A British-style brass band is a musical ensemble comprising a standardised range of brass and percussion instruments. The modern form of the brass band in the United Kingdom dates back to the 19th century, with a vibrant tradition of competition based around local industry and communities.
Brass bands were very popular throughout the United States in the late 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. Well known bands of virtuoso musicians toured widely, and most towns had their own bands that put on weekend music concerts. Other groups, ranging from benevolent societies to large factories, would often have a band. The brass band movement has undergone a resurgence in the late twentieth century, lead by the North American Brass Band Association (NABBA).
Mainly based in the UK, Salvation Army brass bands have run parallel to the main brass band movement for almost a century.
One E flat Soprano Cornet serves as the piccolo voice. It requires a delicate touch and is used frequently as a soloist or to add brightness to the cornet tutti sound.
Four B flat Solo Cornets are the lead voices in he ensemble. The use of four cornets permits players to switch off on parts that are frequently continuous throughout the entire piece. Divisi parts are also frequent. The four solo players should ideally match each other in sound.
Two B flat Second Cornets and two B Flat Third Cornets fill out the cornet choir.
One B flat Repiano Cornet is the roving middle linebacker of the section, often used as a solo voice or doubling the Soprano Cornet in unison or at the octave. The Repiano is also used to add weight to the other Cornet parts.
One B flat Flugelhorn serves as a bridge to the Tenor Horns. It is a frequent solo voice and is often used as the top voice in the horn family.
Three E flat Tenor Horns (Solo, First, and Second) often perform as a choir with flugelhorn and baritones. The Solo Horn is a frequent solo voice. Also commonly referred to as the Alto Horn in the United States; it is an upright, three valve instrument, with a lighter sound than the French Horn.
Two B flat Baritones are often doubled with Euphoniums but work best as low extensions of the Tenor Horn section. As separate voices, their ability to blend and add a middle-low voice without heaviness is a unique feature of the brass band.
Two B Flat Euphoniums are the predominant solo tenor voices and also function as tutti enforcers with the basses.
Two B flat Tenor Trombones provide punch and drive because of their cylindrical construction.
One Bass Trombone is both a low support for the trombone section and an additional weight to the tubas. The bass trombone is the only instrument that reads in concert pitch.
Two E flat Tubas and two B flat Tubas give composers an extraordinary flexibility in dictating the sound of the bass part. The lighter quality of the E flats can have all the lyricism of the Euphoniums while the fatter B flat Tuba sound adds weight. In octaves or fifths, the section can give the brass band and incredible richness of tone.
Three Percussionists will cover the entire spectrum of percussion instruments. Timpani, battery, and mallets are standard for almost all compositions.
Interested trumpet and French horn players are strongly encouraged to consider the Brass Band of Nashville. Typically, a new brass band is formed using trumpets and french horns as cornets and tenor horns are not as popular in the US. NABBA has recognized this and established an "Open Section" in their annual championship competition. Bands entering the competition in this section are not required to strictly conform to the british brass band instrumentation. Typically, bands in this section later choose to migrate to the british standard to be able to compete in the other sections at NABBA. So yes, if you are an interested french horn or trumpet player please give brass banding a try and most likely you will enjoy it and later may want to obtain a used cornet or tenor horn.
The North American Brass Band Association(NABBA) was founded to foster, promote and otherwise encourage the establishment, growth and development of British-style brass bands in the United States and Canada. NABBA supports and provides resources to its members and endeavors to advance the public's appreciation of the British-style brass band. NABBA sponsors and holds the annual NABBA Championship competition. Member bands compete in several divisions designed to foster strong competition opportunities for bands of various levels of development. Competition is also held in various individual solo and ensemble categories. The event is the capstone event for NABBA members and bands.
The Brass Band of Nashville will be legally set up as 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors made up of band members and elected by band members.
We rehearse weekly, Thursday evenings at 7:00pm at Vine Street Christian Church. Visitors are always welcome. Bring your horn!