the Eastman Wind Ensemble as a performing group. He was also influential as a band pedagogue, and greatly affected the field of music education in the USA and abroad. In Fennell's New York Times obituary, colleague Jerry F. Junkin was quoted as saying "He was arguably the most famous band conductor since John Philip Sousa."
The Eastman School of Music is the professional school of music of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. It was established in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman.
The Eastman Wind Ensemble is an American concert band founded by Frederick Fennell at the Eastman School of Music in 1952. It is often credited with helping popularize wind band music. Through the group, Fennell redefined wind ensemble to refer to a specific kind of wind band with only one player per part, and focusing on original wind music rather than orchestral transcriptions. The Eastman Wind Ensemble has premiered over 150 works, including works by composers Bernard Rands and Joseph Schwantner.
A military band is a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music. Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world, dating from the 13th century.
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.
A bandmaster is the leader and conductor of a band, usually a concert band, military band, brass band or a marching band.
Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching bands in the world. Though they are often known by the word mahtar in West Europe, that word, properly speaking, refers only to a single musician in the band. In Ottoman, the band was generally known as mehterân, though those bands used in the retinue of a vizier or prince were generally known as mehterhane (مهترخانه, meaning roughly, "a gathering of mehters", the band as a whole is often termed mehter bölüğü, mehter takımı. In West Europe, the band's music is also often called Janissary music because the janissaries formed the core of the bands.
The military band should be capable of playing ceremonial and marching music, including the national anthems and patriotic songs of not only their own nation but others as well, both while stationary and as a marching band. Military bands also play a part in military funeral ceremonies.
A national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people. The majority of national anthems are marches or hymns in style. The countries of Latin America, Central Asia, and Europe tend towards more ornate and operatic pieces, while those in the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, and the Caribbean use a more simplistic fanfare. Some countries that are devolved into multiple constituent states have their own official musical compositions for them ; their constituencies' songs are sometimes referred to as national anthems even though they are not sovereign states.
A funeral is a ceremony connected with the final disposition of a corpse, such as a burial or cremation, with the attendant observances. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember and respect the dead, from interment, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor. Customs vary between cultures and religious groups. Common secular motivations for funerals include mourning the deceased, celebrating their life, and offering support and sympathy to the bereaved; additionally, funerals may have religious aspects that are intended to help the soul of the deceased reach the afterlife, resurrection or reincarnation.
There are two types of historical traditions in military bands. The first is military field music. This type of music includes bugles (or other natural instruments such as natural trumpets or natural horns), bagpipes, or fifes and almost always drums (see military drums). This type of music was used to control troops on the battlefield as well as for entertainment. Following the development of instruments such as the keyed trumpet or the saxhorn family of brass instruments, a second tradition of the brass and woodwind military band was formed.
Professional concert bands not associated with the military appear across the globe, particularly in developed countries. However, most do not offer full-time positions. The competition to make it into one of these concert bands is incredibly high and the ratio of performers to entrants is narrowly small.[ citation needed ] Examples of professional non-military concert bands include:
A community band is a concert band or brass band ensemble composed of volunteer (non-paid) amateur musicians in a particular geographic area. It may be sponsored by the local (municipal) government or self-supporting. These groups rehearse regularly and perform at least once a year. Some bands are also marching bands, participating in parades and other outdoor events. Although they are volunteer musical organizations, community bands may employ an Artistic Director (conductor) or various operational staff.
Notable community bands include:
A school band is a group of student musicians who rehearse and perform instrumental music together. A school band is usually under the direction of one or more conductors (band directors). A school band consists of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and percussion instruments, although upper level bands may also have string basses or bass guitar.[ citation needed ]
In many traditional U.S. high schools, there are multiple band levels, distinguished by skill level or other factors. In such schools, an audition may be required to advance to further band levels, while the common level would be open to anyone. For example, in many U.S. high schools, Concert Band refers to the introductory level band. Symphonic Band is the title for the intermediate level band, and Wind Ensemble is the title for the advanced level band.
Instrumentation for the wind band is not completely standardized; composers will frequently add or omit parts. Instruments and parts in parentheses are less common but still often used; due to the fact that some bands are missing these instruments, important lines for these instruments are often cued into other parts.
Instrumentation differs depending on the type of ensemble. Middle school and high school bands frequently have more limited instrumentation and fewer parts (for example, no double reeds, or only two horn parts instead of four). This is both to limit the difficulty for inexperienced players and because schools frequently do not have access to the less common instruments.
The standard concert band will have several players on each part depending on available personnel and the preference of the conductor. A concert band can theoretically have as many as 200 members from a set of only 35 parts. The wind ensemble, on the other hand, will have very little doubling, if any; commonly, clarinets or flutes may be doubled, especially to handle any divisi passages, and others will have one player per part, as dictated by the requirements of a specific composition. Also, it is common to see two tubas playing the same part in a wind ensemble. Some people have observed that this distinction is antiquated and the terms "concert band," "wind ensemble," "wind symphony" and the like are now more or less interchangeable.
Complicated percussion parts are common in concert band pieces, often requiring many percussionists. Many believe this is a major difference between the orchestra (which usually lacks a large battery of percussion) and the concert band. While in older transcriptions and concert works, the timpani were treated as its own section as in the orchestra, today, in bands, the timpani are considered part of the percussion section. Consequently, the timpani player often will double on other percussion instruments.
Contemporary compositions often call on players to use unusual instruments or effects. For example, several pieces call on the use of a siren while others will ask players to play recorders, whirly tubes, or to sing, hum, snap, clap or even crinkle sheets of paper. The wind band's diverse instrumentation and large number of players makes it a very flexible ensemble, capable of producing a variety of sonic effects.
