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During the past half-century, literature in all other branches of musical art has grown enormously and is still being poured out at a bewildering rate—yet works treating of military music, of its history, or of its theory, are conspicuously rare, and may be counted almost on the fingers of one hand.
True, the existing traces of its beginnings and development are meagre, and even what is to be gleaned on the subject is exceedingly difficult of access. The reader need only note the authorities cited in the present volume—all rare, or comparatively rare, works —in order to satisfy himself that the story of military music is only to be found strewn about among the pages of history in what might appear to be a loose and haphazard manner.
One has to seek among the highways and by-ways of literature for data; memoirs and autobiography, official documents and anecdote, annals and records of all kinds, doings in themselves entirely unconnected with the subject of music, but yet furnishing some trace, some tiny fragment of information, helpful to the author. His materials are scattered over several centuries; involving much painstaking research, much diving into dusty and almost forgotten corners, much wading through ponderous tomes, which in the end yield perhaps one scant paragraph of any practical use to the inquirer, nay, sometimes even rewarding him with nothing for his pains.
The representative military band of the present day has reached a high state of executive excellence; its