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Military bands and marches


dr.beef
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Hi,

I am a new member and I am looking for information about the military bands of WW1 and the marches they played.

I can find plenty of information regarding classical music influenced by the war on this forum, but I am struggling to find out about marching/military bands.

Does anyone know of the line up/instrumentation of the bands and the names of some of the marches they may have played?

Was the influence of Philip Sousa creeping into the music?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I have been commissioned to write music for a play and I want it be accurate in style and instrumentation of this era.

Bruce

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sound-Trumpets-Beat-Drums-Military/dp/1898594724/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380897691&sr=1-9&keywords=military+music

That's available from a fiver. Lot's of info from regimental museum websites as well.

Good luck

Keith

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A good starting point would be regimental marches, many of which will not have changed.

Good hunting!

Peter B

Edited at 1605: Kenneth J Alford was a popular writer of military music and a serving officer. Youshould be able to google him.

Edited by old sparky
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Alford is available on Spotify, I am sure there are many other sources. The band of the PWRR have recently made a DVD of regimental marches which includes The Buffs and Royal West Kents, and others I am sure, which were in use during WW1.

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RE - Wings

I am facing Chatham and genuflecting at this very moment!

Hurrah for the CRE!

Best regards

Peter B

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Regular Military bands followed the same instrumental format as today. TF and Service Battalions bands often followed the all brass format of Brass Bands of today, as many of their players came from local Brass Bands, or a 'happy' mix of the two.

Some photos of the era here, follow the vintage photo link:

http://www.ibew.co.uk/

Dave

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Most military music of the Great War era and before was based on tunes which had not been specially written as marches. Often it was old English folk tunes or popular pieces from light opera (or even Music Hall) which had been scored into a 4/4 tempo variation. "Young May Moon" "The Days We Went a Gipsying" "With Jockey to the Fair" "Trelawney/One and All" "I'm Ninety-Five" "British Grenadiers" "Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill" all spring immediately to mind, along with so many others. Why the Manchester Regiment chose a lilting Neapolitan melody for their march, I know not, but it was one of my favourite tunes.

Sometimes slightly more serious music was adapted, "Milanollo" Lutzow's Wild Hunt" "Litany of Loretto" are examples. The West Yorks pinched "Ca Ira" (a French revolutionary song) for their regimental march at the end of the 18th century when the colonel of the old 14th thought it was too damn good for the frogs.

And so it goes . . . .

Sousa has never had too much influence on British Army music. His stuff needs different instrumentation than is common in British bands.

The likes of Alford started banging out lots of marches from about the time of the Great War which have become the archetypal sort of British military music but they took a bit of time to become well known favourites.

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Regular Military bands followed the same instrumental format as today. TF and Service Battalions bands often followed the all brass format of Brass Bands of today, as many of their players came from local Brass Bands, or a 'happy' mix of the two.

Some photos of the era here, follow the vintage photo link:

http://www.ibew.co.uk/

Dave

Great link, thanks for the info Dave.

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There are some regimental marches played by the National Military band on old 78's on the Columbia label being played on Youtube by a nice old chap with a gramophone who uses the name 'Colonel'. Worth a listen to and I think most of the old regimental marches come up after watching and listening to each clip. Posted them here

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=96891&hl=music#entry1785740

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RMSM Kneller Hall did a nice LP "Marches of the Vanishing Regiments" when Colonel Jaeger was Commandant late 60s. I've never been able to find a more up to date format. Jiggs Jaeger was a lovely smiling little fatty who was DoM Irish Guards for over 20 years, and he is the DoM/conductor you see in the film version of "Oh WALW"

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Google discurio they have a good range of military CD's both British and overseas.

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Spare a thought for some of the more exotic bands of WW1

post-9885-0-96840000-1380995433_thumb.jp

not to mention some of the fiendish German band weapons

post-9885-0-33616500-1380995481_thumb.jp

and a rather dejected French one

post-9885-0-68924100-1380995547_thumb.jp

And let us regret some of the instruments of the past that have vanished - where oh where is the jingling johnny?

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Don't despair - the Jingling Johnny lives. The Schellenbaum continued to be used in all German military bands, both Bundeswehr and Volksarmee. The unified Bundeswehr continues to do so. The provenance, I believe, starts with a Turkish idea, dangling bells from a stylised Islamic crescent. The idea spread into the Germanic sphere at the time of the Ottoman attempts to capture Vienna.

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Came across something interesting (well I found it interesting) recently concerning the history of some regimental marches in 'Short History of the East Yorkshire Regiment' published in 1913 by Gale and Polden to raise money for the Regimental Association.

