Military music

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The term military music encompasses all aspects of musical performances by soldiers . In addition to the march music , which is often exclusively associated with it , military music also includes celebratory music with a thoroughly religious character ( chorals ), marching chants as well as entertainment and dance music. The performance of classical works from all eras is also an integral part of military music today.

Development of military music

Landsknechte from the 16th century, note the piper and the drummer (2nd and 3rd from left)
Mehter takımı , picture from 1839: rear center davul player, rear right zurna player. Left trumpeter with nafīr , seated in front: beaker drum nakkare played in pairs. The red-clad zurna player within the circle is one of the two " Kapellmeister "

Military music developed in the early days of military history . Even in ancient times , wind instruments and drums were an indispensable part of warfare as transmitters of signals and messages that could be heard from afar. In the Middle Ages , the signal music developed purely for military use to transmit commands for movement on the battlefield and engagement developed into a component of courtly ceremonies (for example, visitors were greeted with fanfare calls, from which rank and status are recognized could).

From around the 16th century a distinction began to be made between two main groups of military musicians: drummers and whistlers (the so-called "Spil") as musicians of the foot troops and the better-off timpanists and trumpeters as musicians of the cavalry. European military music then gained an important aspect through contact with the Ottomans ( Turks ) in the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries ( siege of Vienna in 1683). New types of instruments such as the bell tree and new forms of musical performance ( Janissary music) shaped the image of military music known today. The Thirty Years' War also represented an important step in development, as it was here that the military marching music as a distinctive symbol of individual units and to cheer on the soldiers in combat came into its own for the first time. This new function of military music is related to the introduction of drills and weapons drill . Essential musical instruments of the 18th century were the trumpet, flute and drums, which were used to keep the infantry marching in lock step. In the light infantry, the horn was only used to transmit orders.

Military music was further developed in the 19th century, above all the line-up of military orchestras, the professionalization of musicians and the expansion of the repertoire. Many military bands could also perform as string orchestras in the ballroom or in smaller rooms . It became common for violinists to play the saxophone as well. So the military bands increasingly competed with the dance bands. While Johann Strauss Sohn had been operating completely independently of military music since the mid-19th century, Franz Lehár began his career in military music at the end of the 19th century.

Nowadays, in addition to its classic role as background music for military ceremonies, military music is also an essential part of the public relations work of modern armed forces. Concerts and tours at home and abroad with a diverse repertoire (see above) prove the diversity of the musicians. Music corps no longer only appear as a wind orchestra in a marching formation, but also in symphonic or big band ensembles, thus reflecting the influence of the 1970s.

Military marching music

Cavalry music of the Swiss Army 1937

This traditional domain of military music serves today primarily as an element of maintaining tradition to preserve the musical culture of the march ( particularly pronounced in Germany and Austria ). In general, every unit of an army has a so-called traditional march , which mostly symbolizes the history of the unit due to its origin or its title. In modern armies, however, these boundaries are fluid, often today marches are randomly assigned as traditional marches to newly formed troops.

One distinguishes above all:

Since the late 19th century there has been an increasing international exchange of marching compositions. So were z. B. German marches under a new title popular in Great Britain and the USA . One of the best-known examples of this is Hermann Ludwig Blankenburg's March Farewell of the Gladiators , which, under the title Farewell of the Gladiators, is one of the most famous military marches in Great Britain. Accordingly, the European tours of the American March King John Philip Sousa at the beginning of the 20th century also influenced European composers ( Julius Fučík : Uncle Teddy March ). Official German translations have also been found for some of Sousa's works (Stars and Stripes forever became Under the Stars and Stripes ) .

The differentiation in infantry marches between advancing, defiling and storm marches, which were still common up to the First World War , and which differed in speed , has now become obsolete due to the adjustment of all tempos to a general marching speed.

An important part of the military marching music are also the so-called minstrels' marches , which consist of small drums and cross pipes ( piccolo flutes ) (see “Spil” above). Their rhythmic guidance is not the responsibility of the conductor of the music corps , but a so-called drum major with his characteristic drum stick (kisses). Such marching bands are connected to the marching music corps, especially when performing on military occasions ( big tattoo , marching past). But they can also be used on their own. In addition to providing the rhythmic accompaniment to the music corps, your task is primarily to strike the so-called general march . This march, which is only voiced by the drummers, serves as a tact aid for the troupe when marching without a "sounding game" (i.e. when the music corps is silent). The general marches are different in many countries, in Europe the German, Austrian and French general marches are particularly characteristic. The transition from the general march to the sounding game (in Germany associated with the so-called lock march ) is arranged by the conductor of the music corps by signs with the baton.

