/band/, n.
1. a company of persons or, sometimes, animals or things, joined, acting, or functioning together; aggregation; party; troop: a band of protesters.
2. Music.
a. a group of instrumentalists playing music of a specialized type: rock band; calypso band; mariachi band.
b. a musical group, usually employing brass, percussion, and often woodwind instruments, that plays esp. for marching or open-air performances.
c. See big band.
d. See dance band.
3. a division of a nomadic tribe; a group of individuals who move and camp together and subsist by hunting and gathering.
4. a group of persons living outside the law: a renegade band.
5. to beat the band, Informal. energetically; abundantly: It rained all day to beat the band.
6. to unite in a troop, company, or confederacy.
7. to unite; confederate (often fol. by together): They banded together to oust the chairman.
[1480-90; < MF bande < It banda; c. LL bandum < Gmc; akin to Goth bandwa standard, BAND2, BAND3, BEND1, BOND1]
Syn. 1. gang, group; body; set; society, association, assembly. See company.
bander, n.bandless, adj.
/band/, n.
1. a thin, flat strip of some material for binding, confining, trimming, protecting, etc.: a band on each bunch of watercress.
2. a fillet, belt, or strap: a band for the hair; a band for connecting pulleys.
3. a stripe, as of color or decorative work.
4. a strip of paper or other material serving as a label: a cigar band.
5. a plain or simply styled ring, without mounted gems or the like: a thin gold band on his finger.
6. (on a long-playing phonograph record) one of a set of grooves in which sound has been recorded, separated from an adjacent set or sets by grooves without recorded sound.
7. bands. See Geneva bands.
8. a flat collar commonly worn by men and women in the 17th century in western Europe.
9. Also called frequency band, wave band. Radio and Television. a specific range of frequencies, esp. a set of radio frequencies, as HF, VHF, and UHF.
10. Also called energy band. Physics. a closely spaced group of energy levels of electrons in a solid.
11. Computers. one or more tracks or channels on a magnetic drum.
12. Dentistry. a strip of thin metal encircling a tooth, usually for anchoring an orthodontic apparatus.
13. Anat., Zool. a ribbonlike or cordlike structure encircling, binding, or connecting a part or parts.
14. (in handbound books) one of several cords of hemp or flax handsewn across the back of the collated signatures of a book to provide added strength.
15. to mark, decorate, or furnish with a band or bands.
[1480-90; < MF; OF bende < Gmc; cf. OHG binta fillet. See BIND, BAND1]
/band/, n. Archaic.
1. Usually, bands. articles for binding the person or the limbs; shackles; manacles; fetters.
2. an obligation; bond: the nuptial bands.
[1100-50; late OE < ON band; c. OS, OFris band, OHG bant; akin to Skt bandha-. See BAND1]

* * *

Musical ensemble that generally excludes stringed instruments.

Ensembles of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments originated in 15th-century Germany, taking on a particularly military role; these spread to France, Britain, and eventually the New World. In the 15th–18th centuries, many European towns had town musicians, or waits, who performed especially for ceremonial occasions in wind bands often consisting primarily of shawms and sackbuts (trombones). In the 18th–19th centuries, the English amateur brass band, largely consisting of the many newly developed brass instruments, took on the important nonmilitary function of representing organizations of all kinds. In the U.S., Patrick Gilmore's virtuoso band became famous in the mid-19th century; his greatest successor, John Philip Sousa, bequeathed a repertory of marches that has remained very popular. The "big band," under leaders such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, was central to American popular music in the 1930s and '40s. In the rock band, unlike most other bands, stringed instruments (electric guitars and electric bass) are paramount.
Type of human social organization consisting of a small number of nuclear families (see family) or related subgroups who are loosely organized for purposes of subsistence or security.

Bands may be integrated into a larger community or tribe. They generally exist in sparsely populated areas and possess relatively simple technologies; their habitats range from the desert (Australian Aboriginals) to the African rainforest (Bambuti) to the North American tundra (Kaska). Bands may occasionally coalesce for broader community ceremonies, hunting, or warfare. See also hunting and gathering society; sociocultural evolution.

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▪ kinship group
      in anthropology, a notional type of human social organization consisting of a small number of people (usually no more than 30 to 50 persons in all) who form a fluid, egalitarian community and cooperate in activities such as subsistence, security, ritual, and care for children and elders.

