The British Army and the music profession: the impact of regimental bands on the status and identity of professional musicians

Barlow, Helen (2018). The British Army and the music profession: the impact of regimental bands on the status and identity of professional musicians. In: Golding, Rosemary ed. The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. London: Routledge, pp. 72–89.

URL: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/978135196575...

Abstract

Over the course of the long nineteenth century, the status and identity of the musicians in British army bands changed fundamentally in terms of the backgrounds from which they came and the professional standards to which they rose. For many, this also meant an elevation of their position in society. The impact on the status and identity of professional musicians in Britain more widely would be significant. In the 1770s, when bands began to become standard components of British army regiments, a relatively small number of people were employed in music in Britain, those people were highly concentrated in London, and training for a career in music was still a matter of apprenticeship or the passing on of skills within families of musicians. By 1910, the number of both professional and amateur musicians had proliferated, supported by a massive expansion of the commercial infrastructure for music; and the musical education and opportunities available to ab initio players, irrespective of class, had been revolutionised. While it was not the only factor, military music played a critical part in this transformation of the music profession and the musical culture of Britain.

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