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Monday, 6 February 2012


The wind, brass, and percussion ensemble most often considered a band originated in 15th-century Germany, where ensembles consisting chiefly of oboes and bassoons formed part of military life. German musicians joined foreign groups, and wind bands spread eventually throughout France and England.

In colonial America neither Puritans nor Quakers permitted bands; but the music-loving Germans, Dutch, and Swedes brought their old tunes to the new land. In the 1630s a Dutch band played in New Amsterdam (now New York City). Small German bands later entertained Boston with their lively airs.

Derived from the French word bande ("company"), the term band was first applied in England to the "king's band" of 24 violins at the court of Charles II. This was modeled on the French King Louis XIV's group of violins, a development of the practice of employing musicians at court and in noble households that was widespread throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Professional bands in the United States, such as those developed just after the Civil War by Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, competed in attracting virtuoso soloists. Gilmore, whose musical skill was matched by a flair for showmanship, was particularly influential in promoting technical skill and in assembling a repertoire of high quality.

The immense popularity of dancers Vernon and Irene Castle in the years before World War I led to the popularity of social dancing. Popular songs also began to be recorded, and in 1913 the Castles' bandleader, James Reese Europe, directed the first recordings by a band of black musicians.

First class passengers on the Titanic were given a music book containing 352 songs which the eight-strong band on board had to know by heart in case of requests. Famously, the musicians played on as the ship sank; none survived.

The book The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley, was the inspiration behind Jim Morrison naming his band The Doors

The band Duran Duran got their name from an astronaut in the 1968 Jane Fonda movie Barbarella.

Coldplay are named after a British psychology book called Child's Reflections, Cold Play.

In 2005, 3,500 music fans were polled for Planet Rock Radio to make the "Rock's Ultimate Super Group", where they could choose the best musician of all time at each instrument. They ended up making Led Zeppelin.

When Metallica performed a show under a dome at the Carlini Argentine Base in Antarctica on December 8, 2013, they became the first band in history to play on all seven continents.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

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