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in music, a group of musicians playing principally on wind and percussion instruments, usually outdoors. Prior to the 18th cent., the term band was frequently applied in a generic sense to cover the combinations of instruments employed by kings and nobles. The term is also used for an ensemble of any one type of instrument, as brass band, wind band, marimba band. As town bands once provided music for social dancing, so do modern jazz and rock bands of numerous descriptions (see jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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, rock musicrock music,
type of music originating in the United States in the mid-1950s and increasingly popular throughout much of the world. Origins of Rock

Essentially hybrid in origin, rock music includes elements of several black and white American music styles: black
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Modern bands usually include the piccolopiccolo,
small transverse flute pitched an octave higher than the standard flute. Its tone is bright and shrill, and it can produce the highest notes in the orchestral range. The piccolo is used in orchestras and especially in military bands. See fife.
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, fluteflute,
in music, generic term for such wind instruments as the fife, the flageolet, the panpipes, the piccolo, and the recorder. The tone of all flutes is produced by an airstream directed against an edge, producing eddies that set up vibrations in the air enclosed in the
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, clarinetclarinet,
musical wind instrument of cylindrical bore employing a single reed. The clarinet family comprises all single-reed instruments, including the saxophone. The predecessor of the modern clarinet was the simpler chalumeau, which J. C. Denner of Nuremberg improved (c.
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, oboeoboe
[Ital., from Fr. hautbois] or hautboy
, woodwind instrument of conical bore, its mouthpiece having a double reed. The instruments possessing these general characteristics may be referred to as the oboe family, which includes the English horn, the bassoon,
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, English hornEnglish horn,
musical instrument, the alto of the oboe family, pitched a fifth lower than the oboe and treated as a transposing instrument. It has a pear-shaped bell, giving it a soft, melancholy tone.
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, bassoonbassoon
, double-reed woodwind instrument that plays in the bass and tenor registers. Its 8-ft (2.4-m) conical tube is bent double, the instrument thus being about 4 ft (1.2 m) high. It evolved from earlier double-reed instruments in the 16th cent.
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, saxophonesaxophone,
musical instrument invented in the 1840s by Adolphe Sax. Although it uses the single reed of the clarinet family, it has a conical tube and is made of metal. By 1846 there was a double family of 14 saxophones, seven in F and C for orchestral use and seven in E flat
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, cornetcornet,
brass wind musical instrument, created in France about 1830 by adding valves to the post horn. It is usually in B flat and is the same size as the B flat trumpet, but has a more conical bore.
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, trumpettrumpet,
brass wind musical instrument of part cylindrical, part conical bore, in the shape of a flattened loop and having three piston valves to regulate the pitch. Its origin is ancient; records of a type of simple valveless trumpet are found in China from as early as 2000 B.C.
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, French hornFrench horn,
brass wind musical instrument. Fundamentally a metal tube of narrow conical bore, it is curved into circles because of its great length. The horn ends in a wide flare. It is a development (c.1650) of the small hunting horn.
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, trombonetrombone
[Ital.,=large trumpet], brass wind musical instrument of cylindrical bore, twice bent on itself, having a sliding section that lengthens or shortens it and thus regulates the pitch. The descendant of the sackbut, it was developed in the 15th cent.
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, tubatuba
[Lat.,=trumpet], valved brass wind musical instrument of wide conical bore. The term tuba is applied rather loosely to any low-pitched brass instrument other than the trombone; such instruments vary in size, and are known by various names.
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, flügelhornflügelhorn
, three-valved brass instrument similar in size and shape to the trumpet but having a conical rather than a cylindrical bore and possessing a larger bell. Because of these differences the tone of the flügelhorn is mellower than that of the trumpet.
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, euphonium, and various percussion instrumentspercussion instrument,
any instrument that produces musical sound when its surface is struck with an implement (such as a mallet, stick, or disk) or with the hand. Perhaps the most universally familiar percussion instrument is the drum, common to the most primitive as well as
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. Concert bands may add the cello, bass viol, and harp. The band repertory has traditionally included flourishes, marches, and music transcribed from other mediums.

Early Bands

Groupings of loud instruments characterized Saracen military bands participating in the Crusades. About 1300, similar groups, often including the shawmshawm
, double-reed woodwind instrument used in Europe from the 13th through the 17th cent. The term denotes a family of instruments of different sizes. The shape and tone of the soprano shawm are comparable to those of the oboe, of which it is a precursor.
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 (a type of oboe), trumpet, and drum, appeared in the courts and towns of Europe. Town bands were manned by members of the watch and were integral to both the civic and social life of the community. These musicians participated in processions, dances, weddings, and feasts and provided incidental music for dramatic representations. During the 16th cent. the practice of playing instruments of the same family in consort (as in a shawm band) became popular, and new families of wind instruments added variety.

