Brass band

A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and woodwind instruments can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands (particularly in the context of New Orleans–style brass bands), but may more correctly termed military bands, concert bands, or "brass and reed" bands.

Tanzania Police brass band
Tanzanian Police Force brass band



Balkan-style Brass Bands (Serbian: Труба, trumpet) play a distinctive style of music originating in 19th century Balkans when Roma trumpeters influenced by Turkish marching bands transposed folk music into brass.[1] It is popular throughout the Balkans, especially Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria and Northern Greece. The beats are usually fast and accompanied by kolo. The performers each have their instrument of the orchestra and are called trubači (трубачи). The best known examples of acclaimed music in this style are from Goran Bregović and Boban Marković Orkestar. The Serbian film maker Emir Kusturica has, through his films (Black Cat, White Cat), made the style popular in the international community outside the Balkans.


A brass band in the British tradition with a full complement of 28 players[2] (including percussion) consists of:


E and B Tubas

With the exception of the Trombones and Baritones, all of the brass are conical-bore instruments, which gives the British-style brass band its distinctive bright, mellow sound (as opposed to a dark symphonic sound). All parts apart from the Bass Trombone and percussion are now written in Treble Clef. Note that despite its musical range, the alto horn in E is traditionally called the tenor horn in British bands.

Brass bands have a long tradition of competition between bands, often based around local industry and communities. In the 1930s brass bands thrived most with around 20,000 brass bands in the U.K. British-style brass bands are widespread throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and continental Europe and are also found in North America. Annual competitions are held in these countries to select champion bands at various levels of musical competence.

The Salvation Army, part of the Christian church, has deployed brass bands since 1878 and they continue to be an integral part of that organisation. The most well-known Salvation Army brass band is The International Staff Band[3] which is based in London. Salvation Army bands vary considerably in size and complement as they are based on the local personnel available, some being as small as 6-8 members. The cornet section of a Salvation Army band does not include a 'Repiano' and instead of 2nd & 3rd cornets there are 1st & 2nd cornets. A Salvation Army band may have 3-6 tenor horns, 2-4 baritones and 2-6 tenor trombones. Salvation Army bands have a local tradition of training children in brass playing from an early age (starting at 7–8 years old). In larger Salvation Army churches there will often be a Junior Band for children (7–18 years old) as well as a Senior Band for adults.

Low Countries

Fanfare orchestras are a type of brass band mainly found in Belgium and the Netherlands, while several ensembles exist in Germany, France and Luxembourg. Unlike British bands, they also sport saxophones. There are fanfares affiliated to the military and civil fanfare orchestras which are an important element of cultural tradition in some areas.

In the second part of the 20th century, many British-style brass bands have been founded in the Low Countries as well, often as part of a musical association also including a fanfare orchestra or a concert band.

New Orleans

The Spirit of New Orleans Brass Band performs at the French Quarter Festival, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11 April 2008.

The tradition of brass bands in New Orleans, Louisiana dates to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Traditionally, New Orleans brass bands could feature various instrumentations, often including trumpets, trombones, clarinets, saxophones, sousaphones, and percussion. The music played by these groups was often a fusion between European-styled military band music and African folk music brought to the Americas by West African slaves and the idiom played a significant role in the development of traditional jazz. Early brass bands include the Eureka Brass Band, the Onward Brass Band, the Excelsior Brass Band, the Tuxedo Brass Band, the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, the Camelia Brass Band, and the Olympia Brass Band.

The Treme Brass Band, while not as old, has members who have been influential throughout New Orleans Brass Band music, as well as being renowned in its own right.

A well-known use of these bands is for the New Orleans jazz funeral and second line parades.

Hip-Hop and Funk

In the 1970s and 1980s, the New Orleans brass band tradition experienced a renaissance, with bands breaking away from traditional stylings and adding elements of funk, hip hop, and bop to their repertoires. Some notable exponents of this style of brass band include the band Def Generation, members of the next generation of Nevilles who created hip hop over live brass bands influencing, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, the Stooges Brass Band, the Hot 8 Brass Band, the Lil Rascals Brass Band, Youngblood Brass Band, The Original Pinettes Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Big 6 Brass Band. Also, a number of groups outside the United States have begun playing this style of music.

