Talk:Concert band

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Is there really a point to list the transcriptions? It seems very random and misleading--there's hundreds, if not thousands, more that have been done. Perhaps change the title to "commonly preformed transcriptions"? Melodia Chaconne 14:39, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

I would disagree. There are only certain transcriptions that have made their way into the repertoire. ie: Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral, Festive Overture, etc. These pieces are seen today as serious work for the wind band, even though they are transcriptions. I think the title "commonly performed transcriptions" is simply an issue of symantics. --Jfulkerson 02:35, 14 September 2005 (UTC)Jfulkerson
What do you think about pieces that originally written for orchestra and then transcribed (or re-written) for band by the composer? I know that the Schuman New England Tryptich falls in this category and I think the Copland Outdoor Overture does too. Do these pieces belong in the original works or transcriptions category? -NetherlandishYankee 14:27, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
i agree with the first point, and actually think that perhaps these sections need removing, perhaps being replaced by one or two examples to tell the reader about the style of music played, rather than a boring list, that is incomplete and very biased towards peices that the author has played or heard — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ssamhe (talkcontribs) 08:56, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Original works[edit]

Hi, I was one of the ones who originally divided the list of original works up into "established cornerstones," "important pieces," and "gaining acceptance." I'm a college undergraduate (22 yrs. old) and I'm certainly not a definitive authority on concert band repertoire. Having said that, I feel like I have heard and played a LOT of literature and I have worked with and talked to a lot of VERY knowledgeable people, so I feel like my GENERAL ideas about the pieces universally - that's universally - regarded as major band works have some validity. So... I'm not sure I agree with some of the recent changes in categorization, especially those in the the "established cornerstones" list. Specifically:

  • Schwanter, Recoil - isn't this piece brand new? I played it at school in March 2005 and I'm pretty sure that was one of the first performances.
  • Nelson, Passacaglia on BACH - an important piece, but I would argue it doesn't belong in the same category as the Schuman New England Tryptich or the Holst Suites.
  • the Stravinsky pieces - ditto. Also the Octet is chamber music, which I think belongs in a different category than concert band music.
  • Schwantner, In Evening's Stillness - a great piece, but I would argue way too new (1996)and not performed often enough to make this list.
  • both Messaien pieces - ...okay. I'd never heard or even heard OF either of these pieces until I found the original lists of repertoire on this site. I'll willingly concede these if someone can prove that these really are "established cornerstones" of the band repertoire, not just because they're by a famous composer.
  • Nelson, Rocky Point Holiday - this was removed and I would strongly argue that it does belong on this list or at least the "important works" category. It's performed a LOT, and at the time of its writing (1969) was revolutionary in the way it used the band palette - it got away from block scoring and used much more versatile, chamber-like, "film-score"-type orchestration. Definitely belongs somewhere in here.

Also I would ask why was the entire "gaining acceptance" list was deleted without any discussion. I thought I made clear in the header that I was not trying to document every "flash in the pan," but rather those 10-20 year-old works that are being performed more and more often and on their way to becoming standard concert band canon. Again, I think most band authorities would agree the pieces on that list had some validity.

I would appreciate a reply from whoever made these changes... not that I think that my opinion is necessarily valuable but I don't think these changes should have been made without discussion. Thanks! --NetherlandishYankee 21:59, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

As a follow up, it's now been more than a week since the above post, and there has still been no discussion or justification of the changes - especially the deletion of the "rapidly gaining acceptance" list. I sincerely believe that my original lists had more validity than those that they were replaced with, for the reasons given above. Unless there is some discussion on the matter in the next couple of days, I will incorporate a few of the edits but otherwise revert the lists to their state on Dec 26. I hope I am not out of line, but I feel the changes on Dec 27-28 lowered the quality of the lists and were definitely made without discussion. Sincerely, --NetherlandishYankee 11:48, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Hey, as you may have noticed I did a partial revert of those changes, while incorporating a few of them. Some more edits I have made or would like to make:

