Talk:British brass band

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Featured?[edit]

I would recommend this article for Featured status. It's excellent. 81.109.151.21 (talk) 04:36, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Which sort of band?[edit]

Erm what sort of BB is this article meant to be about? Sounds like a British [style] BB but the trumpets are confusing. I think the article needs a good birthday. Nevilley 23:33, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree, this should read better. What do you think? 212.159.106.41 10:08, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Whoops, forgot to log in! NigelHorne 10:09, Jun 10, 2004 (UTC)

Colliers?[edit]

some of this discussion moved from User talk:Finlay McWalter

Hi again. I must take you to task about this statement: "The majority of competition brass bands extant are colliery bands". This is not true and to the best of my knowledge (I have no figures to prove this - I'd bet a pint that you don't have any either!) has never been so. Let's consider 6 top bands alone:

  • Black Dyke Mills (cotton mill)
  • Grimethorpe Colliery (OK - I'll give you that one)
  • Yorkshire Building Society (once Hammond Sauce Works - not a colliery)
  • Fairey (once Fairey aviation)
  • Fodens (the truck manufacturer).
  • Brighouse & Rastrick (unsponsored town band)

Of these top bands only one is or has ever been a colliery band. Look at www.bandsman.co.uk/bb-links.htm. There is no evidcence that the *majority* of *competition* bands are colliery bands.

All the best,

-Nigel (getting in to the swing of things now :-) NigelHorne 13:03, Jun 10, 2004 (UTC)

You're quite right (I think the association may be stronger in Scotland than elsewhere), and I confess I added it knowing folks would gasp with horror and fix it :) I do think the article should cover more than just the bare details of the bands themselves - they're heavily integrated with the societies from which they spring (by contrast there's really no such thing as "string quartet culture"). So we should mention brass bands in Britain are largely a working-class phenomenon, are frequently (?) related to specific works (heh, I didn't know about the sauce works). The list above would make for a fascinating addition - please feel free to integrate it and to tone down my colliery fixation as needed. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 16:53, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The "United States" Section[edit]

The "United States" section of this article is getting muddled. In particular, the second paragraph is mixing up discussion of "British style" brass bands in the U.S. with more generic-style brass bands. If it would help, I can take a shot at editing the second paragraph to clarify. However, as a non-American, it might be better if someone in the U.S. did it. :) Also, note that NABBA is mentioned in both the first and second paragraphs. I suggest the reference in the second paragraph can be safely removed. --BCRCornet 21:20, 2004 Oct 18 (UTC)

Yes, certainly, if you think you can improve the article, please do. As the title of the article is "Brass band" rather than something like "British style brass bands", I think it would be assumed that discussion is about brass bands in general except where some subset is specifically mentioned. Cheers, -- Infrogmation 21:37, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I guess I must have caused that redundancy (NABBA). Sorry about that -- I'm new at this. How I missed it in the first place is beyond me! Anyway, I agree. Who cares if you're not American? If you feel comfortable making adjustments, go for it. I do believe that at some point, there needs to be a distinction made between "generic" brass bands and British-style bands, perhaps in the introductory section -- or perhaps as an entire sub-definition. One is like saying "I'm wearing tennis shoes;" the other is like saying "I wear the Nike X-99 Skywalkers, size 12W." As a brass bandsman, I believe that distinction is an important one. Do you agree? Altermoor 01:53, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Where did the United States section go? It seems to have been deleted. Why?

An anon editor removed it. As they have offered no explanation, I'll assume it was just a new user mistake, and I put it back. -- Infrogmation

There is a book entitled 'The Music Men - an illustrated history of brass bands in America 1800 - 1920', M & R Hazen, Smithsonian Institution, 1987. Many of the numerous illustrations in it, to be sure, show woodwind instruments included in the ensembles. But it struck me that 'the brass band' (however vaguely defined), existed all over the U.S. well before the time suggested by the wording 'Brass bands were very popular throughout the United States in the late 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century.', which is what appears in the article. In spite of the vagueness of the book's title, might it not be a good thing to quote from the book some of the earlier purely brass ensembles in the U.S., which would surely extend the existence of 'brass bands' per se, back by several decades? For example, on page 8 of the book quoted is an engraving of The Boston Brass Band, 'better known in 1851 as Flagg's Brass Band after its leader'. This band consists entirely of brass instruments, with three percussionists. The above is purely a tentative suggestion, as I am a newcomer to Wikipedia. Bixanorak (talk) 23:31, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

