Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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the Great having his newly raised regimental bands fitted out by them, and even the King of Portugal had a supply of German trumpeters and kettledrummers. Rousseau in his "Musical Dictionary" of 1768, pays a high tribute to the fine bands of the Germans, and compares them to the wretched musical display of his own nation, who he says, had few military instruments and few military marches, most of which were tres malfaites; although it seems that the inferiority of the military music of the French was a distinct gain to them, for their enemies (says Rousseau), hearing such bad music, thought they had recruits before them, and did not act with sufficient prudence, which caused them to be the victims of several engagements.
With the Germans, bands attached to regiments at the expense of the state, were, at first, a- privilege granted to but few especially renowned regiments. But they were found to be such useful additions that in time every regiment obtained them. There was no fixed plan in the instrumentation of the bands, the arrangement of which rested with the colonel or band­master.1 Since the beginning of the century, three new instruments had found their way into their bands, the bassoon, horn and clarinet. The bassoon was a great improvement upon the bass oboe or courtal which usually supplied the bass in the bands of oboes; in fact it is said that the name (originally basson d'haut-boy) is derived from the early use to which it was put.2
1 Kappey, "Military Music." 3 Ibid.
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