The style of the music is often characterized by the use of the sousaphone in place of a Double bass to play the bass-line. The sousaphone may play a traditional jazz walking bass-line or groove on a riff. Trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and other horns play melodies and harmonies loosely over the bass-line. Often the lines are greatly embellished with improvisation. A typical setup includes two percussionists, one playing a marching bass drum and a cymbal mounted on the drum and another playing a snare drum (the snare drummer often switches to a drum kit when not marching). Many variations on this exist, including the use of additional percussionists, cymbals, drums, whistles and Scratch DJ's.

The style has moved beyond New Orleans and can now be found in such places as Japan with the Black Bottom Brass Band; Belgium with Brazzmatazz, the Netherlands with the Happy Feet and the Hurricane brass bands; Scotland with the Criterion Brass Band; England with the Renegade Brass Band; Australia with the Horns of Leroy Brass Band; Phoenix, Arizona with the Bad Cactus Brass Band; Boston, Massachusetts with the Hot Tamale Brass Band; Hartford, CT with the Funky Dawgz Brass Band; Tennessee with Halfbrass; Minnesota with the Jack Brass Band and the Dirty Shorts Brass Band; Missouri with the Funky Butt Brass Band; Georgia with the Half Dozen Brass Band; Cincinnati, Ohio with The Cincy Brass; Madison, Wisconsin with the Mama Digdown's and Youngblood; Richmond, VA No BS! Brass brass bands; and Sacramento, California with Element Brass Band.


Founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III, the Royal Hawaiian Band is the second oldest and only full-time municipal band in the United States. In recent generations, unique brass band traditions have also developed in Tonga, Samoa, and other parts of Polynesia, as well as among the Māori of New Zealand. Some recordings are now available and these styles are beginning to be researched and promoted abroad through band tours.


Deriving from English 'band', Beni is a popular wedding entertainment with a strong focus on rhythm and dance, and audience participation. Beni originated in Zanzibar around the turn of the 20th century as a mockery of colonial style military bands.

In Zanzibar, Beni is performed both as a street parade and stationary as a wedding dance.

Festivals and contests

One festival featuring brass bands is the Tarragona International Dixieland Festival, in Catalonia, Spain. The organisation programs not only dixieland brass bands but also ethnic or world music brass bands from over the world, including the Dirty Dozen Brass Band from the US, Boban Marković Orkestar from Serbia, the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band from India and Taraf Goulamas from Occitania France.

In the United States the Great American Brass Band Festival has been held annually in Danville, Kentucky for the past 18 years. This event attracts brass band lovers from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The Vintage Band Festival occurs in Northfield, Minnesota every three years,[4] with the next one scheduled for 1–4 Aug 2018.[5]

The North American Brass Band Association[6] sponsors an annual convention that provides member bands with the opportunity to compete in a contest format similar to those conducted in the United Kingdom and Europe. The contest is typically late March to early April every year.

In Boston, Seattle and Austin a series of festivals called HONK! bring together street brass bands (and other related ensembles) from the United States and Canada, and some bands from other parts of the world. The groups presented include Balkan Brass Bands, New Orleans brass bands, Political Action Bands, Klezmer, and "DIY" Alternative / Radical Community Bands.


Brass bands

Brass band composers

Brass band instrument manufacturers, historical and present


  1. ^ Bradt Travel Guide Serbia - Laurence Mitchell - Google Böcker. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Writing For Brass Bands". Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Welcome! - The International Staff Band". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Vintage Band Festival". Vintage Band Festival. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Great American Brass Band Festival - Great American Brass Band Festival". Great American Brass Band Festival. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  6. ^ "NABBA". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Challenge Brass Band". Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Dublin Silver Band - Dublin Community Bands". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  9. ^ "The Flowers Band". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Welcome to Foden's Band Website". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Grimethorpe Band – The World's Most Famous Colliery Band". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Helston Town Band". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Lewis-Merthyr Band". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Mama Digdown's Brass Band". Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Rebirth Brass Band - New Orleans Brass Bands". 20 November 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  17. ^ "The Soul Rebels". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Stooges Brass Band". Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  19. ^ "The Dirty Dozen Brass Band". Archived from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  20. ^ "The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic Bands". The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic Bands. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  21. ^ "The Original Pinettes Brass Band - Home". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  22. ^ "To Be Continued Brass Band". Retrieved 16 June 2017.