The "Canada" Section[edit]

The reference to Hannaford Street Silver Band is reasonable, as a professional exception to the "recreational, amateur, community bands" statement. What purpose is served by naming the Mill Creek Colliary [sic] Band and Mission Hill Brass Band? If we do that, are we going to list every British brass band in Canada? -- BCRCornet 13:12, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Comment moved from brackets in main page[edit]

Regarding the text " The United States boasts a number of professional brass bands, including the River City Brass Band."

User:Infrogmation said:

text said "one of two"; as I know of well over a dozen professional brass bands in New Orleans alone, this seems wrong or is some very specific and narrow definition that needs explanation

User:Altermoor replied:

fair enough... A brass band is a very specific music ensemble, comprised of the instrumentation shown above (under United Kingdom), so by those rules, RCBB is one of two full-time professional brass bands in the world -- the other is in Japan, (Osaka, I believe); still your phrase is simpler, and more to- the-point, so no argument here. But calling "just any" group with brass instruments might be over-simplifying. (I hope I've formatted this response correctly -- I'm new to this

Types of Brass Band[edit]

There seems to be some conflict here between people who want to use a broad and a specific narrow definition of "Brass band" on this page. I would tend to want the article to discuss the broader definition; if there is a desire to have discussion limited to a narrower definition, I'd suggest that be either a separate article or a clearly marked subsection of this article.

Living in New Orleans, Louisiana, what is commonly called a "brass band" is certainly rather idiosyncratic compared to other places (although I have heard good New Orleans style brass bands from such places as Ohio, Denmark, Japan, etc... perhaps an article on "New Orleans brass bands" could be a future topic). However I know many people from various places who use "brass band" in a broad context to include the British type, John Philip Sousa and U.S. Marine Corps types, the Canadian Brass, New Orleans style, etc. I think the narrow definition is not close enough to universal in usage that the article should be restricted to that.

Other thoughts? Cheers, -- Infrogmation 20:20, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)


To Infrogmation: I tend to agree with you. A broad definition should have been used here, given that Wikipedia is an "encyclopedia". I was taken aback when I saw that someone had deleted the entire "United States" section, and I was looking to see if someone else would restore it. I would qualify my comment by adding that throughout the article, in the various sections and subsections, it always be made clear which "flavor" of brass band was being described.

However, upon reflecting on how the introductory section reads (clearly, it describes the British-style brass band), it may be better to rename the existing article to something like "Brass band - British-style", leaving it the way it is now, and starting a separate article for "Brass band" to describe the broader generic brass bands you mentioned. The two articles would cross-reference each other. --BCRCornet 18:28, 2004 Nov 22 (UTC) from Canada

The wholesale removal of the United States section was IMO inappropriate, and I've put it back. If we go with two separate articles, what are thoughts about how to divide up (and expand on) the info? -- Infrogmation 20:51, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
To Infrogmation: to expand on what I wrote above - rename the existing article to something narrower, e.g., "Brass band (British tradition)", edit the "United States" section to make it relevant only to how British brass bands are implemented in the U.S., start a new article for "Brass band", move most of the current "United States" paragraph to it, cross-refer the two "Brass band" articles, and move on from there. --BCRCornet 21:15, 2004 Nov 22 (UTC) from Canada
Okay. Two questions for consideration by people interested in the subject:
1) Is it agreed we should split into two artices, one on the more general and the other on the more narrow UK definition of "brass band"? Does anyone object?
2) What should the title of the new article be? "Brass band (British tradition)" as suggested above? Other suggestions? -- Infrogmation 05:11, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As to point #1, I agree that it should be split into two seperate categories. However, some care should be taken to avoid what a layman might call a "brass band." A lot of people call any group seen marching down the street a brass band, when in fact, in the United States, it is far more often a wind band (with the inclusion of woodwinds). Additionally, I believe I remember a reference to the Canadian Brass as a brass band; and while, strictly speaking, Canadian Brass is a "band of brass musicians," they are not really a brass band -- they are more specifically, a brass quintet -- a chamber music ensemble.