Military music outside of marching music

Solemn and religious music

Hans von Bülow as leader of a military orchestra during a US tour in the 19th century

In addition to march music, the performance of solemn, solemn pieces of music is an integral part of military ceremonies (for example, vows or the great tattoo ). These are mainly chorales, often underlaid with religious texts, from times when the soldiers' morning and evening prayers were still part of regular duty. Today, playing these pieces is no longer seen as an invitation, but only as an opportunity for prayer for all denominations. This point is often a reason for the demands of left groups to remove this type of music from military ceremonies, as it is misunderstood as influencing freedom of belief . In the tradition of German military music, three works from this genre have been preserved:

Marching chant

Songs that are sung by soldiers (mostly marching) without instrumental accompaniment are called march songs or marching songs. The singing melodies are often the trios of well-known military marches, but there were also a number of independent melodies. In Germany known marching songs are z. B .:

The purpose of these chants was to make marching easier for the soldiers through the musical distraction when no music corps could take on this task (e.g. garrisons on the front lines or during long maneuvers outside their home country ). In modern, fully motorized forces, where marches hardly play a role, marching songs are especially during the formal education used by the marching beat the recruits that practicing the same step easier. The marching chants of the American armed forces , especially those of the United States Marine Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division, are particularly popular today .

Light music

Without modern mass media to disseminate popular music performances were of military bands in restaurants, parks or other public places until well into the 1930 years of the only ways in which even ordinary people could find access to high well-played music from all styles, but Even upscale stands were enthusiastic about the public concerts. In addition to dance music such as waltzes or polkas , hits and classical works were also part of the repertoire of the bands. In terms of music history, it is interesting to note that civil music groups were also influenced by the line-up of military bands and their respective scores . The proliferation of instruments such as the sousaphone or saxophone can be attributed to such phenomena.

Nowadays this type of performance is hardly of widespread interest, although music corps are increasingly trying to include modern light music in their repertoire, provided that this is not impossible from the outset due to the creation of music using computer technology, which is widespread in the music business today .

International military music

James Reese Europe with the (Afro-American) Hellfighters Band of the 369th Infantry Regiment of the USA on the return journey from Europe (1919)

Due to the same military necessities (see Development of Military Music ), military music has emerged in all armies of the world over the course of time, but of course, due to different cultural and historical circumstances, they differ considerably from one another.

In the military music of Europe , the Prussian (German), Austrian and Russian music were or are of great importance. These states developed a particular variety of pieces specially composed for military orchestras, a variety unmatched anywhere in the world today. Due to the fact that classical composers also wrote works for military music or exerted influence on military musicians, these creations are usually very high in terms of their musical quality.

The military music of France and England is also important . In France, military music (due to the early centralization of the country and the establishment of a standing army from 1650 ) quickly found a tight organization and developed around the same time as the line-up of Prussian music described below. French military music has retained a very hard, fanfare-like style, which is underlined by the peculiarity of the French general march , to this day. In England, classical music has always played an important role in military music; mostly non-subject pieces were simply taken over and rewritten for military music. The works of Georg Friedrich Handel in particular play a very important role to this day. Her style is kept rather soft and melodic to this day.

Military music at the East Timorese Independence Day celebrations (2015)

Through the colonial empires of England and France, these two styles spread over a large part of the world and still form the basis of musical tradition in the respective states - albeit now independently. The military music of the USA is based to this day on the traditions of the British (the music corps still know the slow parade step taken by the British regiments). John Philip Sousa , the US Marshal King of Portuguese-Bavarian descent, then allowed the military music of the USA to find its own style around 1900 , his unique works still form the basic structure of the music there today.

In the Portuguese colonial empire was Portuguese Navy chapel as a cultural ambassador of the colonial power Portugal active. The first records of musicians in the Navy go back to the diaries of Vasco da Gama . A permanent musical unit has been documented in the Portuguese Navy since 1740, and since then it has shown a tendency towards British influences in style.

Military band of the Manchurian Army (1934)

The Asian states , which were not influenced by colonial powers, form their own military-musical cultural space . Here Asian sounds and the marching rhythm have combined to form relatively simple, but definitely meaningful works.

  • For the special history of Arab-Turkish military music see Mehter and Janissary Music

In South America , there has been a strong tendency to adopt European marches over the years, especially from the German cultural area. For example, the Radetzky March or Prussia's Gloria are among the pieces that are often heard at parades . In addition, there is also a spectrum of his own works, influenced by typical and colonial Spanish and Portuguese harmonies .

In Africa , in addition to the “colonial effect” mentioned above, there has often been an important reference to local musical traditions. So use z. B. North African music corps with wind instruments ( mizmars ) that come from the Arab-Turkish cultural area on which their culture is based. Even traditional African music is increasingly used in military bands obtained so alive.

Military music in Germany

Military music in Germany: Bundeswehr music trains ( blue ), reservist music trains ( red )

The (Prussian) army march collection , which was later supplemented or expanded by the army music collection , serves as the basic work for listing all German military marches .

There are currently 15 music corps in the Bundeswehr . Five of them are "music corps with a special focus":

Musically gifted volunteers doing military service can be admitted to a music corps for the duration of their basic military service. To do this, they audition for a music corps of their choice before they start their military service. You can extend your service as a soldier on a temporary basis or as a voluntary longer service.

NCOs are used as orchestral musicians with a commitment period of at least four years. However, this career is coming to an end due to the restructuring in the music service of the Bundeswehr, as there are no longer any posts available in the music corps. Sergeants with a commitment period of at least 12 years have the opportunity to acquire an intermediate diploma at the Robert Schumann University of Music in Düsseldorf. Officers are trained band masters and have to commit themselves for at least 15 years. They are chiefs of the music corps, unit leaders and disciplinary superiors of the soldiers under their command. NCOs , sergeants and officers are trained for all branches of the armed forces at the training music corps of the Bundeswehr in Hilden. All careers have been open to women since 1991 and the proportion of female military musicians has been rising steadily to this day.

Due to the very good training of the musicians, the German music corps have a very high level. The military music of Germany also enjoys an excellent reputation internationally.

In addition, there are currently 21 reservist music trains, which consist of former military musicians and are subordinate to the reservist association .

Important works of German military music and their composers :

A more detailed list of works by German military music can be found under Category: Military Music (Bundeswehr) and in the list of German military marches .

The "German Society for Military Music eV" has made a particular contribution to the preservation of German military music. It has set itself the task of preserving military music as a living musical and cultural-historical phenomenon. It has two extensive archives (in Neustadt an der Aisch and Ingolstadt ) with sheet music, sound carriers and text documents. The extensive image archive is also kept in Bergisch Gladbach. In addition, she has old, unknown military marches rearranged and recorded by music corps. The members' magazine “Mit Klingendes Spiel” is published every quarter, in which the latest findings and events relating to military music are presented.

Military music festivals in Germany

In the meantime, three large international military music festivals take place in Germany every year, in which, in addition to the Bundeswehr music corps, a large number of foreign military music takes part. After the individual performances of the corps, the program of these festivals primarily includes a finale with the united bands of all participants, with a playing strength of up to 800 musicians. These festivals are:

  • International Berlin Military Music Festival (always on the 1st weekend in November)
  • Music show of the nations in Bremen (end of January)
  • Military music festival in Cologne (beginning of November)

Furthermore, the International Military Chamber Music Festival takes place annually in Thuringia (mid-November) as well as an international military music festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the NATO Music Festival in Kaiserslautern every two years .

History of the occupation of military music in Germany

Music band of the Lützow Infantry Regiment (1891)

The basis of the current line-up of the music corps is of Prussian-Brandenburg origin: around 1670 a regular group of military musicians consisted of three shawms and a bassoon, thus forming a very small ensemble with pure woodwind instruments . By 1815, the strength increased to around 15 men, the then valveless trumpets and trombones and clarinets were added to the instruments . During this time, under the government of Friedrich Wilhelm III. , who made a contribution to the reorganization of military music, the number of musicians jumped to 26. What was new was the reinforcement of the individual voices (for example, there were now six instead of two Bb clarinets) as well as the expansion of the rhythmic accompaniment to include bass drum, cymbals and triangle . In addition to the development of valves for brass instruments (around 1830), the bass tuba was added from around 1860, and the triangle was replaced by the more melodic glockenspiel from this time on. By the outbreak of World War II , the nominal strength of an infantry music corps reached 37 men. (The Leipzig Radio Orchestra - today the Saxon Wind Philharmonic - always kept this line-up.)

When the new Luftwaffe branch was founded in 1935, Luftwaffe music corps were also set up; This decision was not without controversy, since such a technical branch of arms, which is not connected to the traditional military traditions, was not granted its own military music without further ado. The initiator of Luftwaffe music , Hans Felix Husadel , quickly set new standards in his sound design and through his compositional work. He introduced the saxophone, developed in France , into his line-ups and amplified the rather soft, melodic sound of the horns and clarinets.

After the Bundeswehr was founded in 1955, the military music service was also re-established. Friedrich Deisenroth , deputy of the music inspector Wilhelm Stephan , combined the old with the new, he combined the old classic infantry line-up with the new types of sound that Husadel had developed. Music corps of the Federal Armed Forces, regardless of which armed forces it belongs, are now on an equal footing in their composition. Each music corps has 48 sergeants and 2 officer posts.

Overview of the cast of a music corps

  • High register:

Piccolo , flute , Eb clarinet , clarinet, oboe , English horn , alto saxophone , trumpet , flugelhorn

  • High bass and tenor register:

Trombone , tenor saxophone , tenor horn , baritone horn , alto clarinet , bass clarinet , bassoon , french horn

  • Deep bass:

Tuba , baritone saxophone , bass clarinet

  • Percussion and rhythm instruments:

Drums , percussion, timpani , bass drum , cymbals , (possibly) string bass / electric bass , glockenspiel , marimbaphone , lyre (glockenspiel) , bell tree

Casting differences according to use

(using the example of the Bundeswehr Mountain Music Corps :)

  • Symphonic wind orchestra:

3 flutes, 1 oboe, 1 bassoon, 7 clarinets, 3 saxophones, 4 horns, 2 flugelhorns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 5 tenor horns, 6 tubas, 4 drums / percussion

  • Big Band:

4 trumpets, 5 saxophones, 3 trombones, 5 rhythm / percussion

  • Chamber music (wood):

1 each flute, oboe, clarinet, french horn, bassoon

1 guitar, 1 double bass, 2 zithers

Historical military musician ranks in Germany

The German Imperium

The official titles of musicians in the army of the German Empire followed the model of the Prussian army. Around 1900 they were there in descending order

  • Army music officer (military officer, not a soldier!)
  • Music director (title, no rank!)
  • Music conductor ( regular sergeant )
  • Staff hoboist , staff trumpeter, horn player (regular sergeant)
  • Hoboist etc. ( NCO , sergeant )
  • Auxiliary hoboist etc. ( commoner , private )

Regardless of the instrument actually played, the musicians were officially called

  • Hoboists (infantry, navy)
  • Trumpeter (cavalry, artillery, train)
  • French horn players (hunters, shooters)
  • Horn players (pioneers)

The musicians or hoboists etc. ranked with the NCOs or sergeants, the auxiliary musicians or auxiliary hoboists etc. (with up to three years of service) had private or common rank. With the foot troops they were organized in music corps, with the mounted troops in trumpet corps.

The military bandmasters and corps leaders were called bar shoboists , baton trumpeters or bar horn players and ranked with the regular sergeants until 1908. Staff hoboists of the Imperial Navy were, however, equal in rank to the vice sergeants . Their deputies, the corps leaders, could not be appointed to superfluous deputy sergeants until after nine years of service , while chief hoboists (= upper mates ) had no management function.

Staff hoboists etc. could be promoted to military music conductor (also sergeant) after 5 years of service and 18 to 20 years of total service. A special award was the title (!) Royal Music Director for proven music conductors; The Ministries of Culture (!) of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg were entitled to award.

The musicians who belonged to the regimental staff were to be distinguished from the musicians belonging to the companies (drums and horn players or cross whistles) of the foot troops and sailors' detachments. Two to four of them were responsible for company signaling; on the march they advanced to the sound of the regimental music and the troops that followed. In the cavalry, the aforementioned trumpeters (who always ranked as musicians) took on this service. The players were in front of the battalion ram (NCOs, sergeants) and the regiment ram (vice sergeant = battalion ram of the 1st regiment battalion); the corresponding official designations in the Navy were called department drum ( Maat ) and division drum (Obermaat).

In 1908 the military bandmasters were placed in their own class between the Portepee NCOs and the officers. The naming of the staff hoboists etc. as well as that of the music directors in the NCO schools now changed to music masters , only the mounted troops continued to use the name staff trumpeters. The military music conductor became chief musician . In the navy, the music masters ranked behind the deck officers until 1936 without being subordinate to them.

The supervision of the music system of all German army contingents and also of the navy lay with the army music stage manager . Established as a consultant in the Prussian War Ministry by a resolution by the Reichstag (!) In 1887, he was also a teacher of military music at the Academic University of Music in Charlottenburg . In 1906 the post changed to First Army Music Inspector ; Subordinate to him was now the Second Army Music Inspector as a further teacher of military music. The music officers were not soldiers, but middle military officials with the rank of captain or first lieutenant. After acquiring the title of professor, the First Army Music Inspector was equivalent to an accountant (captain 1st class).