External links

Balkan brass

Balkan brass, popularly known by the Serbian name Truba (Serbian Cyrillic: Труба, "trumpet"), is a distinctive style of music originating in the Balkan region as a fusion between military music and folk music. In recent years, it has become popular in a techno-synth fusion throughout Europe, and in pop music in the Anglo-American sphere and throughout the world. Songs like Worth It by Fifth Harmony have brought the style to a new audience. In traditional form, it is popular throughout the Balkans, especially in Serbia, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania, although the turbo-folk variety attracts larger audiences. The energetic and fast beats encourage dance and are egalitarian, often resulting in participation by the entire audience; this unpretentious relationship with audiences, highly charged energy and loud and joyful performances by highly skilled musicians has contributed to its successes. Fans of bands inspired by Balkan bands, such as Gogol Bordelo, often state that it is a type of music better experienced than listened to.

It is sometimes accompanied by a kolo, a traditional South Slavic communal dance where in its simplest forms, the two steps forward, one step backward choreography, is designed to encourage the participation of all.

Performers are called trubači (трубачи) in the Serbo-Croatian, or less commonly, trubari. Some of the best known examples of acclaimed music in this style are the Goran Bregović Band and the Boban Marković Orkestar. The style likely has influences in the orient, and has been historically (and today) performed largely by Gypsies, an ethnic group of Indians from Rajasthan, India. Boban Markovic and most of his band are ethnic gypsies (Romani people), known for great emotion in their performances, said to stem from a history of discrimination and abuse perpetrated against them by the European peoples.

The Serbian film maker Emir Kusturica has, through his films (Black Cat, White Cat), made the style popular in the international community outside the Balkans.

The biggest brass band event in the world the Guča Trumpet Festival is a 5-day annual festival with 300,000 visitors, in Guča, Serbia.


Blendworth is a village in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It lies 0.4 miles (0.6 km) northeast of Horndean just east off the A3 road.

The village has a population of fewer than 100 people. The church, Holy Trinity, was erected in 1850-51, and until recently had a C of E Infant School next to it. It is part of the parish of Horndean.

Blendworth also has a stable and a brass band.

The nearest railway station is 2.2 miles (3.5 km) southeast of the village, at Rowlands Castle.

The village is also close to Chalton, Finchdean and Rowlands Castle.

Blendworth has a fascinating history. The old school was attached to the church, and in the 1960s, morning assembly was held there every day, with a Christian service. It was here that the children learned to sing hundreds of the popular hymns and carols, before returning to the school next door. Accommodating about 60 kids, the school had just three classrooms and teachers (the favourites were Mrs Pead, the one the kids loved, and Mrs Burns, the strict headmistress the kids always wanted to please.) There was also a dinner lady, whose delightful catchphrase was "want any more custard?"

Teaching involved bringing all the kids up to the level of the highest achiever, but nevertheless, pushing even those at the top of the class.

Each class accommodated more than one year-group - this gave the younger kids the opportunity to preview what they had coming next year. This type of dual-level education is still rarely seen. Horndean, next door to Blendworth, was home to one of the first "Bilateral" schools in the late 1960s. The area was undoubtedly leading the nation in education at that time.

Just down the road, an elderly spinster Mrs Murray, owned a family estate. Every year, she would host the most wonderful Christmas parties for the children of Blendworth school. After her demise, her property was left to popular kids' show "Magpie", who started an appeal to convert the home into accommodation for severely disabled children.

Brass section

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.

They contain instruments given Hornbostel-Sachs classification 423 (brass instruments).

British brass band

A British brass band is a musical ensemble comprising a standardized range of brass and percussion instruments. The modern form of the brass band in the United Kingdom dates back to the 19th century, with a vibrant tradition of competition based around communities and local industry, with colliery bands being particularly notable. The Stalybridge Old Band (still in existence) was formed in 1809 and was perhaps the first civilian brass band in the world.

Bands using the British instrumentation are the most common form of brass band in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and are also widespread in continental Europe, Japan and North America. The tradition for brass bands in the UK is continuing, and local communities and schools have brass bands. British band contesting is highly competitive, with bands organized into five sections much like a football league. Competitions are held throughout the year at local, regional, and national levels, and at the end of each year there are promotions and relegations. The 2017 holder of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain is the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band from West Yorkshire.A selection of brass bands can be experienced at the annual Durham Miners' Gala. There are also highly contested annual events held on Whit Friday in the Saddleworth area of Greater Manchester in which hundreds of bands compete.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a New Orleans, Louisiana, brass band. The ensemble was established in 1977 by Benny Jones and members of the Tornado Brass Band. The Dirty Dozen revolutionized the New Orleans brass band style by incorporating funk and bebop into the traditional New Orleans jazz style, and since has been a major influence on local music.

