Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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REVIVAL OF THE MILITARY ART.                 13
of battle these were often hidden from sight; and it was therefore the rule to gather the minstrels around the standards and bid them blow and beat strenuously and unceasingly during the action. The silence of the band was taken as a proof that a battalion had been broken and that the colours were in danger." The fashion lasted so long that even in the twelfth century the musicians were still under the immediate command of the "ensigns," and in battle pictures were depicted drawn up at a safe distance from the fight, ener­getically playing.
The musical display of the Saracens is described by one Crusader5 as comprising trumpets, clarions, horns, pipes, drums, cymbals—a prodigious array, creating a horrible noise and clamour. " They did this," says the chronicler, "to excite their spirit and courage, for the more violent the clamour became the more bold they were for the fray." This terrific ensemble seemed at first very strange to the Crusaders, and led to much confusion in their ranks, but gradually they came to see what a valuable adjunct to the military art the band of music was, and lost little time in adopting it. One thing especially took the Crusaders' fancy, and that was the Saracen side drum and kettledrum, which were then unknown in European military music. They were introduced into our service as the tabour and
'Geoffrey de Vinsauf, "Chronicles of the Crusades" (Bohn's Library).^
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