In 1908 the Prussian musician ranks were descending

  • First army music inspector with the title "Professor" (middle military officer, accountant or captain 1st class equated)
  • First Army Music Officer (equal to captain)
  • Second Army Music Officer (equivalent to first lieutenant)
  • Senior Music Master with the title of Royal Music Director ( Deputy Officer)
  • Senior Music Master ( Deputy Officer)
  • Music master (vice sergeant, regular sergeant)
  • Hoboist etc. (NCO, sergeant)
  • Auxiliary hoboist etc. (commoner, private)

Weimar Republic and "Third Reich"

Assigned to the Reichswehr Ministry in 1919 , army music officers with the title of professor were given the status of military officer corresponding to a major. From 1921 to 1930, the official title of Army Music Officer (renamed in 1928 to Army Music Officer) covered several ranks: with less than 18 years of service, his rank corresponded to that of first lieutenant, otherwise captain, with more than 25 years of service that of major, which he then in 1930 was in principle equated.

At the end of 1920 the designations hoboist etc. ceased to exist. From now on, the military musicians below the level of music masters officially carried the career designation “musician” before their military rank, for example “private musician” or “trumpeter sergeant” (again since 1922) in the horse and horse drawn troops . In the Reichsmarine the Portepee NCOs were called e.g. B. "Musik (!) Feldwebel" or "Musikoberfeldwebel", the crews and NCOs without portepee, however, "Hoboistenmaat", "Hoboistengefreiter" or "Oberhoboistengast" (chief seaman); It was only since 1938 that the lower ranks had headlines analogous to the Portepee NCOs, such as "Musikmaat", "Musikgefreiter", "Musikmaatrose" etc.

In 1936 the music masters in the Wehrmacht were grouped into a separate ranking group between the NCOs and officers. At the same time, the new rank of staff music master replaced the still common title of music director ( senior music master with the title of music director ).

The rank classes have been in descending order since 1936

  • Army music officer
  • Staff music master
  • Music master (music master, head music master)
  • Musician NCOs with portepee
  • Musician NCOs without portepee
  • Musicians teams

The music masters, although soldiers, were now on an equal footing with military officials with officer rank (e.g. paymaster). It was not until 1938 that the music masters received the status of full-fledged officers. At the same time, the civil servant music officers and senior music officers (since 1937) of the army were transferred to soldiers. As early as 1937/38, they had ceded the supervision of music in the Navy and Air Force to the music director posts established there (initially with music masters in the service position). With the music masters, the music officers now formed the ranking group of music masters and music officers .

The officer ranks had been in descending order since 1938

  • Music inspectors : music inspectors (major), senior music inspectors (lieutenant colonel)
  • Staff music master: staff music master (captain)
  • Music master : music master (lieutenant), chief music master (first lieutenant)

In the absence of the music master he was replaced by a music director with the rank of sergeant major or sergeant major. Proven musician sergeant major or staff sergeant were able to become music masters themselves after three years of study.

Uniforms and rank badges

German military orchestra of the 4th Mounted Company in Tientsin, China. In the middle, sitting, the stick trumpeter (recognizable by the saber and sergeant's arm braid)

Typical identifying marks were the swallow nests covered with wool braids (minstrels) or metal braids (musicians), sometimes also adorned with fringes ; Depending on the epoch, they indicated the type of service and the service position of the carrier.

In order to emphasize the military importance of the band chiefs, the Prussian staff hoboists etc. received the portepee in 1817 , and real music masters in 1828 the officer's sword.

Since 1898, the uniform has included sergeant braces and buttons as well as shoulder pieces made from a stiffened cloth pad with a layer of threefold woolen cord; the color was based on the epaulets of the troops, with the cuirassiers according to the collar flaps, with the Uhlans after the epaulette fields and with the hussars the string trimmings. In the case of music conductors, the central cord was button-colored, music directors also marked a metal-colored edge cord along the edges of the cloth pad. Regimental badges (number, name) made of metal on the shoulder pieces, like those used by officers. The officer's appearance rounded off the newly introduced waist band. It was made of a badge cloth edged with a braid, plus a round metal lock with an applied lyre.

After the staff shoboists were renamed Musikmeister in 1908, the sergeant badges previously worn no longer existed, and instead the uniform was further adapted to that of the officers. Strapped sidearms, headgear, overskirt and paletot like the officers, but still swallow nests on the tunic and koller (now with a tapering "music master's tress" instead of the sergeant's tress, replacement of the horizontally running tress with a double flat cord in the color of the bouillons) and u. & Collar braids of the teams. Armpit flaps made of a badge cloth in the style of the officers' deputy replaced the braided shoulder pieces: The buttonhole ends of the armpit flaps are not pointed (as with the men), but trapezoidal; On the side and above the music master's tress (identical to the passers-by of the officer's pauldrons ). On the badge cloth a lyre in button color underlaid with crossed swords, above the regimental badge. Head musician additionally a gold-plated flat cord along the inner border of the braid. The additional metal cord of the royal music directors was omitted, these were no longer externally distinguishable from the senior music masters. A special feature were the shoulder pieces of the hussar music masters, whose corded fields were filled by a flat metal cord around the buttonhole.