About point #2, I suggest "British Brass Band." Or, perhaps, it is better to put the qualifying word after? I've always refered to these bands as such, and I don't think you'll find much disagreement on that point. - Altermoor

Yeah, this article seems to imply that there is something unique about British brass bands as opposed to brass bands elsewhere throughout Europe. In Belgium and the Netherlands 'fanfare' brass bands have existed a decade earlier than what is mentioned here, and it is not clear to me what is different between the two, or why this article mentions that brass bands (in the British style) only arrived in the Netherlands in the 1850s, or Belgium in the 1980s. Also, it was always my understanding that brass bands evolved from Turkish janissary military brass bands (mehter), whereas this article seems to imply that this musical phenomenon was originated from something uniquely British, i.e. it mentions amateur British villager musicians meeting up in industrial (coal-mining) settings. Considering that in the decades previous other brass bands where already popping up in the rest of Europe, it seems more likely early brass bands in Britain where simply copying a popular French or Dutch (who were themselves copying the Italians) pastime/fad.

It would be less jingoistic to mention:

1) How British brass bands differ from other forms (as I understand it, a main difference is that modern brass music Dutch bands use saxophones, whereas British don't, but the earlier brass music from the low countries (the oldest occurring around 1806) couldn't have used this instrument as it wasn't invented at the time (1840)). Possibly it is the amount of players and the specific instruments, but in that case it is questionable if most of the brass bands in Britain mentioned in this article can accurately called 'British brass bands'. Furthermore, logically, 'British brass bands' as defined by the instrumentation could only have started much later than the colliery bands, as the now typical 'British' instruments mentioned in this article hadn't been invented yet (in Belgium, the tenor horn, in the 1840s). Also, that would mean the brass bands introduced in the Netherlands around 1850 were probably not 'British brass bands' either. I assume that there are musical competitions which have defined for themselves who can compete, and this would be the most accurate definition of what constitutes a traditional 'British brass band'.

2) How the brass band phenomenon truly originated/developed in the UK in respect to France, the Low Countries, Germany, Italy (Venice had something like this much earlier than the rest of Europe, if I recall), and Turkey. What is written here just doesn't seem accurate.

3) Remove all mention of other countries unless it is certain that there are bands in the exact configuration/instrumentation as defined in the article. If a British brass band is defined as a certain traditional configuration of instruments and players, most of the information on the USA could best be deleted/moved. Furthermore, if it is this configuration which defines the concept 'British brass band', one questions at what date this configuration was adopted (it must have around the 1850s at the earliest), and if the brass bands in Britain prior to this can be properly defined as 'British brass bands'. Considering again the saxophone, by definition none of the British military brass bands are 'British brass bands' (or even 'brass bands' per sé).

4) Have more links at the 'see also' and introduction to other more general 'brass band' articles; i.e. 'brass band', 'military band', 'Ottoman military band', 'fanfare band'.

Either that, or make the definition ethnocentric or nationalistic: a British brass band would than be defined as a brass band like any other; but distinguished by the fact that the players are ethnically British or that they were formed in the UK... but then you could have 193 useless articles or more...

Leo86.83.56.115 (talk) 13:21, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Instrumentation[edit]

Ok, I might have been a bit too bold with that last edit, sorry - feel free to revert it. The first thing I noticed about this article was that the instrumentation was put into the UK section and it seemed a bit messy. I moved this to the top and added the specifics about band from different countries underneath. I also added a sub-section of 'Competitions' to the UK section as to me, at least, it seemed to need a division in there. Sorry if I'm stepping on toes here, & as I said, feel free to revert. Dave 23:46, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Think this is related: I added the bit about a principal cornet and three solo cornets, all playing the same part and the principal taking solos, rather than just having four solo cornets listed. I also added the differentiation between the front and back row cornets. If anyone feels this is wrong do please change it back. Mickthefish 13:38, 29 April 2007 (UTC)


Hello, I think the Bass Trombone (C) is incorrect. The Bass Trombone is pitched in Bb today, and a few decades ago, it was in G. To be consistent with the other instruments, I think someone should change that to Bass Trombone (Bb or G), as those are the pitches of that instrument. I think it is understood that everything playing bass clef uses concert pitch, so the pitch of the instruments is sort of not as important in that case. Comments? .....

