Definitions

band

band

[band]
band, in music, a group of musicians playing principally on wind and percussion instruments, usually outdoors. Prior to the 18th cent., the term band was frequently applied in a generic sense to cover the combinations of instruments employed by kings and nobles. The term is also used for an ensemble of any one type of instrument, as brass band, wind band, marimba band. As town bands once provided music for social dancing, so do modern jazz and rock bands of numerous descriptions (see jazz, rock music).

Modern bands usually include the piccolo, flute, clarinet, oboe, English horn, bassoon, saxophone, cornet, trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba, flügelhorn, euphonium, and various percussion instruments. Concert bands may add the cello, bass viol, and harp. The band repertory has traditionally included flourishes, marches, and music transcribed from other mediums.

Early Bands

Groupings of loud instruments characterized Saracen military bands participating in the Crusades. About 1300, similar groups, often including the shawm (a type of oboe), trumpet, and drum, appeared in the courts and towns of Europe. Town bands were manned by members of the watch and were integral to both the civic and social life of the community. These musicians participated in processions, dances, weddings, and feasts and provided incidental music for dramatic representations. During the 16th cent. the practice of playing instruments of the same family in consort (as in a shawm band) became popular, and new families of wind instruments added variety.

Evolution of Military and Concert Bands

As the town band began to decline at the end of the 17th cent., its official duties gradually shifted to the military band. A vestige of the extravagant, almost ritualistic affectations of the instrumentalists has survived in the routines of present-day drum majors and majorettes. For several centuries the general composition of the military band remained static, the fife and drum being associated with the infantry and the trumpet and kettledrum with the cavalry. France introduced the oboe in the latter half of the 17th cent., and a gradual merger with the full wind contingent of the town band ensued.

Important developments in instrument-making affected the composition of bands in the 19th cent. A Prussian bandmaster, Wilhelm Wieprecht (1802-72), introduced (c.1830) valve trumpets and horns into the military band. The saxhorns and saxophones of Adolphe Sax were incorporated into French military bands at midcentury. The sarrusophone was added in the 1860s, thus completing the instrumental ensemble that in most respects is known today.

Two outstanding European bands are the British Royal Artillery Band (founded 1762) and the band of the French Garde Républicaine, playing under that name since 1872. The U.S. Marine Band, founded in 1798, was the first important band in the United States and remains outstanding. The first U.S. band devoted exclusively to the presentation of public concerts was that of P. S. Gilmore, founded in 1859. His successor as America's leading bandmaster was John Philip Sousa (1854-1932). In 1911, Edwin Franko Goldman organized the Goldman Band, which continues to give outdoor concerts in New York City in the summer.

Bibliography

See R. F. Goldman, The Band's Music (1938) and The Concert Band (1946).

In chemistry and physics, a theoretical model describing the states of electrons in solid materials, which can have energy values only within certain specific ranges, called bands. Ranges of energy between two allowed bands are called forbidden bands. As electrons in an atom move from one energy level to another, so can electrons in a solid move from an energy level in one band to another in the same band or in another band. The band theory accounts for many of the electrical and thermal properties of solids and forms the basis of the technology of devices such as semiconductors, heating elements, and capacitors (see capacitance).

Learn more about band theory with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Musical ensemble that generally excludes stringed instruments. Ensembles of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments originated in 15th-century Germany, taking on a particularly military role; these spread to France, Britain, and eventually the New World. In the 15th–18th centuries, many European towns had town musicians, or waits, who performed especially for ceremonial occasions in wind bands often consisting primarily of shawms and sackbuts (trombones). In the 18th–19th centuries, the English amateur brass band, largely consisting of the many newly developed brass instruments, took on the important nonmilitary function of representing organizations of all kinds. In the U.S., Patrick Gilmore's virtuoso band became famous in the mid-19th century; his greatest successor, John Philip Sousa, bequeathed a repertory of marches that has remained very popular. The “big band,” under leaders such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, was central to American popular music in the 1930s and '40s. In the rock band, unlike most other bands, stringed instruments (electric guitars and electric bass) are paramount.

Learn more about band with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Band may refer to a specific group:

Band can refer to a thin strip of material in a loop:

In metals and semiconductors, band can refer to:

Band can also refer to:

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