History Question

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by frisp, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. frisp

    frisp Member

    I am currently reading Simon Schama's "A History of Britain" and came across a mention and photograph of the Cyfartha Brass Band (formed in 1838).

    I was just hoping someone could recommend a good book that gives a history of the banding movement, preferably one that relates it to the political and social issues prevailing at the relevant time.

    Also, do Cyfartha survive?

    What is the oldest band in the country?

    Thanks in advance :D
  2. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    I take it you mean the Cyfarthfa Band? If so, then this might be useful:

    Cyfarthfa Reborn

    My Band was established in 1835 but I'm sure there are many bands that were established before that.
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The following give a useful overview of the development of brass bands in the United Kingdom:

    Herbert,Trevor - Bands: The Brass Band Movement In The 19th And 20th Centuries - Open University Press, 1991 - ISBN: 0335097030
    Herbert,Trevor - The British brass band a musical and social history - (Published May 2000) Oxford University Press, 2000 - ISBN: 0198166982

    There was also an Open University programme about the Cyfartha band, and the recording made by The Wallace Collection of some of their repertoire using period instruments (cd The Origin of the Species)
  4. frisp

    frisp Member

    Sorry, dyl, about the spelling, took it straight from the book.

    Thanks PB, I'll take a look when I get the chance-no I won't I'll go and order the second one now. Cheers!
  5. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    1835 eh? Crikey. What sort of instruments were in the band then and what was the line-up/configuration? Piston valves didnt become used until later that century I thought.
  6. hornblower

    hornblower Member

    Our band is quite old too:

    Dunston Silver Band, originally known as Dunston Temperance Band, has a colourful history which can be traced back as early as 1902. However it is thought the band was in existence long before this but documented proof is hard to find. Sometime between 1902 and 1913 the band changed its name to Dunston Silver Band. In 1913 the Band performed at Crystal Palace under the direction on Mr Alf Gale of Dunston Bank

    You can find out more on our website:
  7. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    who's in the youngest band? I'm a founder member of durham uni's band, and current president. we've been around for just about a year now!
  8. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Regarding the oldest band in Britain, Kippax Band (Nr. Leeds) have proof of being in existence in 1814 - It is recorded that a Tea Party was held in 1934 to Celebrate 120 years of music making - Any advance on 189 years??
    ( NO - I wasn't a founder member !!!)
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The following article gives a lot of information regarding the band, instrumentation etc


    Piston valves were around from early in the 19th century - Berlioz in particular wrote for the "cornet a pistons" (literally, little horn with pistons) - but it was only following the demonstration of the saxhorns at the Great Exhibition in the 1850s that things really took off, and a number of existing bands converted to the new instruments, that were more reliable, and represented a homogenious set in various sizes.
  10. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Besses are first mentionned in records in the year 1818, but the band had been firmly established by then so I dont know an exact date of formation... see http://www.besses.co.uk/aboutus.htm

    I think I'm correct in saying that Stalybridge Old Band are the oldest band in existence
  11. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    But most of these early bands were not all brass, but combinations of brass, wind and possibly even strings. Since this sort of group had already been in existence for centuries as army bands, church bands and city waites they aren't particularly remarkable and it's now virtually impossible to determine which was the first.

    More important for us surely should be to discover which was the first group to convert to an all-brass instrumentation, and therefore by definition become the earliest brass band.

  12. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Oldest Band

    Although Kippax Band were up and running in 1814 (A year before Napoleons defeat at Waterloo !!) - they did not convert to all brass instrumentation until 1834.
    If you check out the Kippax Band website "Gallery" section on www.kippaxband.co.uk there are some very interesting old photographs and historical references.
  13. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    The Ovington Band part of Ovington Tynedale Band can be traced back as far as 1862. The original band hall is still standing though it is a house now. The band got a good price for it when it was sold despite is dilapidated condition.

    My mate's at Durham Uni and plays cornet. i'll give him a push in your direction!! although i think he knows your flugel player quite well anyways.
  14. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    And that, I guess, neatly encapsulates where I am coming from.

    So who was the first all BRASS band broadly in the style we see today? And more interestingly, what led it to happen?

  15. Boneman

    Boneman Member

    Jackfield Band - was formed as a drum and fife band - it becamer a Brass Band in 1895. We have photos all round the band room of the band from around 1900.

    There were four brothers (Hudsons) who played for the band and they can be seen from some of the earliest photos (c1920 as young boys) right up to the early 80's - an amazing record of loyalty.
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    There is very informative (if long) article by Trevor Herbert regarding the history of brass bands, entitled "Nineteenth Century Bands - making a Movement":


    One of the major spurs towards the adoption of all-brass combinations was the availability of a reliable family of instruments, particularly following Sax's invention and development of the saxhorn in the 1840s. Although demonstrated in this country by the Distin family in 1844 they came particularly to prominence when they won medals at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Shortly after that they began to be adopted by existing bands, which started to gain considerable success in contests. (I came across prevously a reference to a particular band that did this but I couldn't track it down this morning.) John Foster & Sons bought a set of instruments for the Black Dyke Band from Joseph Higham in 1855 and others seem to have changed at about the same time.

    Further standardisation was encouraged as contest rules on instrumentation were introduced. Of particular interest with some of the early Alexander Owen arrangements is his use of 2 or 3 flugel horns in the band.
  17. Al

    Al Member

    The Open University did a programme on the Cyfarthfa Band.

    Gordon Higginbottom took part in the programme and knows a fair bit of social Brass Band history. He's often over in your neck of the woods Frisp, have a pint with him sometime.
  18. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    It's a shame that Goff Richards told me that he has retired from playing and is living in Spain, isn't it! But I s'pose in this day and age you could have a cyber-pint!! :D

    Can't blame me for not trying :D
  19. Al

    Al Member

    Apparently Gordon Higginbottom visits the Isle of Wight a couple of times a year, where Frisp comes from.
  20. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    If this is going in the direction of 'Where do we go for our holidays when we're not at band', could we start another topic please. . . .


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