  • I found out that the date of publication for Ron Nelson's Passacaglia on BACH is 1993, which I thought was just a bit too new for it to be on the same list as Hanson's Chorale and Alleluia and Nixon's Fiesta del Pacifico - though I know it is performed a lot. So, I moved it for the time being to the "rapidly gaining acceptance" list.
  • Clifton Williams, Dramatic Variations - Googling it yielded no positive matches and I think it may have been mistaken for his Dramatic Essay. However, I chose to delete it altogether, partly because even the proper title didn't yield that many Google hits, and partly because it's a trumpet solo with band accompaniment, which I think we should avoid on these lists. Feel free to add it back in if you disagree.
  • Penderecki, Pittsburgh Overture - I tried to find out a bit about this piece and saw conflicting data about its instrumentation. One site said it was for "wind band and percussion," while another said it was for "woodwind and timpani." As for the Messiaen Colors of the Celestial City, I've discovered that it's for solo piano and brass and percussion, plus 3 clarinets. I dunno... these pieces' instrumentations make me question whether they should be considered band music at all. Ditto on the Stravinsky Octet. If we're going to include these we would have to include all the Mozart serenades, some Beethoven pieces, the Dvorak serenade, and the Ernst Toch Spiel, which would all be extremely worthwhile in an article on wind music, but not necessarily in one on concert band music, which I feel should in general fit the orchestration described in this article... what does anyone else think? This brings me to my next point...
  • Messiaen, Exspecto - I found out that this piece is written essentially for the same type of ensemble as the Schwantner "band" works, which is to say an orchestral winds section, lacking euphoniums and saxophones. However, because Schwantner's mountains was written for the Eastman Wind Ensemble (I think), his works have become accepted as part of the band canon, while I have never, ever heard of a band playing the Penderecki or either of the Messiaen pieces. Googling them yielded no copies of band concert programs on which they had been performed, which isn't the be-all end-all criteria, but it's a pretty good indication. So... I'm tempted to delete them, but I don't want to without discussion. It's true that they are by extremely famous composers, but that doesn't automatically make them important pieces in the band repertoire. Maybe we could create a separate list of wind/band pieces by (otherwise) famous composers and move them there?--NetherlandishYankee 11:50, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I hate to cut into all the work you've put into this article (and you've certainly done a lot!), but I think that the list of works is getting a bit overgrown. The whole article is getting a bit list-heavy, with the lists of compositions, directors, and bands; this list seems to be the easiest to pare down. I'm going to try an experiment, and replace it all with a list of composers who have contributed significantly (which seems to me to be a little more valuable). Let's discuss it here or on talk pages, and we can always revert later. SingCal 04:24, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

As a college freshman at Oberlin back in the 1980s, one of my most cherished concert memories was a performance of the Wind Ensemble playing Messiaen's Et Expecto. Perhaps because the composer was any rate, it was a mountaintop experience. It's a puzzlement why this work languishes, for Messiaen's musical language is a worthwhile esthetic experience for players and audiences alike. Robertwalton 18:06, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Classification of ensembles[edit]

There may be a need to discern more carefully between "professional" and "community" bands. A reasonable number of ensembles are maintained at a much higher standard than open-admission community bands, yet fall short of providing full-time employment for its members. Any ideas for what that category could be called? Ezratrumpet 18:00, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the quality of the band is really a necessary consideration. Even a professional band could sound like crap. =) I think it would be sufficient to say that the talent level can vary widely among community bands; some are open-admission and others can be very selective. Powers T 12:27, 12 August 2006 (UTC)


I am seeking information on the pyramid of sound I was heard attributed to frances macbeth.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Try the Wikipedia Reference Desk! Powers 20:50, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

"Notable" community bands?[edit]

This section is totally subjective. If there is one community band in this country that's "notable" it's the Northshore Concert Band. IMO this commentary should be removed; I could name ten other bands that are at least as "notable" as the ensembles listed here.

The other option is to define criteria for notability. We could spin this off into another category if necessary. I'm not sure that I agree that deletion is the way to go, but revision is certainly an option. Ideas?--Ezratrumpet 04:28, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the important thing is to have a reason for notability. It doesn't matter if there might be some bands that are equally notable as the ones we list, but the ones we list should be notable for some reason. Arguably, for example, the Keystone Winds are notable because they're founded and conducted by a widely-published composer (Jack Stamp). Also, I'm not familiar with the Northshore Concert Band, but I'm certain that the Allentown Community Band is at least equally notable (due to longevity). Neither is listed in this article, though. =) Powers T 12:27, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I played in the North Shore Concert Band for a year in the '80s, and it is definitely not a "community band." It is made up of band directors, music teachers, and semi-professionals drawn from the entire Chicago metropolitan area. It has a long history, so it probably deserve mentioning in the article (perhaps just a link to its own article), but it isn't a true "community band". —SaxTeacher (talk) 15:49, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Your own web site has a "community band resource" section [1], so get off that high horse, SaxTeacher. There's nothing wrong with being the pre-eminent community band in the country, but as good as you are, you're not a professional organization. 11:10, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Other U.S. Military Bands[edit]

