Posted by Klaus on April 22, 2002 at 21:28:41:
In Reply to: Re: US military music questions posted by Lee Stofer on April 22, 2002 at 07:26:45:
Hi Lee, thank you for your posting.
Of course I am aware, that army uniforms are not somethings the band members pick up in the mall at their fluctuating whims.
What I was out after was some hints of historical background for the choice of uniforms. Designs and special features.
I live in a country, where there is a very minimalistic approach to the uniforms of all branches. Only the regiment of the Royal Lifeguard has something spectacular in non-galla uniforms: Black grenadiers outfit with bear skin hats. The low galla is dark blue, the high galla is very red.
All other regiments have green jackets and grey trousers.
Our neighbour to the south has gone very far to take any glamour out of the uniforms of their army, which was re-surrected about 47 years ago. For very obvious historical reasons. That leads to one of the most boring grey uniform jackets imaginable.
German military bands are very competent with great musicians and with the huge Prussian book of very good marches.
But charm is not an inherited German deed. Combine that with the outbackish looking oval low brasses, the grey uniforms, and a tattoo drill, that encompasses the all male band dancing samba while playing. And you have got something, that is less than appealing, at least to me.
The Dutch military bands are no better than the German ones, but they can get away with pulling all sorts of Latin percussion out of their pockets and doing a show, that really catches the public.
Some Swedish bands make it a deed being old fashioned marching quite fast, I would say 120 beats a minute (the Danish standard is 108). They have a tradition of very good baritone players and of rotary valve trombones with the bells tilting upwards. I like their performances. The only time I ever saw a Danish massed military band doing a show at 120 beats per minute my fingernails were shortened considerably. That did not come naturally to these good musicians.
I am obviously very interested in military musical displays and could discuss them almost endlessly. Just compare the body postures of the British Royal Palace Guards and of the Light Infantry regiments marching, not running Italian style, at 140. If I had musical nightmares, then one of them would be to play French horn in the Light Infantry.
Recently, on a sad occasion, the UK displayed its military music at a very high level. While the casket of the queen mom was carried out of Westminster Abbey, 100 pipers and 50 drummers from Schottish, Irish, and Gurkha regiments played. I was moved.