Military Music

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Military Music


music intended to be performed during drill instruction of troops, as well as at military and public ceremonies (parades and so forth).

Such music serves the purposes of military training and signaling, and in the past it was used even in the combat action of troops. (“Music doubles and triples an army,” re-marked A. V. Suvorov.) It is played by military wind bands or by individual musicians (buglers and drummers). Military music was used by the ancient peoples of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Palestine, China, and India; various forms existed in ancient Greece and Rome. The general principles of organizing and using military music were developed during the 16th and 17th centuries in Western Europe; in subsequent periods, these principles underwent changes as new methods of combat developed. Since the second half of the 19th century the use of military music on the battlefield has almost disappeared because of the changes in combat tactics; nevertheless, its training and cultural and educational functions increased. Its importance also continued in combat service and in public ceremonies.

In a broader sense, military music includes any works performed by a military orchestra (overtures, symphonies, dance pieces, and so on), as well as drill songs (marching and camp songs). The principal genre of military music is the march; in the category of drill and ceremonial music, in addition to marches used for salutes and parades, are the so-called retreat and mounting of the guards, music for laying wreaths, fanfares, and other pieces of a similar nature. Music for military orchestras has been written by J. B. Lully, G. F. Handel, F. Gossec, E. N. Méhul, L. van Beethoven, H. Berlioz, R. Wagner, A. A. Aliab’ev, A. S. Arenskii, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, and others. In the USSR and the other socialist countries military music has developed in close conjunction with the total art of music. In its generalized heroic images military music reflects the patriotic feelings of the people and the valor of soldiers in combat. In the bourgeois countries military music is not infrequently used for propagandizing government-sponsored pseudopatriotism and militarism. Soviet military music is represented by numerous works in various genres. Included among them are concert marches (works by M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov, R. M. Gliére, S. N. Vasilenko, N. la. Miaskovskii, D. D. Shostakovich, and S. S. Prokofiev), drill music (works by N. P. Ivanov-Radkevich, S. A. Chernetskii, V. S. Runov, N. K. Chemberdzhi, and others), suites (by V. la. Kruchinin and others), and overtures and symphonies (by N. la. Miaskovskii, N. P. Ivanov-Radkevich, B. T. Kozhevnikov, and others).


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