From the subheading "Other U.S. Military Bands," one would normally infer that this is a list of all other U.S. military bands, which it is not. I would suggest adding a qualifier such as "Notable" after "Other"--LoboSooner 00:24, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Concert Bands in a global context[edit]

Much of the most interesting activity in the concert band world takes place in Japan and in the Netherlands. This article needs to reflect this. --Robertwalton 07:30, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

I would tend to agree - also some inclusion of UK concert bands should be considered, given that many of the composers listed above are British, the huge amount of work performed by organisations such as BASBWE, and the high level of concert band playing in the UK at school, Youth, and University level --Brecker 21:22, 29 October 2006 (UTC)


Regarding the section on important band transcriptions: It seems unencyclopedic at best and irresponsible at worst to praise these transcriptions as being so important to the genre and then never mention the people who actually transcribed them. After all, without the transcribers these orchestrations wouldn't exist. I'll add the ones I know to the list; I hope that our collective knowledge is enough to fill the holes and be sure that we're giving credit where credit is due. --SingCal 20:36, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Collegiate Band Directors[edit]

Should this page list a large number of collegiate band directors or not? They seem to be deleted and reinstated on a fairly regular basis. Is there any point having a list at all? After all, "foremost" is highly subjective and each of us could always think of another director X which we believe belongs in a group that contains director Y. Would it be reasonable to require the list to be limited to notables only (ie only those with their own entries)? Mactabby 20:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps this list should be given a separate article. Concert band is actually an international phenomenon, and there are at least as many, if not more, top quality bands in Japan and Europe than in the collegiate "scene". This article is at present seriously unbalanced. Robertwalton 19:22, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Here's what I suggest (and what I've decided to be bold and instate): the only directors that make the list are ones who have separate articles about them. This means that all the most deserving figures are mentioned, but that the list doesn't get out of hand; and it also with help fight the temptation for everyone to post the names of their band directors (which I'm guessing has happened at least one somewhere along the way). Listing names that don't lead to more information doesn't really help us learn any more about the Wind Ensemble, and I think it makes it quite cluttered. Let's talk before anymore changes are made. SingCal 04:51, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm fully in support of that. It might also help to encourage people to add new entries where they think the individual is notable enough to deserve it, so there's an added benefit. Mactabby 12:31, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Some deleted people are quite, if not very, important in the field, for example Timothy Reynish. I'll try to get an article up about him. Robertwalton 03:00, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
First - let's get the list of band directors out of this article and into its own. Consider: most people who go to read an encyclopedia article about "Concert Band" are not looking for a list of band directors. Second: a list seems like a useful thing to have, though perhaps not encyclopedic - but it should be changed from "collegiate" to "famous" or "notable" band directors. (If they are worth having on their own list - and people who merit their own article seems to be a good criteria - then it doesn't matter whether they direct college bands or other bands.) —SaxTeacher (talk) 14:37, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Ok, that's a good option - but you could also achieve this by creating a category of 'Wind Band and Symphonic Wind" under Category:Conductors and edit all the conductors with their own pages to include that category... What would a listing page add, other than the opportunity to add redlinks? Mactabby 22:31, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

This is an excellent proposal. Robertwalton 13:25, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Professional Bands[edit]

I have removed a number of bands listed as "professional" which are not. Unless the band is paying all its musicians and staff (and more than a token amount) it is not "professional." And there is no subjective measure available to qualify a band as "professional sounding." 11:10, 18 March 2007 (UTC)


