The Evolution of College Bands: Followers to Leaders
Statement of Purpose
This document will explore the evolution of college bands from less important musical entities to a status of inspiration for contemporary young American composers…
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Through engaging in a discussion of the purposes of band music in the sociological landscape, the emergence of the college band and its now influential position will begin to have context. Band music was once one of the more popular forms of public musical entertainment. In the decline of band music as a popular professional entertainment, the college band has emerged to replace the professional level in a continuation of this structure of music. The bands and composers chosen to represent influential college level bands provide support for the assertion of the importance of college level band development.
This document will provide context for the emergence of college bands as influential in the development of music repertoire for band styled compositions. Music that is now being composed for band structures is focuses on college level musical performance. Exploration of the composers who have created works for these bands puts the development of band music into context with the historical development of the genre.
The late 19th century was a time of great popularity for professional bands. Professional bands often played at public events, while much of their work was preformed at ‘trolley parks’, so named because they were parks and amusement centers which were situated at the end of a trolley line. The early twentieth century saw the invention and proliferation of the automobile which put an end to places such as the ‘trolley park’, thus declining the popularity of one of the more important venues where bands played. In addition, the rise of dance bands which highlighted dance types such as the jitterbug, the Charleston and the foxtrot, were replacing the concert bands who supported dancing such as the polka, the waltz and the two-step. Fashion was changing in the musical tastes of the American popular culture (Feldman, Contzius, Lutch, and Batista 69). The
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