British Brass Bands

Bands consisting exclusively of brass and sometimes percussion instruments can be found in various countries throughout the world. The British brass bands movement, though, is very distinctive compared to those of other countries. Around the middle of the nineteenth century the number of brass bands in Britain started increasing. The industrial revolution led to instruments being produced that were better quality, cheaper to produce and incorporated the new valves and pistons. More people could afford to own a musical instrument.
Brass bands of the time were formed mainly around places of work, such as factories and mines, or they were subscription bands formed by various societies or institutions. Contesting was really important at the early steps of the brass band culture in Britain. Around the middle of the century brass bands started participating in local contests which soon became nationwide with bands participating from all over the country. Although most of these bands were described as “amateur bands” their playing was often of very high standards. The British band tradition continues even today.
The Musical instrument Museums have instruments which were used in the past by one of Edinburgh’s best known bands, the City of Edinburgh Brass Band. Here you can see some pictures of these instruments:



Pocket Cornet


You can also see some items which belonged to the band, such as a uniform, the band’s attendance book and other objects: