History of Military Bands

10 Jan. 2011
A Brief History of Military Bands
According to the GoArmy.com website, “musicians have been an integral part of the military, even before the U.S. Army was created in 1775. From the signal corps drummers in the Revolutionary War to the full brass bands of WWII, music has been a critical part of the Army's success. Whether it's a ceremonial performance or a concert to boost the morale of Soldiers, U.S. Army band members have the unique opportunity to serve their country while making music”.
The first time an American Military band was recorded in the colonies was in “1756 when Col. Benjamin Franklin commanded an artillery regiment, which consisted of over a thousand men, accompanied by fife players and other musicians. Regiments in the colonies had bands attached to them whom performed for special occasions and ceremonies. They were different however from the field musicians whom sounded signals mostly using horns, bassoons, oboes, and clarinets”.
“1775, during the revolutionary war, musicians provided steady rhythms which were used to drill the new militia against the British. Bands played patriotic melodies during speeches and drills. Gen. Washington ordered practices for the band; he was an accomplished flutist himself”.
      “In 1777 the trumpets were added to the military to control mounted maneuvers of the cavalry units. No verbal commands were allowed so they used drums to regulate the soldiers day. Until 1781 musicians enlisted just as musicians, drummers and fifers could now be enlisted members of the military. And until 1830 there were no brass instruments in the band”.
      “1861-1865 Military leaders with the Union and Confederacy relied on musicians to entertain troops, position them in battle, and stir them into victory. The 1900s were an eventful time for bands. Gen. John J. Pershing increased band pieces from 28 to 48 and provided the Army with its first full instrumentation, which still exists today....