"A history of British military music is much needed." -Musical Times (1897).
"The subject of military music .... has been strangely neglected in Germany and England."
-W. Barclay Squire in Grove's Dictionary
"It is a curious fact that .... little or no attention is given to military bands, either in .... musical dictionaries or encyclopedias." -Robert A. Mark in Music and Musicians
"While historians revelled in descriptions of the grandeur of ecclesiastical compositions, of the music of the princely palaces or the royal playhouses, the music of the people has been passed over with almost contemptuous indifference .... as if they were .... ashamed to mention the poor cousin who found inspiration in the open air, or 'went a-soldiering.'" - J. A. Kappey in Military Music
THESE few extracts, serving in the van, as it were, may show how real is the complaint of musical littérateurs, that England, the land of such great military fame, should have no history of its military music. Not long ago, a well-known authority on military bands in America, Major F. A. Mahan, contributed a series of articles on "Military Band History and Organisation" to the "Military Service Journal" (U.S.A.), in which he apologised for so many references to French bands, explaining that France was the only country that possessed any literature on the subject. His survey, which even made reference to Austria and Germany, ignored England entirely -
To a certain extent his remarks were correct, although it seems strange that Major Mahan had not heard of the present author's "Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band: An Account of the Rise of Military Music in England" (1904), a work that had even been reviewed in American papers, and much of it reproduced (without permission) in the pages of the "Metronome."
However, as I have remarked, Major Mahan had real cause for his complaint. Take Engel's "Literature of National Music"; the only works he mentions, relative to our subject, are Kastner's "Manuel Général de la Musique Militaire" (1848) and his "Chants de l'Armée Français" (1855). Matthew, in his "Literature of Music," refers only to the first book of Kastner and Day's "Catalogue of Instruments at the Royal Military Exhibition." Grove's "Dictionary" enumerates the foregoing and adds Perrin's brochure on "Military Bands" (1863), and the present author's "Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band" (1904), which is referred to as "an excellent book of its kind." In Breitkopf and Härtel's "International Anthology of Musical Books," the last-named work alone is mentioned. There is no need therefore to apologise for the appearance of the present work, which, with the author's earlier book, are the only works on this subject in the English language.
For special information concerning military band instrumentation and arrangement in England, the following works may be consulted: J. Clarke's "Catalogue of Wind Instruments" (185-), R. Porteous's "Bandmasters' Atlas" (1854), Mandel's "Textbook on the Instrumentation of Military Bands" (about 1860), and his "System of Music" (1863), Tamplini's "The Bandsman," Palgrave Simpson's "Bandmaster's Guide" and Griffiths's "The Military Band."
The history and organisation of French bands may be found in Kastner's two books already mentioned, Neukomm's "Histoire de la Musique Militaire" (1889), Perrin's "Military Bands" (1863), Oscar Commetant's "La Musique de la Garde Républicaine " (1894), and the "Journal Spécial de Musique Militaire," a periodical founded as far back as 1864. N. Wieprecht's reorganisation of Prussian bands is to be seen in Kalkbrenner's "Wilhelm Wieprecht: sein Leben und Werken" (1882). The same author's "Die Organisation der Militairmusikchöre aller Lander" (1884) gives valuable information concerning the organization of the world's military bands.