Essence Music Festival

The Essence Festival, known as "the party with a purpose", is an annual music festival which started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily towards African-American women. It is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States. Locally referred to as the Essence Fest, it has been held in New Orleans, Louisiana since 1994 except for 2006, when it was held in Houston, Texas due to Hurricane Katrina's effect on New Orleans. It was also held in Durban, South Africa in 2016. It features artists simultaneously performing on a main stage as well as four standing-room only superlounge stages.

In 2008, for the first time since its 1995 inception, the festival was not produced by the original producer team. Instead, Essence Communications, owner of the festival and the Essence magazine, contracted Rehage Entertainment Inc. A new main stage facelift was designed by production designer Stefan Beese.

Starting 2013, Solomon Group became the Producer of Essence Festival.In 2013, MSNBC broadcast live from the Essence Festival. MSNBC returned for the 2014 festival.

Independent Irish Party

The Independent Irish Party (1852–1858) was an Irish political party founded in July 1852 by 40 Liberal Irish MPs who had been elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is sometimes mentioned as the Irish Independent Opposition Party, and colloquially known as the Pope's Brass Band because of their stance on the Ecclesiastical Titles Act. Its MPs were also called the "Irish Brigade".It had two central aims:

The repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, which banned Roman Catholic Bishops from re-assuming pre-reformation ecclesiastical bishopric titles in the United Kingdom, as well as the prohibition of the wearing of clerical outfits.

The adoption and enforcement of the Three Fs, namely

fair rent;

fixity of tenure;

free sale. (These would all have aided Irish tenant farms, all of whom lacked them.)The Independent Irish Party initially achieved the balance of power in the House of Commons. It brought down Lord Derby's Tory ministry and enabled the leader of the Peelites Lord Aberdeen and Whigs to form a coalition government. However two Irish MPs, John Sadleir and William Keogh then broke ranks by joining this ministry, an act for which they were never forgiven in Ireland, where they were remembered with contempt even a century later.Some but not all Irish Liberal candidates in the 1852 election had pledged themselves to form an independent party in Parliament. This was done in their election address or at two conferences in 1852, one held by the Tenants League and the other about Religious Equality. 48 Irish MPs were elected after making such a pledge. One was unseated after an election petition.

The group began to nominate its own candidates in by-elections between 1852 and 1857 and had some limited success, winning four seats.

Jazz funeral

A jazz funeral is a funeral procession accompanied by a brass band, in the tradition of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kermit Ruffins

Kermit Ruffins (born December 19, 1964) is an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. He has been influenced by Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan and says that the highest note he can hit on trumpet is a high C. He often accompanies his songs with his own vocals. Most of his bands perform New Orleans jazz standards, though he also composes many of his own pieces. Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Ruffins is an unabashed entertainer who plays trumpet with a bright, silvery tone, sings with off-the-cuff charm and never gets too abstruse in his material."

Malcolm Arnold

Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. His output of works features music in many genres, including a cycle of nine symphonies, numerous concertos, concert works, chamber music, choral music and music for brass band and wind band. He wrote extensively for the theatre, with five ballets specially commissioned by the Royal Ballet, as well as two operas and a musical. He also produced scores for more than a hundred films, among these The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Oscar.

Philip Sparke

Philip Allen Sparke (born 29 December 1951) is an English composer and musician born in London, noted for his concert band and brass band music.

Children Ben Sparkle (14.02.2001)

His early major works include The Land of the Long White Cloud - "Aotearoa" - written for the 1980 Centennial New Zealand Brass Band championship. He subsequently went on to win the EBU New Music for Band Competition three times, including in 1986 with a commission from the BBC called Orient Express,Since May 2000, his music has been published under his own label Anglo Music Press, and distributed by Hal Leonard.

In 2017,he realized a neorealism movie, "Il bambino con la palla". The two movie makers, Fabio Di Coscio and Gloria Senesi received an Emmy Award.

Rebirth Brass Band

The Rebirth Brass Band is a New Orleans brass band. The group was founded in 1983 by tuba/sousaphone player Philip Frazier, his brother, bass drummer Keith Frazier, and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, along with other classmates and marching band members from Joseph S. Clark Senior High School, which Firstline Schools will be closing in the spring of 2018, in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood. The band released its first album in 1984 on Arhoolie Records which was recorded in the Grease Lounge, a Tremé neighborhood bar, and in 1989 gained wider notice with a series of releases on Rounder Records.In 2012, Rebirth won the Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album, the inaugural year of the Grammy category. The band also performed in the Pre-Telecast ceremony for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.

