A concert band, also called wind ensemble, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind orchestra, wind band, symphonic winds, symphony band, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind, brass, and percussion families of instruments, along with the double bass or bass guitar.
A concert band's repertoire includes original wind compositions, transcriptions/arrangements of orchestral compositions, light music, and popular tunes. Though the instrumentation is similar, a concert band is distinguished from the marching band in that its primary function is as a concert ensemble. The standard repertoire for the concert band does, however, contain concert marches.
== History ==
In the 18th century, military ensembles were doing double duty as entertainment at the royal courts, either alone or combined with orchestral strings. Composers such as Mozart were writing chamber music for these groups, called ''Harmonie'' bands, which evolved to a standard instrumentation of two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons. In addition to original compositions, these groups also played transcriptions of opera music.
Contact with the music of the Turkish Janissaries contributed to the expansion of the Western European wind band. The splendor and dramatic effect of their percussion prompted the adoption of bass drum, cymbals, and triangle, as well as piccolo to balance the increased weight of the percussion section; see Turkish music (style). More clarinets were gradually added and brass instruments were further developed. The wind band eventually reached its current size, though the instrumentation differed in various countries.
During the 19th century large ensembles of wind and percussion instruments in the English and American traditions existed mainly in the form of the military band for ceremonial and festive occasions, and the works performed consisted mostly of marches. The only time wind bands were used in a concert setting comparable to that of a symphony orchestra was when transcriptions of orchestral or operatic pieces were arranged and performed, as there were comparatively few original concert works for a large wind ensemble. One notable and influential original symphonic work for band was Gustav Holst's ''First Suite in E-Flat'', written in 1909, considered to this day the classic work of symphonic band. Following Holst, a variety of British, American, Canadian and Australian composers wrote for the medium, including Percy Grainger and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
This led to the formation of the University and College Band Conductors Conference in 1941—renamed the College Band Directors' National Association in 1947—and spawned the commissioning of works from a wide variety of composers.
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