Marching bands have been a part of history for centuries and have played an integral part in many cultural events throughout the world. From the ancient Greeks to the modern day, marching bands have been a cornerstone of celebration, pageantry, and patriotism. Through the ages, the instruments used in marching bands have changed, evolved, and become more diverse. From the snare and bass drums of the Revolutionary War to modern-day electronic instruments and synthesizers, the most popular instruments used in marching bands have changed drastically over the centuries. This article takes a closer look at the most popular instruments used in marching bands throughout the centuries, from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
Ancient Greek Marching Bands
The earliest known marching bands were in Ancient Greece. These bands were actually religious organizations, and they mainly consisted of drums and cymbals. In fact, the earliest known cymbals date back to 2500 B.C., and they were created in Ancient Greece. The Ancient Greeks believed that cymbals were sacred and were associated with the goddesses Aphrodite and Athena. They were used in many different ceremonies and rites, including funerals. In fact, many Ancient Greek tombs have been found with cymbals. The marching bands of Ancient Greece may have consisted of only cymbals and drums, but the Greeks also came up with a very unique and interesting way of synchronizing the instruments. To keep the musicians in time, they used a water clock. This was basically a large vessel or bowl that was filled with water. The musicians would have to keep time by pouring water from one vessel to another.
Medieval Marching Bands
Medieval marching bands were basically just a group of people who would march and play music. These bands were used for many different purposes, including to celebrate special events or holidays, and were mainly made up of shawms, various types of horns, bagpipes, drums, and cymbals. The bands were used mainly at royal weddings, coronations, and other celebrations. The musicians in Medieval marching bands weren’t really marching musicians per se. In fact, they weren’t even walking in a formation, as they were just walking with the rest of the crowd. They just happened to be playing music. Plus, they didn’t really march as much as they just walked while they played their instruments. The only exception to this is the bagpipes, which were actually played while the performer was walking.
Renaissance Marching Bands
The Renaissance marching bands were similar to today’s marching bands, except there weren’t any sousaphones or marching tubas. In Renaissance marching bands, there were actually only about 20 different instruments, compared to the 50 or 60 that there are in today’s marching bands. It’s safe to say that the most popular instruments used in marching bands during the Renaissance were shawms, sackbuts, drums, and bagpipes. The shawms and sackbuts were two different types of instruments. The shawm was an oboe-like instrument, while the sackbut was a type of trumpet. The players of these instruments were also the musicians who would sing the parts during the concerts. The bagpipes, which were a common instrument in Medieval marching bands, also remained in use in the Renaissance. The drums, however, were a new instrument.
Revolutionary War Marching Bands
The Revolutionary War marching bands consisted mainly of fife and drum corps. These marching bands were used for many different purposes, including to inspire courage and patriotism in the soldiers, to celebrate special events or holidays, and to raise money for charity. The bands were also used to send secret coded messages. The fife and drum corps were made up of two different instruments: the fife and the drum. The fife was a woodwind instrument, similar to what we know as the modern-day flute. The drum, on the other hand, was a percussion instrument, and it was usually played with a wooden stick.
Modern Marching Bands
Modern-day marching bands consist of a wide variety of different instruments. In fact, the only instruments that are still in use from the Revolutionary War marching bands are the drums and the fife. The other instruments in a modern-day marching band vary depending on what style of music the band is playing. If a band is playing pop or rock music, the most popular instruments used in the band would be electric guitars, electric keyboards, bass guitars, and drum kits. If, on the other hand, a band is playing traditional or classic music, the most popular instruments used would be horns, woodwinds, and percussion instruments.
As we’ve discussed, the most popular instruments used in marching bands throughout history have changed, evolved, and become more diverse. From the snare and bass drums of the Revolutionary War to modern-day electronic instruments and synthesizers, the most popular instruments used in marching bands have changed drastically over the centuries.