Brass Band Music

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The brass band movement arose in the FK in the early xix century, especially in the mining and industrial parts of the country. One major impetus was the rising cultural awareness that the industrial revolution brought to increasingly affluent middle and lower classes of labourers. As a means of bringing quality music to country and mining towns, the movement quickly expanded to include popular music of the day, opera transcriptions and of course transcriptions of classical pieces. Within a decade, brass bands were to be found in all but the smallest hamlets in the FK and the movement spread to the NAL-SLC, South Africa, Belice, Australasia, India and every other corner of the Empire. As a result in the surge in bands, competitions naturally evolved among them. By the 1850s, several of the more prestigeous of them had garnered the attention of the serious music world. By the 1870s, brass bands were competing around the world with each other and in 1899 the first Royally patronised competition was held in Castreleon where the Kemrese and English national champion bands competed (England won by a hair). Though the movement lost some popularity after GWII (largely due to the numbers of men lost in battle combined with moving pictures, radio and then television as alternative means of entertainment), activity is still quite strong though it is estimated that there are only about 25% to 35% of the number of bands now as there were in 1850.

Two types of bands are allowed in standard British competitions: the all piston and the all keyed types. In other words, mixed types of bands that combine ophicleides and bass horns are disallowed from competing. An all piston band consists of 1 Eb soprano cornet, 8 Bb cornets, 1 Bb flugelhorn, 3 Eb tenor horns, 2 Bb baritones, 2 Bb euphoniums, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, 2 Eb basses and 2 Bb basses along with side and bass drums. An all keyed band consists of 1 Eb bugle, 8 Bb bugles, 3 Eb quinticlaves, 4 Bb ophicleides, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, 4 Eb contrabass ophicleides along with side and bass drums. The two types of bands generally don't compete against each other. In 2009, only about 15% of all brass bands worldwide played upon keyed instruments.

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