Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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REORGANISATION.
117
themselves to it, and a fairly uniform combination throughout our service was the result, which formed the basis of our present system. So much for instrumental reform.
A greater evil still remained to be remedied—the system under which bands were raised and supported. The chief objections to be urged against this were: (i) Bands were regimental institutions only; supported by their officers without any state aid. (2) The employ­ment of civilian bandmasters and bandsmen over whom the authorities had little or no control. These we have dealt with at length, elsewhere. Reform in this direc­tion was delayed until well into the " fifties," and then was only brought about, by a clear demonstration of the defects of the prevailing system. It came with the Crimean War. Bands and music were forgotten all about in the hurry and scurry of mobilisation, and with many regiments there was every reason for it. The hired civilian bandmasters and bandsmen claimed their discharge, and many bands were broken up in this way. In short, the whole of our military music was completely disorganised.
At Scutari in 1854, the British troops, comprising the army of the east destined for the Crimea, held a grand review on the birthday of Queen Victoria. There were some sixteen thousand men on parade, and while their appearance and marching were perfect, and their cheer­ing deafening, our bands struck up "God Save the Queen," not only from different arrangements but in different keys! And all this, before the staff of the
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