Is there any point in noting the regional differences in instrumentation in concert bands, for example the british-style band having cornets and the US version trumpets, and a mixture of the two depending on circumstances and availability, or is this taken to be included with the statement that instrumentation is by no means standardised? Mickthefish 13:28, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Trumpets and cornets are different instruments that sound noticeably different. The trumpet has a cylindrical bore whereas the cornet has a conical bore. The trumpet has a dark, brassy sound that's been preferred by classical or symphonic composers for generations. The cornet has a brighter, sweeter sound preferred by jazz musicians in the 19th and early 20th centuries. To produce a "symphonic" sound, the principal brass in a band should be cylindrical-bore, that is trumpets and trombones with lower-brass euphoniums and tubas to add warmth to the overall sound. The British-style brass bands are all conical-bore brass from cornets to tubas with trombones included for coloration. Most U.S. bands are symphonic after the Sousa model. Virgil H. Soule (talk) 05:09, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

Richard Saucedo[edit]

Why is he on the prominent composers list? All he does is a few watered down pieces for middle schools for Hal Leonard, hardly true band music. I've removed him. Justin Tokke (talk) 20:23, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

       Hear, hear. A bit brutal, but accurate.

E-flat Clarinet[edit]

What should be the standard listed in the Instrumentation section? One or two? I expect that one is the way to go because the only standard repertoire piece that does this is Holst's First Suite in E-flat. I've changed it back to one. Any other takers? Justin Tokke (talk) 16:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Definitely one. Holst was unusual as usual P0mbal (talk) 16:56, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Tuba Annotations[edit]

I've never heard of this Tuba/String Bass thing where the bass plays the uppor octave. It makes no sense since many of these same editions have a separate string bass part. Please give a source or I'll revert it.Justin Tokke (talk) 02:49, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

No one at all? If I don't see a response by tomorrow, I'll be inclined to remove it. Justin Tokke (talk) 00:44, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Removed the nonsense. The top octave of the 2 is for the double bass if there isn't a separate part. P0mbal (talk) 17:00, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree with Justin Tokke. This practice seems rather unusual to me, since it is commonplace to play the upper part as written on tuba. (talk) 00:54, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Percussion Instrumentation[edit]

This category is so potentially copious that it is silly to even have a "possible unpitched" or "possible pitched" listing. You either have to list them all (which would fill the page) or find some statistic somewhere to support a "most often used" list (the Percussive Arts Society might actually have such a statistic). Maybe just replace it with "various pitched and unpitched percussion" with links to their own respective wikipedia entries. This way we don't make it seem like congas are part of the standard wind ensemble instrumentation, while almglocken are not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:11, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

It's called common sense. Study scores and you'll see that these are the most common instruments for percussion. There's no such thing as "percussion equality". Get over it. Justin Tokke (talk) 15:30, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Also, I removed the bit about only usually scoring for three timpani. I have no idea where that came from; four is standard, regardless of the number of pitches desired by the composer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:17, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Bands, especially school bands, will only have three drums. While four drums are used quite often, the standard is three for bands b/c the timpani have a less important role in the band compared to orchestra. Again study scores to see that Timpani parts are usualy only three pitches. Justin Tokke (talk)

Wow, Mr. Tokke... Why don't we just put your name at the top of the article? You seem to have taken over. As for the common sense, I have one better: professional experience. My master's degree is in percussion performance, and I perform professionally--including with orchestras and bands. Study scores? Indeed. My doctorate is in music composition and I was a high school band director for years. I like how the undergraduate trombonist is the expert in percussion instrumentation. For all you know, I could be one of your professors. Moderator... are you reading this? The instrumentation section is a lousy example of Wikipedia Overinclusion Syndrome. It is so laden with footnotes, possibilities, and exceptions that its effectiveness is significantly reduced. A link to the concert percussion article is sufficient, and 3 timpani is not standard anywhere. Composers of pieces for young players just don't always need to use all four drums for such harmonically simple works. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:51, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Whom do you mean by "moderator"? Powers T 16:50, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Stop with the bickering, but in reality, whilst some instruments in the percussion section are more common than others, the composer will often choose some really odd choices, and as a result concert band music can contain just about any percussion instrument, tuned or untuned, so listing them is silly — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ssamhe (talkcontribs) 08:59, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

List of concert band literature[edit]

Can we get some people to make this article better? I have been "fighting" with a single other editor on pointlessness like formating and Transcriber names. We need some third opinions Please take a look and add your own two cents! Justin Tokke (talk) 13:27, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Gaping hole in History section[edit]

