There is nothing quite like a marching band, it is a whole pantomime of color, music, pageantry and tradition. And of course, the brass instruments together with the drums are pivotal to the whole occasion. Marching bands started when armies went into war and they would herald the advance of the troops.
It is hardly surprising then for any large celebration a marching band is perfect for the occasion, and nowhere else in the world has embraced the marching band than America. School, and college campuses all have their own bands and they are busy celebrating every sporting team the college has.
The music takes all forms but fanfare music in particular suits marching bands to a tee. It is highly popular in Germany at the moment for fanfare bands to use just the natural horn. These bands are called Fanfarenzug and are on a serious mission to show the world that marching bands can be just as much fun only using bugles.
The type of bugles that these bands use are limited to the B flat major and the E flat major harmonic series. Although this sounds limited there is an incredible array of music that can be played with these instruments.
Fanfare actually means a flourish of a horn, but in the music of Fanfarenzug they even call bugles fanfares. And although the limit range of the bugles is a tad prohibitive theses bands create some great music and not just short blasts.
How to Play the Bugle
The bugle is a brass instrument that does not have a slides or valves. And the only way a note can be changed is by the pursing of the lips and the altering the air flow. By changing the position of the lips on the mouthpiece a player can get a really good range of notes, and so that the bugle can be played by everybody there are many sizes of mouthpieces to choose from.
Military Marching Bands
Across the world there are many occasions where bands can meet up to celebrate together, there are international contests, parades, and festivals. And it is great to see so many bands from different parts of the world all coming together to celebrate fanfare music.
Many marching bands such as military bands do not just limit their instruments to bugles, even if they are a fanfare marching band. They incorporate drums, trumpets, tubas, and cymbals, which of course gives them a wider repertoire to play.
The bugle can be a really emotional instrument and anyone who has heard a lone bugle player playing the last post will know this. It takes dedication and passion to play the bugle and for that matter to play in a marching band, but it can also be so much fun and the rewards can be huge.It is quite amazing that marching bands and fanfare music is so popular with young people these days. What was deemed as an old fashioned way of performing music is now very much in vogue.