Oh, Listen to the Band – songs inspired by brass bands

wsAs brass bands gained in popularity, composers and arrangers naturally produced pieces to supply the ensembles with the music for their craft. It was not long before some of those pieces became arranged for solo or piano performance, sometimes with words attached. These first appeared in the 1870s through to the early 1900s.

A little later, songs were composed which featured bands, extolling the musicians’ abilities, the “sweetness” of the music, and other aspects of bands and their relation to the singer. These were particularly prevalent in the USA, mainly being produced by the talented songwriters of Tin Pan Alley in New York.

In some cases these were specifically written in relation to a particular band or band leader (e.g. the Ringgold Band, John Philip Sousa, and Helen May Butler), but in most cases they were sentimental or comic songs that found favour in the vaudeville theatres and, later, in the nation’s parlours as sheet music for piano.

Some examples from the golden age of Tin Pan Alley are given in the article below:


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