The evolution from "military bands" to "wind ensembles" makes no mention of the heydey of professional concert bands in America (and elsewhere?). From Patrick Gilmore and John Philip Sousa (who standardized concert band instrumentation for decades to come) to Arthur Pryor's Band and dozens of others who recorded extensively from the 1890's on, this whole era is omitted. Can somebody take a crack at this? Dlovrien (talk) 23:16, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

You seem to know more about it than I, for one, do. Powers T 12:55, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


The Ottrott band is fascinating, but definitely not a typical concert band - especially that big curved horn (what is it?). The photo with the rainbow effect behind is also not typical and you can't see the instruments too well. What is needed is a photo, the audience's view of a concert band performing where one can see the players and instruments clearly. Come on, somebody! P0mbal (talk) 17:07, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

The photo is a little silly. I suggest a quality publicity shot from the US Marine band or something. Justin Tokke (talk) 21:17, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I changed it to a better picture. Zenkai251 (talk) 18:53, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Better-looking, perhaps, but it's not a free photo. (See the full resolution version here.) You didn't take it, and you're not the copyright holder. I've tagged it for speedy deletion. Powers T 02:31, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for that, I'm still learning about all these different processes. I've just uploaded a free photo. Zenkai251 (talk) 18:13, 28 August 2011 (UTC)


Seeing that there's 15 million different names for the "Concert Band", might there be a "Nomenclature" or "Etymology" section to show what all the different names mean? Because "Concert Band" isn't the same as "Marching Band" which isn't the same as "Wind Ensemble" which isn't the same as "School band" which isn't the same as "Symphonic Band"....etc. etc. etc. etc. Justin Tokke (talk) 21:17, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with this sentiment. IMHO we are doing a poor job of explaining the relationships between different types of bands. My suggestion is that a new generic article be created to discuss the entire tradition of "wind band" or "wind and percussion band". This article could be used to write a solid history of the tradition and then link to the various types of modern ensembles that are decended from it by function (concert, marching), location (military, school) or instrumentation (brass, various field music units could be mentioned). Each of these articles have separate history sections that sometimes reference each other but the connection isn't always clear. Do others think this would be a valuable endeavor? Telescopium1 (talk) 04:43, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, anything that increases specificity and clarity on Wikipedia is a good thing. Softlavender (talk) 04:48, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
In Dutch, 'ensemble' (for example, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble) is used for smaller orchestras only, isn't this the case in English?
I agree that a generic article about wind orchestras and bands would be a good idea. This article here should then focus on concert bands (the larger orchestras with all kinds of wind instruments). It seems that the Japanese Wikipedia (Google Translate was my friend) has not only a thorough article on wind orchestras in general (ja:吹奏楽) but also separate articles on symphonic wind bands (ja:シンフォニック・バンド), concert bands (ja:コンサート・バンド), wind ensembles (ja:ウインド・アンサンブル) and wind orchestras (ja:ウインド・オーケストラ). Bever (talk) 00:24, 1 March 2017 (UTC)


Is the Piccolo really element of all Standard Instrumentation? Percy Aldrige Grainger for example did not use Piccolo in all his peaces. Aside in standard Bavarian wind music the Piccolo is replaced by the E-flat clarinet. Shouldn't this be marked as in case of the second Alto Saxophone? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Just me in personal (talkcontribs) 22:35, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

  • Yes, without doubt, one Piccolo is a standard for modern Concert Band, as is one E-flat Clarinet and a 2nd Alto Sax.P0mbal (talk) 21:58, 9 June 2011 (UTC)


The picture at the top of the page shows a harp, which is not a typical member of a wind ar concert band, perhaps somebody could try to find a new one, even if an ambiguous instrument is just slightly less visable this would make it less misleading — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ssamhe (talkcontribs) 08:52, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

More international please[edit]

This article is so focused on America that I am still not sure if the concert band is the same as similar orchestras in continental Europe (orchestre d'harmonie / harmonieorkest / Harmonieorchester) or that is a different kind. Bever (talk) 00:37, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Because of the large amounts of unreferenced material (which I just removed), the article appears to have been written by just one or two editors, no doubt Americans with little experience of wind bands outside their own country. (Though Japan is mentioned once or twice.) It seems less overwhelmingly American now, but still needs more (properly referenced) information on continental Europe, at least. I would also like to see more (anything at all) on bands in South America, Australia, and other parts of the world where wind bands exist.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:12, 1 March 2017 (UTC)