Salvation Army brass band

A Salvation Army brass band is a brass band affiliated with a Corps, Division or Territory of the Salvation Army. In society, a Salvation Army band playing in public places during Christian events in the calendar such as Christmas has become a part of seasonal customs, particularly in the UK.

Second line (parades)

Second line is a tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The "main line" or "first line" is the main section of the parade, or the members of the actual club with the parading permit as well as the brass band. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the "second line". The second line's style of traditional dance, in which participants walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called "second lining". It has been called "the quintessential New Orleans art form – a jazz funeral without a body". Another significant difference from jazz funerals is that second line parades usually lack the slow hymns and dirges played at funerals (although this is not a hard rule; some organizations may have the band play something solemn towards the start of the parade in memory of members who died since their last parade).

South Queensferry

Queensferry, also called South Queensferry or simply "The Ferry", is a town to the west of Edinburgh, Scotland, traditionally a royal burgh of West Lothian. It lies ten miles to the north-west of Edinburgh city centre, on the shore of the Firth of Forth between the Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing. The prefix South serves to distinguish it from North Queensferry, on the opposite shore of the Forth. Both towns derive their name from the ferry service established by Queen Margaret in the 11th century, which continued to operate at the town until 1964, when the Road Bridge was opened.

Its population at the 2011 census was 9,026 based on the 2010 definition of the locality which in addition to the burgh includes Dalmeny.

Tapton School

Tapton Secondary School is a secondary school with academy status located in Crosspool, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It is sited next to another secondary, King Edward VII School, and near to Lydgate Junior School, Lydgate Infant School and Notre Dame High School. Tapton School has approximately 1,650 pupils, aged between 11 and 18 years old. Tapton officially opened in 1960, but in 2000 the school was rebuilt under the Private Finance Initiative. Students and faculties officially moved to the new building in September 2001.

The Severn Suite

The Severn Suite, Opus 87, is a musical work written by Sir Edward Elgar. It is a late composition, written in 1930, the result of an invitation to write a test piece for the National Brass Band Championship. It was dedicated to his friend, the author and critic George Bernard Shaw.There are five movements, which follow each other without breaks:

Introduction (Worcester Castle) - Pomposo

Toccata (Tournament) - Allegro molto

Fugue (The Cathedral) - Andante

Minuet (Commandery) - Moderato

Coda - Lento - PomposoThe Severn of the title is the name of the river which runs through the centre of the city of Worcester where Elgar spent his childhood and lived later. The subtitles refer to historic places in the city. These subtitles were not devised by Elgar himself but were later added to the Military Band arrangement published in 1931.

Of the five movements, the Fugue is a reworking of a recent but unpublished piano piece, Fugue in C minor (1923). The Minuet is based on wind chamber works written in the 1870s. Many reference books assert that The Severn Suite was entirely based on "old sketches" but the remaining three movements are, so far as is known, original compositions.

Voodoo Experience

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (formerly "The Voodoo Music Experience"), commonly referred to as Voodoo or Voodoo Fest, is a multi-day music and arts festival held in City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Voodoo Experience has hosted more than 2000 artists and over one million festival goers during its existence. The festival has been twice nominated for Pollstar's Music Festival of the Year. It was acquired by Live Nation Entertainment in 2013 and is produced by C3 Presents. Don Kelly, Voodoo's former General Counsel and COO, is now Festival Director and oversees the event.The Voodoo Experience is known for including national artists from all genres such as Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, Marilyn Manson, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Muse, Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arcade Fire, Tiësto, Nine Inch Nails, KISS, R.E.M., Modest Mouse, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Calvin Harris, The Weeknd, Deadmau5, The Black Keys, Neil Young, Green Day, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, Porcupine Tree, The Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, 50 Cent, Cowboy Mouth and 311 as well as local Louisiana musicians such as The Original Meters, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rebirth Brass Band, and Dr. John.

Youngblood Brass Band

The Youngblood Brass Band is a brass band from Oregon, Wisconsin, United States that was started by students at Oregon High School in 1995 when they were known as the One Lard Biskit Brass Band with the name changed to the current name in 1998.

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