In mid-1912, the shoulder pieces were changed again: The three-fold braid of cords bordered by two edge cords was similar to the first pattern from 1898, but was of the same crimson (ponceau red) color for almost all branches of the army. A few regiments of infantry and cavalry were allowed shoulder boards in different shades of red. Another exception were the green shoulder boards of the hunters. Obermusikmeister marked a central cord button color, royal music directors additionally marked a golden or silver edging cord. The lyre was to be attached under the regimental badge.

The army music stage managers put on the uniform of the middle officials of the Prussian War Ministry, plus crimson Swedish cuffs with golden lyres (instead of chapel braids) and crimson collars with five gold-embroidered “music lines” running around them in full length. At the beginning of the service uniform shoulder pieces similar to those of the generals, namely made of triple braided cord (golden central cord, red border cords). For the gala, fringed epaulettes with applied golden lyre raised by an eagle and two gold rosettes.

Presumably with the introduction of the Second Army Music Inspector in 1906 (but no later than with the field gray uniform M 1907), the badges of the service uniform changed. Shoulder pieces similar to those of the subaltern officers were now to be worn: four silver flat cords, interspersed with blue, and outer and inner flat cords separated by a narrow red indentation. In addition, a gold-colored lyre and two or one gold rosette (s) applied by an eagle. The First Army Music Instructor with the title “Professor” distinguished shoulder pieces of a special design for the service uniform, as they - apart from typical career path deviations - were given to the accountants. The badge consisted of five flat cords, the three middle cords as braided cords (blue central cord, silver edge cords), the two edge cords as a border. Braided and border cords were separated by a crimson silk cord. In the center a gold-plated lyre (which was enlarged on the crimson cuffs), bordered above and below by two gold rosettes. For the gala fringed epaulettes, with applied lyre and two gold rosettes. With the discontinuation of the colorful skirt due to the introduction of the field-gray peace uniform in Prussia in September 1915, the army music officers put on crimson collar tabs, with the reduced “staff” embroidery resembling the chapel braids of the officers and middle-class military officials.

In the Reichswehr, the swallow's nests and the waist band were omitted for the music masters, which were now replaced by the officers' brown leather belt. The previous shoulder pieces have been slightly modified: on a cloth pad in the color of the troop type, a crimson braided woolen cord with a gold regimental number applied. Music masters wore one, senior music masters two gold-plated stars, music directors also wore a matt silver edging cord. Since 1928 metal-embroidered chapel braids and silver cap cords like the officers. The army music inspector (since 1928 army music inspector ) carried the official shoulder pieces corresponding to his seniority level (first lieutenant, captain, major, since 1930 always major) with crimson ribbons and a gold-plated lyre.

After the music masters were detached from the NCOs in 1936, the previous shoulder pieces remained, but now without a star for music masters, chief music masters with one and for staff music masters with two gold-plated stars. The edging of the edging of the music directors was omitted.

In 1938 the music officers of all branches of service received silver shoulder boards with crimson stitching (navy: blue) and a gold-plated lyre above the regimental number; the execution was now largely similar to the badges of the other officers.

In the same year in the Army and Air Force (Navy: 1939) music masters were given the officers' armband (Air Force: waist belt, Navy: sash) made of ribbed aluminum braid; In the army this differed from the regular officer version by two woven crimson median strips.


Sailors only put on swallow nests in field gray country uniforms. In the Imperial Navy, minstrels wore two sharp-angled braids open at the bottom with their Kiel suit - from yellow to a blue sailor shirt (also: jacket) or blue to a white sailor shirt; with hoboists, the angles to the blue uniform were gold-colored, the upper one in loop shape. The badge was sewn onto the left lower sleeve of the Kiel shirt . Above this, the ministers' or divisional ramblings of the minstrels wore the rank badges of the mate or chief mate of the bosun's career (unclear golden anchor, division drum with imperial crown above), but hoboists wore a clear golden anchor with a lyre (upper hoboists with imperial crown above). After 1918, the emperor's badges were no longer used in the navy. Hoboists could now be recognized by a patch of cloth with a woven red lyre, minstrels by the badge "Sonderausbildung Spielmann" (two open red angles at the bottom, the top with a loop tip) and also by the career badge (boatswain or naval artillery). The badges were sewn to the left upper sleeve.