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Until early in the 20th century, there was little music written specifically for the wind band, which led to an extensive repertoire of pieces transcribed from orchestral works, or arranged from other sources. However, as the wind band moved out of the sole domain of the military marching ensemble and into the concert hall, it has gained favor with composers, and now many works are being written specifically for the concert band and the wind ensemble. While today there are composers who write exclusively for band, it is worth noting that many composers famous for their work in other genres have given their talents to composition for wind bands as well. This is especially true in Japan, where an enormous market can be found for wind band compositions, which is largely due to commissions by the All-Japan Band Association and leading professional ensembles such as the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band, as well as the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma Commissioning Program, the longest-running commissioning series for wind band in the United States.
Some of the most important names in establishing literature written specifically for concert band in the early and middle 20th century were:
Over the last fifty years, many composers have written major new works for wind ensemble. Some of these composers have risen to the forefront as being particularly important in the concert band's development. Among these include:
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Throughout much of their history, wind bands have been promoted through regional and national music competitions and festivals. Other large competitions include the World Music Competition, held in the Netherlands; and the Southeast Asia Concert Band Festival, held in Hong Kong.
Some notable band associations include:
The euphonium is a medium-sized, 4-valve, compensating, conical-bore, tenor-voiced brass instrument that derives its name from the Ancient Greek word εὔφωνος euphōnos, meaning "well-sounding" or "sweet-voiced". The euphonium is a valved instrument. Nearly all current models have piston valves, though some models with rotary valves do exist.
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass, brass instruments such as the horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba, woodwinds such as the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, and percussion instruments such as the timpani, bass drum, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, and mallet percussion instruments each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.
A transposing instrument is a musical instrument whose music is recorded in staff notation at a pitch different from the pitch that actually sounds. A written middle C on a transposing instrument produces a pitch other than middle C, and that pitch identifies the interval of transposition when describing the instrument. For example, a written C on a B♭ clarinet sounds a concert B♭.
David Sartor is an American composer and conductor of symphonic, chamber, and choral music. He is adjunct professor of music at Middle Tennessee State University, adjunct professor of music at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, and music director of the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra.
The First Suite in E♭ for Military Band, Op. 28, No. 1, by the British composer Gustav Holst is considered one of the cornerstone masterworks in the concert band repertoire. Officially premiered in 1920 at the Royal Military School of Music, the manuscript was originally completed in 1909. Along with the subsequent Second Suite in F for Military Band, written in 1911 and premiered in 1922, the First Suite convinced many other prominent composers that serious music could be written specifically for band.
Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, abbreviated in English as the Treatise on Instrumentation is a technical study of Western musical instruments written by Hector Berlioz. It was first published in 1844 after being serialised in many parts prior to this date and had a chapter added by Berlioz on conducting in 1855.
The brass section of the orchestra, concert band, and jazz ensemble consist of brass instruments, and is one of the main sections in all three ensembles. The British-style brass band contains only brass and percussion instruments.
Symphony in B-flat for Band was written by the German composer Paul Hindemith in 1951. It was premiered on April 5 of that year by the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" with the composer conducting.
UFO for solo percussion and orchestra (1999) and for solo percussion and symphonic band (2000) by American composer Michael Daugherty, is a composition written for percussionist Evelyn Glennie.
Anthony Plog is an American conductor, composer and trumpet player.
An offstage instrument or choir part in classical music is a sound effect used in orchestral and opera which is created by having one or more instrumentalists from a symphony orchestra or opera orchestra play a note, melody, or rhythm from behind the stage, or having a choir of singers sing a melody from behind the stage.
Gary Kulesha is a Canadian composer, pianist, conductor, and educator. Since 1995, he has been Composer Advisor to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has been Composer-in-Residence with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (1988–1992) and the Canadian Opera Company (1993–1995). He was awarded the National Arts Centre Orchestra Composer Award in 2002. He currently teaches on the music faculty at the University of Toronto.
Arthur Eckersley Butterworth, was an English composer, conductor, trumpeter and teacher.
Nigel Clarke is a British composer and musician. He is a former head of composition and contemporary music at the London College of Music and Media.
A Fanfare Orchestra is a type of brass band consisting of the entire saxhorn family, trumpets, trombones, euphoniums, flugelhorns and alto- and F-horns, as well as percussion. They are seldom seen outside of Europe, with a high concentration of these bands in Belgium and the Netherlands, many of them civil bands with a few Dutch bands also serving the Armed forces of the Netherlands and its veterans.
Marcel Wengler is a Luxembourg composer and conductor. From 1972–1997, he headed the Conservatoire de Luxembourg. Since 2000, he has been director of the Luxembourg Music Information Centre. His compositions include symphonies, concertos, chamber music and musicals.
Charles Rochester Young (1965) is an American composer, music educator, conductor and saxophonist.
The woodwind section, which consists of woodwind instruments, is one of the main sections of an orchestra or concert band. Woodwind sections contain instruments given Hornbostel-Sachs classifications of 421 and 422, but exclude 423.
Rusty Air in Carolina is a symphonic poem for electronica and orchestra by the American composer Mason Bates. The work was commissioned by conductor Robert Moody, a longtime friend and collaborator of Bates. It was premiered in 2006 by Robert Moody and the Winston-Salem Symphony. The piece was composed as a homage to the culture and climate of the Carolinas.
Jérôme Naulais is a French trombonist and composer.
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