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Marching Music Education History And Standardization Of Military Marching Bands

10.23.2008 · Posted in Music Articles

The object of this article is to give you a solid beginning to your drumming education, whether you’re a young person or an adult. It is not meant to be the only source of information for you if you want to become a drummer. A teacher who gives one on one lessons is absolutely essential. You might not need a teacher if you were born exceptionally gifted in drumming and are a complete natural. in that case, I’d love to meet you because you are unbelievably rare. As a matter of fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever met you in my lifetime. Although you might have a large chunk of natural ability, playing in a band with other people can be so entirely different from practicing alone that any advice or guidance from someone with experience is tremendously valuable. However if you do not desire to become a drummer, but want to get some education about drumming and marching, read on as today we will be talking about marching music.rnrnThe roots of march music extend into the distant past, with modern march music beginning to take form in the European military bands of the early 1500s. A major step toward modern march music occurred after Polish and Austrian armies drove the Turks out of Vienna in 1683; Turkish instruments (drums, cymbals, horns) quickly became incorporated into European military music. This contributed greatly to the beginning of the modern military band, consisting of brass, wind, and percussion sections.rnrnBy the time of the American Revolutionary War (from 1775 to 1783), military bands had become commonplace, and the music had become standardized in three forms: slow and parade march; quick march; and double quick or attack march. By the second half of the 19th century the march caught on with the general public, and it reached its peak of popularity in the mid 1800s to early 1900s. By the early part of the 20th century march music thrived as the preferred music for outdoor entertainment and even dancing, as the march became the standard accompaniment for the Two Step.rnrnDuring the height of march popularity, its most outstanding composer appeared: John Philip Sousa. His compositions and arrangements still stand as the definitive sound of the march genre. Marches also played a major role in civilian life. At gatherings, processionals and parades, drummers dictated the tempo of a parade formation. This was especially common among the descendants of African slaves and their descendants in Brazil, Cuba and the southern United States, especially in New Orleans. By the early 1920s, marching bands evolved further, into drum and bugle corps (marching ensembles consisting of percussion and brass sections with no woodwinds), which played marches along with other types of music. Today traditional marching bands function as entertainment at sporting events, military events, and as an indispensable element of celebrations such as Mardi Gras and Carnival. In addition, virtually every major university has a marching band. The armed forces also maintain a number of orchestral military bands (that is, Sousa style bands with woodwind sections), which typically appear at 4th of July celebrations.rnrnThe popularity of drum and bugle corps has led to the establishment of organizations such as Drum Corps International (DCI), promoting competition and tradition within the style. The most prominent march characteristics are: 1) a solid discernible beat; 2) establishment and development of immediately memorable musical themes; and 3) precise, careful orchestration. Though a marching percussion section typically contains several percussionists, a single individual can reproduce the general sound of march style percussion on a drum set. Having a general knowledge of rudiments (flams, double ****** rolls, etc.) will enable a drummer to execute march drumming fairly easily. Marches are most often performed at a tempo of quarter note equal 120 beats per minute.

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