Wind Band

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wind Band


an orchestra comprised of wind (woodwinds and brass, or brass only) and percussion instruments, one of the popular performing ensembles. Wind bands developed as stable performing groups in several European countries in the 17th century, appearing in Russia toward the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th as military orchestras composed of wind instruments and attached to regiments of the Russian Army.

The instrumental makeup of the wind band developed gradually. In its modern form it has three varieties, each representing an orchestra of mixed composition: small (20 members), medium-sized (30), and large (42-56 or more). The large wind band is made up of flutes, oboes (including the alto oboe or English horn), E-flat, B-flat, and bass clarinets, saxophones (soprano, altos, tenors, and baritones), bassoons (including the contrabassoon), French horns, trumpets, trombones, cornets, alto horns, tenor horns, baritone horns, basses (tubas and double bass), and percussion instruments of determined and undetermined pitch. In performing concert works the wind band occasionally includes a harp, glockenspiel, and piano.

Soviet wind bands engage in a number of activities to popularize music, including concert performances. Their repertoire includes nearly all the major classics by native and foreign composers. Among the Soviet conductors of wind bands are S. A. Chernetskii, V. M. Blazhevich, F. I. Nikolaevskii, and V. I. Agapkin.


Gubarev, I. Dukhovoi orkestr. Moscow, 1963.
Matveev, V. Russkii voennyi orkestr. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Zudin, N. Sostavy voennykh orkestrov i puti ikh usovershenstvovaniia. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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