      The term band has precursors in a variety of European languages; it was initially used to describe a group of people who shared a bond. Among 19th-century anthropologists, geographers, and explorers, the “band-level society” was designated as the initial stage in models of unilineal cultural evolution and was most often used to describe hunting and gathering cultures (hunting and gathering culture). The term was used in this evolutionary sense until the mid-20th century.

      Although unilineal cultural evolution has since been discredited as a model of societal development, band continues to be used in college courses, documentaries, and popular reference works as a sort of technical shorthand denoting a group's size and degree of social hierarchy. See also Sidebar: The Difference Between a Tribe and a Band.

      (from Middle French bande, “troop”), in music, an ensemble of musicians playing chiefly woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, in contradistinction to an orchestra, which contains stringed instruments. Apart from this specific designation, the word band has wide vernacular application, from generalized usage (as in “dance band” and “jazz band”) to the very specific (as in “harmonica band,” “brass band,” and “string band”). The term was first used in England to apply to the “king's band” of 24 violins at the court of Charles II (reigned 1660–85), a group modelled on Louis XIV's famous group of violins.

      The wind, brass, and percussion ensemble that is called a band originated in 15th-century Germany, where ensembles consisting chiefly of oboes and bassoons formed part of the paraphernalia of military life. German musicians joined foreign groups, and wind bands spread eventually through France and England and to the New World. Toward the end of the 18th century, in the wake of the Turkish (Janissary music) occupation of large parts of eastern Europe, a style of band music identified as Turkish, or Janissary, music (after the elite troops who, c. 1400–1826, guarded the Turkish sultans), became popular across the Continent. Its characteristically strident sound, produced in the original by shrill flutes and large drums, jangling triangles, cymbals, and Turkish crescents (jingling Johnnies), and its emphatic duple accent appealed to a growing taste for exoticism that led also to the employment of black drummers who marched brandishing their drumsticks in the manner of the later drum major. Janissary music inspired some of the greatest composers, including Haydn (Haydn, Joseph), in the second movement of his Symphony No. 100 in G Major (The Military); Mozart, in the “Rondo alla Turca” movement of his Piano Sonata in A Major K. 331; and Beethoven, in the incidental music for The Ruins of Athens.

      By the end of the 18th century, the number of wind instruments had increased greatly, primarily under the impact of the large-scale outdoor ceremonies of the French Revolution, which featured bands of as many as 2,000 musicians. Haydn's marches written for the Derbyshire yeomanry were scored for trumpet, two horns, two clarinets, two bassoons, and serpent (the wooden precursor of the tuba). In Berlin in 1838, 1,000 wind instruments and 200 drummers were assembled to perform in honour of the Russian emperor.

      In England the brass band (sometimes called silver band, referring to the metal alloy of many instruments) began to replace the earlier bands of the town “waits” (public musicians) and of village churches at the end of the 18th century. The formation of such bands was encouraged by employers in industrial areas, and the development of the cornopean, a predecessor of the cornet, and of a family of brass instruments, with similar fingering, invented by the French instrument builder Adolphe Sax, facilitated the adoption of brass instruments by amateur players. Among the earliest of the English brass bands were the Stalybridge Old Band (1814) and the famous Besses o' the Barn (all-brass by 1853). Groups were formed to represent towns, factories, social clubs, and religious organizations such as the Salvation Army; contests, notably at Bell Vue, Manchester, and Alexandra Palace, London, culminated in 1900 in the National Brass Band Festival. Composers such as Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Gustav Holst, and Benjamin Britten contributed to the band literature. Such works were usually scored for cornets, flugelhorns, horns, B♭ baritones, euphoniums, and basses.

      In the U.S. (United States), professional bands such as the celebrated band of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore (Gilmore, Patrick) (1829–92) competed in attracting virtuoso soloists. Gilmore, whose musical skill was matched by a flair for showmanship, was particularly influential in promoting technical skill and repertory of high quality. His true successor was John Philip Sousa (Sousa, John Philip) (1854–32), bandmaster of the U.S. Marine Band and composer of such marches as Semper Fidelis, The Washington Post, and The Stars and Stripes Forever. The accomplishments of Gilmore and Sousa were to raise the art of the band to a distinguished level, making band music, in a sense, a very American musical genre. It remains a staple in parades and in the extravaganzas that form an important part of the entertainment incidental to sports events.

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Universalium. 2010.

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