Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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one can quite understand the startling effect which fol­lowed the introduction of the " valve," giving a com­plete and even scale to all brass instruments. It is true we had the key-bugle, ophicleide and bass horn, but their tone was very irregular and certainly did not blend well with other brass instruments. There was the trombone, which was chromatic, yet the more essen­tial instruments—the trumpet and horn—were confined to the "harmonics." With the horn, a scale could be produced by a system known as " stopping," but uni­form intonation had to be sacrificed, and it could not be safely practised on the march.
It was the invention of the "valve" that removed all these limitations. The question of priority in its intro­duction is too large a point to be entered into here. It is generally accepted that an Irishman named Clagget, was the first to conceive the idea. Two German musicians, Bluhmel and Stolzel, brought out a successful application of two valves about 1813, to which a third was added by Miiller, of Mayence. On its first appearance, a great many defects were found which made people rather suspicious of adopting it, and with the horn especially it was avoided because it was said to destroy the quality of the tone, a fallacy which gained credence for half a century. As we have seen with the clarinet, serpent, key-bugle and ophi­cleide, the military band was the first to take up the new idea. Kappey says: "It is due to the military bands that these improvements came into universal
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