Switzerland Section[edit]

Considering the article is on the English version of Wiki, should this sentence not be in English? Dave 22:04, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Done. I'm still not happy with the content though. It's not really an encyclopaedic entry about brass bands in Switzerland, just a link to one band in that country. Also, the statement "the most successful brass band in Switzerland" is uncited. I've added the "complete rewrite" cleanup tag, which I deemed the most appropriate.

Famous bands[edit]

I've started a section on famous bands...feel free you add/edit your own! Put them in a good order too (e.g. the current rankings on http://www.4barsrest.com would be good! It might take a while to update each time though. 82.19.23.152 15:26, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I just made an account That's the ticket 18:33, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

There are quite a few questionable additions given that the section is titled "famous bands". Lanner and District, Tullis Russell, Carharrack & St Day? None of these are even the top, or most famous, band from their region. Also, describing Battle Creek as having "some of the best players worldwide" may in fact be true, but it is not encyclopedic. Any objections before I change some of this? Mandrakeroot (talk) 15:04, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

More accurate title of article?[edit]

Hi guys.

Great article about the British tradition of Brass Banding, but shouldn't the title reflect that?

I see there's been discussion on this "back in the days", but let's finally do it if we're going to do it.

Can we split this into two articles - one on brass bands generally and one on British brass bands?

Thanks AaronRichard 20:30, 7 July 2006 (AEST)


Types of Brass band[edit]

(I noticed that "what is a brass ensemble" was being offered to be merged with this article) as a brass player, I am rather strongly opinionated about brass divisions. I would consider a 'brass band' to be a british-style colliers' band. Things such as the Canadian Brass should be referred to by what they are (e.g. quintet, like them; octet; etc.). Once you get above 10-12 pieces, and still have only brass and necessary percussion, I believe it should be referred to as a Brass Ensemble or a large Brass Ensemble, because it does not fit the category of a colliers' band due to the concert repertoire. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 65.219.211.133 (talk) 01:56, 2 March 2007 (UTC).


I would agree wholeheartedly with this opinion. Mickthefish 11:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Appropriateness of Australian paragraph[edit]

This paragraph seems to be rather inappropriate:

"The Australian Brass band movement strives to move forward and thus be competitive with their English counter parts, but are constantly undermined by people and companies trying to make an easy dollar out of the participants. Also, we need a new and improved form of magazine that, like the current one, is not biased."

Comments? --125.254.30.100 08:33, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject Marching band[edit]

I'm not sure whether this should be raised on this page or in the WikiProject's pages (so I'll put it in both); but I don't think this article should be in this WikiProject.

A British-style brass band is not a "marching band", by the definition of that term in the Marching Band article. Brass bands do sometimes march ... but that doesn't make every (or indeed any) brass band a "marching band".

I mean no disrespect to marching bands or to the WikiProject - I just think this is an inappropriate categorisation, and likely to be confusing.

132.244.246.25 (talk) 16:06, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Recording[edit]

The recording of the Hunter's Chorus is played by a concert band, not a brass band. There are quite audible flutes and clarinets on the top line. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.34.33.75 (talk) 21:56, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it's still a concert band. I'm removing this recording. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.174.235.99 (talk) 03:09, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Stalybridge Old Band[edit]

To the best of my knowledge as a former member of the band, Stalybridge Old Band does not claim to be the first brass band, but the oldest surviving.

Oldest surviving amateur band in the UK still playing? The town of Izegem in Belgium has a band which is 3 years older (1806). This is however a 'fanfare' band (slightly larger, more bugles, and a sax). On the other hand, the Izegem band during it's initial formation didn't have saxophones, and during the formation of the Stalybridge band, the typical tenor horns hadn't been invented yet, thus it was not a 'British brass band' either.

leo   86.83.56.115 (talk) 13:47, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

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