"The March of the XV Regiment"

In February 1907, the Commandant, Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, forwarded to the 1st Battalion a march, called "15 Von England" which has since been played at the end of a programme or parade, immediately before "The Yorkshire Lass" (the East Yorkshire Regiment March Past. Words here http://www.yorkshirefolksong.net/song_database/Amatory/My_Bonny_Yorkshire_Lass.82.aspx )

The appended translation of a letter (presumably from German) To our War Office explains the origin of the march :-

"To the War Office, London.

"I am taking the liberty of presenting to the Royal British Ministry of War the enclosed two historical marches of the British Army, which may possibly not be known to you.

I found them in the course of a search I was making by order of the Royal Saxon Ministry of War for Historical Marches of the Saxon Army.

They were contained in a collection of marches, comprising two volumes, in possession of the Grand Ducal Court Library at Darmstadt.

The march entitled 'March of the English Guards of London' was bound in the smaller volume, on which is written 'Regimental Marches for the Grand Ducal Bodyguard' etc., 1784

The other march was set in a second volume, and was arranged for the piano in very simple setting. I believe it to be of later date than the 'March of the English Guards' - probably 1790

The entire collection of marches dates probably from the time of Ludwig IX of Hesse (1768-1790) who was a great lover of soldiers, and it is probable that the collection was got together by his orders.

I have the honour to be the obedient servant of the Royal British Ministry of War

Signed Otto Schmid, Royal Saxon Professor of Music

Dresden Jan. 27, 1907

Struvestrasse, 38,111"

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There was a series of 3 books published under the title "The History of British Military Bands by Gordon and Alwyn Turner, each accompanied by a CD of regimental marches. Now fairly hard to find and high priced . More usefully perhaps, Amazon has various CD's of military /regimental music, and tracks can in many cases be purchased and downloaded individually.

Keith

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Ho hum! From the responses to this thread it seems no one else is interested in the Great Highland Bagpipes.... I'll just crawl back into my hole and console myself with a piobaireachd or two...

Don't go back in your hole just yet! I'm very interested in Great Highland Bagpipes (as I've posted about more than a few times, probably in Skindles) There is just something about pipe band music and I could listen to it all day - although not everyone's cup of tea. I never miss watching the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and we used to watch the pipe bands marching through Dunoon every year for the Cowal games.

Best military pipe band I've watched live, (sitting on the bleachers at Dunedin High School) has to be for me the US Marine Corps military band in, of all places, Dunedin Military Tattoo Florida. All wearing light-weight summer kilts. (more here. http://www.blogs.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/dunedin-military-tattoo-will-feature-all-things-scottish-on-saturday/1160903 ). As a sassenach (with a Scots great-gran and I'm married to half a Scot) I didn't recognise all the music but my Scots in-laws did and gave me some CD's. I've never used Spotify but must take a look.

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Ho hum! From the responses to this thread it seems no one else is interested in the Great Highland Bagpipes.... I'll just crawl back into my hole and console myself with a piobaireachd or two...

Thought they were made illegal in 1746 - don't tell me some one has relaxed matters? It's localism gone mad -they'll be demanding independence again you mark my words -- mutter mutter mutter Nurse!

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CarylW,

Kind words - thank you!

I have a playlist of 3,022 bagpipe tunes on Spotify - apparently it would take five days to listen to it all!

And for Steve Morse and old sparky Wings is included in one of my own standard sets.

Well I could quite happily listen to five days of pipe bands but OH might take the dog out for a walk and never return! (Need some decent headphones ) Think I saw something about a free trial of Spotify somewhere. Will look into it later.

Oddly, I've always liked drums and drum bands too, long before I found out that four great uncles were in the EYR drum band

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A couple of really off topic comments:

I wonder if the range of military music is decreasing with the size of the army. The number of bands must be now quite small and the number of regimental amalgamations while giving the remaining bands a wide range of choice some of the traditional marches - as an example the Royal Hampshires had three - may be forgotten.

Re pipes, I recall many years ago, after a dinner attended by a general who had some highland affiliation, listening to lots of piobaireachd ( is that the word?)as an imported piper slowly made circuits of the table.

Old Tom

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Nothing like 'The Flowers of the Forest' or 'Sodjer lie doon' to give one goose bumps! And I'm a Sassenach!

Peter B

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CarylW,

Kind words - thank you!

I have a playlist of 3,022 bagpipe tunes on Spotify - apparently it would take five days to listen to it all!

And for Steve Morse and old sparky Wings is included in one of my own standard sets.

Mr Swan You are a scholar, a gentleman and man of generally good taste!

I salute you sir.

Peter B

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Among a largely forgotten collection of long playing records I have a copy of Regimental Marches of the British Arrmy recorded at the Royal Military School of Music and published in 1958. There are 27 marches, by no means the whole range. Nevertheless I have just had half an hour's nostalgia.

Old Tom

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