Evolution of Military and Concert Bands

As the town band began to decline at the end of the 17th cent., its official duties gradually shifted to the military band. A vestige of the extravagant, almost ritualistic affectations of the instrumentalists has survived in the routines of present-day drum majors and majorettes. For several centuries the general composition of the military band remained static, the fife and drum being associated with the infantry and the trumpet and kettledrum with the cavalry. France introduced the oboe in the latter half of the 17th cent., and a gradual merger with the full wind contingent of the town band ensued.

Important developments in instrument-making affected the composition of bands in the 19th cent. A Prussian bandmaster, Wilhelm Wieprecht (1802–72), introduced (c.1830) valve trumpets and horns into the military band. The saxhorns and saxophones of Adolphe Sax were incorporated into French military bands at midcentury. The sarrusophone was added in the 1860s, thus completing the instrumental ensemble that in most respects is known today.

Two outstanding European bands are the British Royal Artillery Band (founded 1762) and the band of the French Garde Républicaine, playing under that name since 1872. The U.S. Marine Band, founded in 1798, was the first important band in the United States and remains outstanding. The first U.S. band devoted exclusively to the presentation of public concerts was that of P. S. Gilmore, founded in 1859. His successor as America's leading bandmaster was John Philip SousaSousa, John Philip
, 1854–1932, American bandmaster and composer, b. Washington, D.C. He studied violin and harmony in his native city and learned band instruments as an apprentice to the U.S. Marine Band, in which his father played the trombone.
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 (1854–1932). In 1911, Edwin Franko Goldman organized the Goldman Band, which continues to give outdoor concerts in New York City in the summer.


See R. F. Goldman, The Band's Music (1938) and The Concert Band (1946).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


1. See waveband.
2. See band spectrum.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006


A flat horizontal fascia, or a continuous member or series of moldings projecting slightly from the wall plane, encircling a building or along a wall, that makes a division in the wall.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


a small group with a simple social structure. This form of social organization is regarded by US evolutionary anthropologists as existing prior to the TRIBE, CHIEFDOM or the STATE, and is usually associated with hunting and gathering societies. For definitional purposes it is regarded as having no differentiated political institutions and no complex social institutions.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(in Russian, bandazh), in engineering, a steel ring or hoop slipped on parts of machines or construction units to increase their durability or reduce wear. For example, in turbine construction, bands tie together the ends of the blades or support the middle part of long blades. The band of electrical machines (motors, generators) is a ring of steel wire wound very tightly onto the drum of the armature that keeps the coiling from falling out of the grooves. The band in pipelines is a ring slipped while hot onto a steel pipeline.

A rolled band (tire) for wheels is a steel ring of shaped profile, made by rolling and slipped while hot onto the wheel of a railroad car, locomotive, streetcar, or other piece of equipment. Bands are made from carbon construction steel.

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

What does it mean when you dream about a band?

Dreaming of participating in a band indicates a committed team player. A band can be a complex dream symbol, depending upon the dreamer’s past associations.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(analytical chemistry)
The position and spread of a solute within a series of tubes in a liquid-liquid extraction procedure. Also known as zone.
(building construction)
Any horizontal flat member or molding or group of moldings projecting slightly from a wall plane and usually marking a division in the wall. Also known as band course; band molding.
A range of electromagnetic-wave frequencies between definite limits, such as that assigned to a particular type of radio service.
(computer science)
A set of circular or cyclic recording tracks on a storage device such as a magnetic drum, disk, or tape loop.
(cell and molecular biology)
Any of the characteristic transverse stripes exhibited by polytene or metaphase chromosomes that are stained.
(design engineering)
A strip or cord crossing the back of a book to which the sections are sewn.
Any latitudinal strip, designated by accepted units of linear or angular measurement, which circumscribes the earth.
A thin layer or stratum of rock that is noticeable because its color is different from the colors of adjacent layers.
A metal sleeve joining together the barrel and stock of a gun.
(solid-state physics)
A restricted range in which the energies of electrons in solids lie, or from which they are excluded, as understood in quantum-mechanical terms. Also known as energy bands.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


band, 2
1. Any horizontal flat member or molding or group of moldings projecting slightly from a wall plane and usually marking a division in the wall. Also called band molding or band course.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Refers to a frequency band (i.e., a range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation).
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


1. a group of musicians playing either brass and percussion instruments only (brass band) or brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments (concert band or military band)
2. a group of instrumentalists generally; orchestra
3. Canadian a formally recognized group of Indians on a reserve
4. Anthropol a division of a tribe; a family group or camp group


1. a driving belt in machinery
2. a range of values that are close or related in number, degree, or quality
3. short for energy band
4. Computing one or more tracks on a magnetic disk or drum
5. Anatomy any structure resembling a ribbon or cord that connects, encircles, or binds different parts
6. Architect a strip of flat panelling, such as a fascia or plinth, usually attached to a wall
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(1) The range of frequencies used for transmitting a signal. A band is identified by its lower and upper limits; for example, the 10 MHz band from 100 MHz to 110 MHz. See satellite frequency bands, optical bands and 5G frequency bands.

(2) A rectangular section of a page that is created and sent to the printer. See band printing.

(3) (fitness band) See fitness tracker.

(4) The printing element in a band printer. See band printer.
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