Who decided the Brass Band Formation?

tubafran

Active Member
Following on from the thread about rotary valved instruments and the rules for the intruments used in brass band contests - who decided the score formation?.

Found an interesting article about Adoph Sax, inventor of the Saxhorn and founder of brass band instruments at

http://www.saxgourmet.com/adolph-sax.html

and this explains how brass band instruments took over from woodwind in military bands in France in the mid 1800s.

But how was the British Brass Band formation decided? It there a direct relationship between orchestras e.g. cornets in lieu of violins, tubas in lieu of string bass etc? It has become standardised but what came first, was the music written for existing band formations or did the bands form based on the scored requirements?
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
There are a few articles available "on-line" that touch on this, including Professor Trevor Herbert's study on the origin of bands in the 19th century:
http://www.oup.co.uk/pdf/0-19-816698-2.pdf

and there is some interesting informaton in Nigel Horne's article here:
http://www.bandsman.co.uk/download/history.pdf

(Links found via www.IBEW)

According to Trevor herbert, it would appear that, whilst early publications allowed for some flexibility of instrumentation, publishers started taking the lead form the practice employed in the northern bands under such leaders as John Gladney, Edwin Swift and Alexander Owen. There were also influences imposed by the contesting authorities (at Crystal Palace in 1863 all the cornets had to be pitched in Bb, and in tune with the Crystal Palace organ, and from 1899 only slide trombones were to be allowed).

One interesting point regarding instrumentation is that Alexander Owen, particularly in his major arrangements from the classics, liked to employ a trio of flugel horns.
 

Razor

Member
I learned from the info included in the Euro Championships programme that until 1946 the maximum number of players permitted for contesting was 24. According to this info, Eric Ball tried to have this number increased to 26 by proposing the addition of another front row cornet and another horn. Apparently after discussions with the movement's administrators and publishers this move was rejected although a compromise was agreed allowing an additional cornet taking number to 25.
 

BFN

Member
Razor said:
I learned from the info included in the Euro Championships programme that until 1946 the maximum number of players permitted for contesting was 24. According to this info, Eric Ball tried to have this number increased to 26 by proposing the addition of another front row cornet and another horn. Apparently after discussions with the movement's administrators and publishers this move was rejected although a compromise was agreed allowing an additional cornet taking number to 25.

Presumably the additional cornet is now the Rep part?
 

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
why is there still a disagreement between publishers over where to place the eupho part? With the baritones, inbetween horns and baritones, or above basses? I can see the reasoning behind all of them (bari/euphs combos are common/baritones are horns, and are scored as so/euphs are tenor tubas and are scored as so), but shouldn't there be a standard set by now?
 

Laucrimus

New Member
The series of articles in the Brass Herald by Roy Newsome on the history of brass bands will be of interest I think. Especially as he is the leading light in brass band history.
 

ted

Member
Why don't we push for a standard and score alphabetically?

Bass Trombone
Bb Bass
Eb Bass
Euphonium
First Baritone
First Horn
First Trombone
Flugel Horn
Repiano Cornet
Second Baritone
Second Cornet
Second Horn
Second Trombone
Solo Cornet
Soprano Cornet
Solo Horn
Third Cornet

I started this off as a joke but it turns out that it does group parts nicely.
Most of the band are grouped according to which part of a chord they play. This also highlights that 2nd parts are the key to a good band sound.
And third cornet are scored according to the range of their parts. (the top C in Whitsun Wakes must have claimed a few lives)

Ted
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
ted said:
Why don't we push for a standard and score alphabetically?

But you forgot the shedbuilders:

Antique cymbals
Bass drum
Bass Trombone
Bb Bass
Eb Bass
Castanets
Chinese bells
Clash cymbal
Euphonium
First Baritone
First Horn
First Trombone
Flugel Horn
Marimba
Repiano Cornet
Second Baritone
Second Cornet
Second Horn
Second Trombone
Side drum
Solo Cornet
Soprano Cornet
Solo Horn
Splash cymbal
Suspended cymbal
Tam-tam
Tambourine
Temple blocks
Third Cornet
Timpani
Vibraphone
Xylophone

etc

:shock: :!: :wink:
 

Brian Kelly

Active Member
ted said:
Why don't we push for a standard and score alphabetically?

Bass Trombone
Bb Bass
Eb Bass
Euphonium
First Baritone
First Horn
First Trombone
Flugel Horn
Repiano Cornet
Second Baritone
Second Cornet
Second Horn
Second Trombone
Solo Cornet
Soprano Cornet
Solo Horn
Third Cornet

Ted

Putting the best and most important instrument in the band at the top of the score makes perfect sense to me!
:wink:
 

BrassNeil

New Member
whilst uniformity can be sooooo boring, i remember reading a score for freedom where the solo cornet was on the top line instead of soprano and it all got a bit confusing after that...............
 

Despot

Member
standstudent said:
Razor said:
I learned from the info included in the Euro Championships programme that until 1946 the maximum number of players permitted for contesting was 24. According to this info, Eric Ball tried to have this number increased to 26 by proposing the addition of another front row cornet and another horn. Apparently after discussions with the movement's administrators and publishers this move was rejected although a compromise was agreed allowing an additional cornet taking number to 25.

Presumably the additional cornet is now the Rep part?

Would have thought the 4th Solo Cornet? 4th man down is a "relatively" modern addition, many older band parts have only 3!
 

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tMP Assistant
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