Marching bands have become a well-rounded prideful part of American culture. Every American has been exposed to this riveting sound of music at least once whether it may be during a culture rich fiesta parade or ceremonial graduation for a U. S marine. Many may like to believe the origin of marching bands began on a football field. However, marching bands of today have truly evolved from the military bands dating back to the end of the American Civil War. The first form of a structured band began in the military.
This newly structured roof of musicians created for numerous reasons at the time served to be a well- developed aspect to all military branches during the war era. The bands during war time proved to be a necessity on and off the battlefield since visual command at times became impossible. On the battlefield “field musicians, the drummers and fifers, would signal the soldiers to fire, to retreat, and off the field were providing daily signals like wake up and bed time. “l Aside from aiding in the battle the bands played an essential role during ceremonial functions and social activities.
In the Journal titled The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular there is an entry on one of the first grand festivals where “the idea of combining four military bands to take part in the accompaniment of divine service was defined as a bold move that in the end was musically successful. ” 2 The military also utilized the playing of instruments as a device to provide music for the troops to instill patriotism and offer an effective device where the troops could momentarily forget the hardships of military service. 3 The uplifting march music maintained positive attitudes despite the conditions they were being faced with.
These similar activities the bands took part in can easily be represented throughout the bands marching today. During parades bands of all kinds test new technique ideas Just as the military band had done with the combination of divine service during the festival. During half time shows bands play a range of music with large roaring crowds cheering on the team and despite a loss occurring music still blares from horns to keep spirits high as bandsmen did the same with their fellow troops to remove negative emotions.
Although marching bands are not used in warfare the idea of entertainment in lifting spirits, and being seed in recreational services such as parades still lives on in the agenda of band members today. Uniforms worn by band members marching throughout our public high schools and colleges can still be seen modeling what can be referred to as the military style. A uniform is “a special set of clothes worn by people belonging to an organization to show others that they are members of the organization or group. 4 In both groups the military and current band uniforms worn offer some form of visual aid to those around. For the military the uniform issued to bandsmen were brightly colored in order for the enemy to recognize the musicians who were unarmed and for current day band members uniform colors reflect the school they currently attend. The current uniforms have been based upon. According to David Labeled, a representative for De- Million Pros. And Co. “uniform construction has improved greatly since the sass allowing for uniforms today to be far more comfortable. “6 Thick wool material military bandsmen were forced to wear has transformed into common cotton and nylon materials due to the more athletic movement that has been introduced. Though the reasons for the military bandsmen uniforms being hoses may not reflect the same reasons current uniforms are being distributed the idea that the uniform offers a sense of prideful definition to the group does remain in existence today.
The most common foundation that has survived throughout the band evolution is the military marching style and strong commands that remain in practice in marching bands today. The style is a straight leg, roll of the foot from heel to toe based upon either eight steps to five yards or six steps to 5 yards interval. Before taking the first step with the left foot both heels are touching with the toes out at arty five degrees from the center. 7 This marching from its beginning has offered a controlled uniform appearance throughout the group.
The advantage of using this smooth straight leg step allowed for the troops to sound strong in their playing in every performance they took part in. The same positive effect can be detected during a current performance of a marching band as projecting sounds are heard by the audience with precision having no wavering inconsistence in between pitches. In the photograph of the 18th field artillery band marching in a parade style block the wide stride steps can be presented uniformly. Each member is seen in step and standing tall as they each properly hold their instruments ready to make music. The posture that is presented with the shoulders back, chest out and head up gives a representation of strength within the musician that can be mirrored by current bands mimicking the marching style during fiesta parades. Commands are another essential part of uniformity that has survived existence in current bands. Orders used by bandmasters like “attention”, standing upright with an assertive and correct posture and “rest”, individuals are permitted light movement and can engage in light inversion. The practice of these commands allowed for military leaders to keep control and maintain uniformity in the band throughout the chaos that war may have brought. The similar form of leadership is projected when band directors and other forms of leadership use the commands during rehearsals of current day. Such ideals luckily were kept alive throughout the years allowing for marching bands today to continue the idea of leadership as the military is known to practice and provide uniformity amongst the group at every performance. Bands over the years have entered an extremely endless Journey of ramification.
Beginning in the military as a department of men who could relay messages on the battlefield, while on downtime could entertain the troops with prideful American music allowing emotions of patriotism to flow in to now being the signature event during American football halftime. Today music still exists throughout our military branches and has become more intertwined with public schools around the world. Although many changes have occurred through the transition from the military into public schools music still emits a worldwide written.