The uniform of the staff hoboists followed the example of the naval sergeants, plus the golden armoire of the hoboists, but no shoulder pieces as with the staff hoboists of the land army. Music conductors wore the uniform of the deck officers, without the hoboists' insignia, but probably with a lyre on the armpit. From 1908 to 1912 shoulder pieces similar to the music masters of the armed forces: armpit flaps made of dark blue cloth. Above and on the sides, "music master's tress" made of black on the edges and red traversed silver tress in the middle. Head musician along the inner edge of the braid a 4 mm wide golden flat cord. On the shoulder pieces there is also an applied gilded lyre as a branch of service. The white waist band was edged with music master's tress, the gold-plated belt lock was decorated with an applied "W" (but no lyre).

In the Reichsmarine and Kriegsmarine shoulder pieces made of dark blue braided cord with applied golden lyre, music directors with golden edging cord. Crimson shoulder braid for the field gray uniform. The field gray uniform was not required for marine music officers.

In addition to the officer's sash, the naval music masters received a special kind of gold sleeve stripes in 1938: tapering to the top, the upper one ending in a highly oval loop (with a golden lyre in it), one to three narrow ones for the music masters ranks, a medium-wide one for naval music officers and naval chief music officers. From 1941, the naval officers' horizontal sleeve stripes were used, with the lyre above the upper stripe.

air force

The uniforms of the Luftwaffe, officially established in 1935, followed the example of the Army with a few special features. The collar tabs in the color of the weapon were striking, with up to four double wings made of aluminum embroidery, which also served as badges of rank. The Luftwaffe music masters wore the lieutenant's collar tabs with an aluminum cord border and embroidered oak leaves, but instead of the double wings an aluminum embroidered lyre, uniform for all music master ranks. In 1938 one to three double wings were added, with a smaller lyre above.

Until 1938, the Luftwaffe music officer had the collar tabs of an officer in the rank of staff officer: a silver oak leaf wreath with a three-pointed star under a lyre. After stepping into the soldier's position, instead of the star, a double swing arm (senior music officer: two double swing arms). The black weapon color of the Reich Aviation Ministry was used until 1939, then that of the last unit.

Music directors (Portepee NCOs as deputy music masters) had simple collar tabs with an attached aluminum lyre, which was also found on the epaulets between the stars.

Military music in Austria


The history of Austrian military music goes back to an order from Empress Maria Theresa from 1741, in which she decreed that each regiment should have its own band for troop parades . These chapels were not only used for official occasions, such as the changing of the guard, but also gave public concerts, which to this day are an important part of the garrison public life. The musicians served as paramedics in battle and had a special status.

Well-known composers of the 19th century, such as Alfons Czibulka , Friedrich and Joseph Fahrbach , Julius Fučík , Wilhelm August Jurek , Karl Komzák junior , Franz Lehár and Carl Michael Ziehrer were military musicians or had started their careers there.

After the Austrian court council ordered, for reasons of economy, that every regiment owner had to keep his own chapel, many military bands perished. After the end of World War I , the military band played the Austro-Hungarian army in the armed forces of the 1st Republic continued and, after the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany integrated into the rich German military music.

It was not until after 1955, with the resurgence of the Austrian Armed Forces, that military bands were set up with 8 military commanders and with the Guard Battalion in Vienna (“ Guard Music Vienna ”).

As of October 2014, the closure of five Austrian military bands was discussed for cost reasons. In December 2014, the government agreed to keep the nine locations, but the staff is to be reduced. Instead of the previous 47, there will be 20 musicians per federal state in the future. There should be one officer, the Kapellmeister, six NCOs and 13 military servants per location. The Guard Music Vienna is to maintain the previous strength of 60 musicians. It is not only criticized that large events can no longer be played with it, which the military themselves describe as restricted playing ability , but the civil brass band associations are also raging, since not only the number of recruited musicians but also the length of the playing opportunities in the bands is significant is reduced. The reduction is also from the Ombudsman's Office investigated for their usefulness with regard to savings. A merger with the police music, which would certainly have contributed a part to the targeted cost reduction, was never investigated, although this variant would have been offered due to the financial arguments (officials).

In May 2016, the Austrian Provincial Governors' Conference, together with Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil, decided to stop the army reform: the military music should be preserved in every federal state, each military music should consist of 43 to 47 musicians. The military music, however, should only play in exceptional cases at "unrelated" appearances, which are then billed via the federal states.

