Amateur brass and wind bands in Southern England between the late eighteenth century and circa 1900

Lomas, Michael John (1990). Amateur brass and wind bands in Southern England between the late eighteenth century and circa 1900. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines and offers explanations for the development of largely working-class amateur brass and wind bands in southern England in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.

It begins by describing the beginnings of widespread amateur banding and considers the contribution made to the later development of bands by militia and volunteer bandsp church bands and civilian secular bands in the period from the late eighteenth century up to about Queen Victoria's accession. The second part of this study attempts to explain the expansion of banding in the. Victorian period, paying particular attention to the importance of middleclass ideologies in motivating working-class men.

It is suggested that the financial support provided for bands in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - particularly by the wealthier members of society - facilitated the development of musical skills and traditions amongst the working class. Early bands made band music familiar and popular to the population. They helped develop a tradition of organisedl disciplined music-making and also encouraged the beginnings of commercial activity associated with banding.

There was a variety of reasons for the expansion of banding in Victoria's reign. Bands were supported by some of the wealthier classes; there were improvements in the time and money available to working-class people for recreation; chromatic brass instruments were introduced; after 1859, the volunteer force gave considerable support to bands. The development of banding was also assisted by the increasing promotionv availability and cheapness of instruments and music. It is argued that middle-class ideologies probably had a small influence over the working-class men associated in various ways with bands. Furthermore, the increasing integration of southern banding into the brass band movement's contesting activities and the growing importance of commercialism may have made bandsmen less amenable to middle-class prescriptions in some respects,

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