Before beginning the course, we must define what a band is.
For the purposes of this course, a band is an ensemble made up of wind instruments and percussion.
The standard idea we think of when we envision a band is the concert band. A group of 30-70 players (or more) seated on a concert stage.
There is some question as to what exactly constitutes a band? For instance, does Mozart’s Gran Partita for thirteen instrument a work for band? What about the many works for the orchestral wind section without strings? What about the original orchestration of Rhapsody in Blue, the so-called jazz band version, that utilizes Violins and a Bass, but no other strings? Does a band have to use “instrument x” to qualify? What about “section y?”
In some regards, all of these are bands. A band can have a very flexible ensemble and still qualify as a band. I have seen many sundry works programmed on so-called band concerts, yet none were scored for what we think of as a “band.”
In the broadest sense, a band is subset of the broader term orchestra. Orchestra being defined as a large group of musicians playing together. What applies to the orchestra, broadly speaking, applies to the band. But the devil is in the details.
What I will not be covering:
- This is a much more specialized area that falls outside of the scope of what I can cover.
- Again, like the jazz band, outside of the context of the course.
- There are so many great texts on this subject that I feel I can add nothing to them.
What I will be covering:
- Concert Bands
- Wind Ensembles
- Wind Symphonies
- Educational/School Bands
- Marching Bands
- Brass Bands
- Various European Band
- The history of band orchestration
- Textures in wind band writing
- Bands as the could be
Next: What is Orchestration?