Well-known military bandmasters (selection)

Austrian Empire (1804–1867)

Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (1867–1918)

The Burgenland Military Music under the direction of Colonel Hans Miertl on the site of the former Turba barracks in Pinkafeld
Colonel Hans Miertl conducts The Good Comrade at the funeral of exhumed Red Army soldiers in Oberwart

Second republic

Cast overview

Until 1918, the "high tuning", which was a semitone higher, was common. This goes back to the old field and military music, which had to be heard mainly outdoors and in the marching troops. Eb trumpets and valve trombones , for example, were used and the helicopter tuba was used instead of the bass tuba that is common today .

Today's line-up:

  • Register 1 (tall wood):
1 solo flute in C, 3 flutes in C / piccolo ' , 2 oboes / English horn , 1 clarinet in Eb
  • Register 2 (deep wood):
1 solo clarinet in Bb, 3 clarinets I in Bb, 2 clarinets II in Bb, 1 clarinet II in Bb / alto clarinet in Eb , 2 clarinets III in Bb, 1 clarinet III in Bb / bass clarinet in Bb, 1 bassoon I, 1 bassoon II
  • Register 3 (saxophone):
1 solo alto saxophone in Eb, 1 alto saxophone II in Eb, 1 tenor saxophone I in Bb, 1 tenor saxophone II in Bb, 1 baritone saxophone in Eb
  • Register 4 (soft sheet metal):
1 solo flugelhorn in Bb, 1 flugelhorn I in Bb, 1 flugelhorn I in Bb / Piston in Eb, 2 flugelhorns II in Bb
  • Register 5 (bass flugelhorn):
1 solo bass flugelhorn in Bb, 1 bass flugelhorn I in Bb, 2 euphonium in C
  • Register 6 (sharp sheet metal):
1 solo trumpet in Bb, trumpet I in Bb, 2 trumpets II in Bb, 1 trumpet III in Bb, 1 trumpet IV in Bb
  • Register 7 (trumpets):
1 solo trombone in Bb,
1 trombone II in Bb, 1 trombone III in Bb, 1 bass trombone in F
  • Register 8 (horns):
1 solo horn in F / Bb, 1 horn II in F / Bb, 1 horn III in F / Bb, 1 horn IV in F / Bb
  • Register 9 (bass):
1 Solo tuba in F, 1 tuba I in F / bass guitar , bass tuba 1 II in B / bass , tuba 1 in II B
  • Register 10 (drums):
1 bass drum / combined percussion , 1 snare drum / timpani , 1 snare drum / glockenspiel / vibraphone / xylophone , 1 pair of cymbals / tubular bells, 1 pair of cymbals / temple blocks / congas


See also


  • Rudolf Absolon: The Wehrmacht in the Third Reich. Bd. I, In: Schriften des Bundesarchivs. Harald Boldt Verlag im Oldenbourg Verlag, 1969, p. 193f.
  • Bernhard Höfele: The German military music. A contribution to their history. Luthe, Cologne 1999, ISBN 3-00-004884-7 .
  • Hermann Schmidt: March register of the Prussian army march collection. 3. Edition. Waldmann, Niederstetten (Württemberg) 1999, ISBN 3-932040-89-9 .
  • Wolfgang Suppan : military band. In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 3, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-7001-3045-7 .
  • Field Music. Technical Manual. War Department, Washington, DC 1940 ( digitized ) - US Army regulations on military music in World War II

Web links

Commons : Military bands  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Military music  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Roet de Rouet, Henning: Frankfurt am Main as a Prussian garrison from 1866 to 1914. Frankfurt am Main 2016. P. 128.
  2. ^ Center for Military Music of the Bundeswehr. The Services of the Armed Forces Base, accessed December 12, 2017 .
  3. ^ List of reservist music trains
  4. History of Military Music at ( Memento of the original from March 31, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. accessed on March 31, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. - Minister Klug saves 13 barracks - future of the Eurofighters open . Article dated October 4, 2014, accessed March 31, 2015
  6. - Federal Army: Government announces agreement . Article dated December 23, 2014, accessed March 31, 2015
  7. - Ombudsman examines savings on military music . APA notification dated February 4, 2015, accessed March 31, 2015
  8. “Die Gardemusik” on the website of the Austrian Armed Forces, accessed on April 1, 2015
  9. Military music greatly reduced to Ö1 from April 1, 2015, accessed on April 5, 2015.
  10. - Bundesheer: Military music and barracks remain . Article dated May 11, 2016, accessed May 11, 2016.
  11. Military music can (almost) continue to play in its old form in the press on June 15, 2016, accessed on June 15, 2016.
  12. Directory of the military bandmasters of the KuK Army up to 1918 ( Memento of the original from May 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. The orchestra on the website of the Original Hoch- und Deutschmeister ( Memento of the original from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. accessed on March 31, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. ↑ The orchestra of the military commanders 1982 on ( Memento of the original from March 31, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. accessed on March 31, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /