Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Apr 2017 17:59

jf42 wrote:Thanks for all those, Frogsmile.

Are there equivalent resources for drum calls, I wonder?

As for your musing re use of bugles in the Rifle regiments, the Experimental Rifle Corps formed in 1800 communicated with the bugle-horn, as had all bodies of light infantry since the formation of Light companies in infantry battalions just before the American War of Independence. That war saw British light infantry units receiving commands by bugle and whistle. The practice was copied from Jäger units formed in various German states earlier in the C18th. These were recruited from professional huntsmen who were familiar with the use of the hunting horn- (which, in its various forms, became the traditional emblem of Light Infantry and Rifle units). The original rifle armed troops of the 60th Royal Americans, the 5th Battalion formed in 1797-98 IIRC, were recruited from German Jäger troops and would have communicated with bugles. From those beginnings in 1797-1800 developed the Rifle Brigade and the King's Royal RIfle Corps.


Thank you, JF. I recall reading much of that - 5th/60th, jäger connection, etc. before. I suppose I was thinking more of the evolution of specific bugle calls, as recorded above (at a time when Line were presumably still using drum), which I imagine was perhaps inspired (in musical terms) by the calls used by light cavalry. I am guessing that there will be some detailed history on this musical evolution, but it is not something I have come across.

P.S. Apologies that my phone has changed the size of the font and is not user friendly enough to allow me to easily correct it.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby grumpy » 04 Apr 2017 21:26

I wonder if the bugle horn could play the range of modern bugle notes?

The horns look decided un-musical.

When I was a school-boy with money from a paper round, I bought a proper bugle mouthpiece, as did several in my class. Easily concealed, and slipped into a roughbook shaped temporarily as a cone. Pop in the mouthpiece, blow a parp, and by the time the master turned round, the roughbook was on the desk and the mouthpiece concealed in the hand.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby jf42 » 04 Apr 2017 22:18

FS, I have looked into this a little. Rifle and Light Infantry bugle calls in the British army appear to have been based on those developed in German jäger units during the latter part of the C18th. The soldier of fortune, Franz de Rothenburg wrote an influential manual, Regulations for the Exercise of Riflemen and Light Infantry (Tr. 1798).

At the end of Rothenburg's book, he lists with the appropriate musical notation Signals of the Bugle-Horn in the Movements of Light Troops-
To Extend, To Close, March, Skirmish, Fire, Cease Firing, Retreat. etc., sixteen calls in all. Very economical (Like light infantry drill)

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QZ8 ... ns&f=false
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Apr 2017 23:06

jf42 wrote:FS, I have looked into this a little. Rifle and Light Infantry bugle calls in the British army appear to have been based on those developed in German jäger units during the latter part of the C18th. The soldier of fortune, Franz de Rothenburg wrote an influential manual, Regulations for the Exercise of Riflemen and Light Infantry (Tr. 1798).

At the end of Rothenburg's book, he lists with the appropriate musical notation Signals of the Bugle-Horn in the Movements of Light Troops-
To Extend, To Close, March, Skirmish, Fire, Cease Firing, Retreat. etc., sixteen calls in all. Very economical (Like light infantry drill)

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QZ8 ... ns&f=false


Thank you, JF. This is precisely what I was referring to and looking for. I recall the regulations, but not that they contained bugle calls.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Apr 2017 23:10

grumpy wrote:I wonder if the bugle horn could play the range of modern bugle notes?

The horns look decided un-musical.

When I was a school-boy with money from a paper round, I bought a proper bugle mouthpiece, as did several in my class. Easily concealed, and slipped into a roughbook shaped temporarily as a cone. Pop in the mouthpiece, blow a parp, and by the time the master turned round, the roughbook was on the desk and the mouthpiece concealed in the hand.


Yes, Grumpy, I imagine that the early calls on the hunters style horn were quite basic. I suppose that the key feature is that the distinctive pitch and tone enabled the sound to carry a long way. Just a simple sequence of blasts, once familiarised, would enable the coordinated movement of well-trained troops, albeit within a limited range of options.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby jf42 » 05 Apr 2017 00:09

Played more with enthusiasm, perhaps, than precision, but...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ-0oSMk8A0

The same calls but in a later incarnation. This boy is sharp- even if the sound recording is not!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIn-fvo ... ture=share

This is an interesting note on the evolution from hunting horn to military bugle
http://www.middlehornleader.com/Evoluti ... on%202.htm

Plenty of this sort of music on the www. Rather mediaeval in sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVVk7_hIFmQ
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Tony Barton » 05 Apr 2017 08:40

Thanks for searching these out, j42. As a one-time boy bugler I think both the buglers did pretty well. Some of the calls strike me as awkward , with odd leaps, which are not that easy to play.
The article on the evolution of military horns is handy for those unfamiliar with old instruments . The halbmond, one-loop bugle, and then the familiar two-loop all do the same job , and are of roughly comparable length ; and it's the length which really determines the number of available notes, usually regarded as five , as played by the second bugler at the beginning of his demonstration.
The main variation of tone between , say, the bugle and trumpet is a matter of the width and shape of the tubing, which gives a different tone quality . Bugles are wide and short, and tend towards the mooing sound, which carries very well .

The splendidly upholstered French gentlemen are from a rather different, non-military tradition of trompes et cors de chasse. ( Trompes are the longer ones, normally in D; the Cors are a bit shorter, in F) .
French horns were developed into this type in the late-17c, and became a sonorous adjunct to the very formal hunting outings of the Royal and Aristocratic hunts of the Ancien Regime.
Keeping up such a body of horn players was very expensive , as you might imagine,and the instruments, being very long, have many notes and are rather tricky to play. The vibrato ( wide enough to drive a Citroen through ) is a local perversion , but there's nothing quite like it at dawn in a misty forest , after some pate and a glass or two of Burgundy.
I frankly adore it, but like the Burgundy , it should be taken in moderation.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby jf42 » 05 Apr 2017 09:02

Tony, many thanks for putting these in context. So, would it be correct to say that the trompes and cors de chasse were a development of simpler hunting horns, intended to put messieurs and mein herren in the mood, rather than for practical communication in the field?
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Apr 2017 11:19

Thank you both, JF and Tony, for such a wealth of interesting information regarding the evolution of bugle and trumpet calls. I had no idea that this thread would prove so interesting and your contributions have really put the whole thing into some proper historical context.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Mark A. Reid » 05 Apr 2017 15:06

Tony ( if I may )

Having just read your comment on the vibrato of the French " cors de chasse, " I feel obliged to compliment you on such a wonderful turn of phrase. Your " bon mot " had me chuckling over my morning coffee. No doubt that Gallic " perversion " is even now striking fear into the heart of some Ardennes boar.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Tony Barton » 05 Apr 2017 17:11

What we now call a French Horn certainly seems to have emerged in a hunting context, rather than a military one. Oddly , it may actually have been developed in Moravia in the 1670s and 80s ( apparently a lot of the really good players came from those parts), but there are also contemporary paintings in France showing a large instrument with a coil big enough to be worn around the body of the huntsman. The later 1600s saw a lot of reinvention of musical instruments in general.
The precise development is a little obscure, but they were certainly being used in European orchestras in the 1680s, and had become a mainstay by the early 1700s. If you want to see early brass at its apogee, try this Haendel Fireworks music, played on the original number of instruments , in the original manner. Trumpets and French horns ( bell up !) and everything done with the lips alone. Fifty years ago this performance was impossible : nobody knew how to play these things acceptably , but the Early music movement since then has enabled us to hear such music in its original character.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNqJ8mED1VE

Back to the Military context, the French horn appeared in the early military bands in the Infantry from about 1750, alongside oboes, bassoons and trumpets, but doesn't seem to have been used for signalling, with the exception of the Light Dragoon Regiments, who at their formation had something of a " forester" character.As cavalry they had trumpets, who also doubled on horns, a common skill at the time. Duets played on pairs of horns were very popular in the period , so maybe they just played entertaining numbers on the horns, and signals on the trumpets.
Of course the horn shape , or format , was also used from then on for much shorter instruments, which were used for signalling as bugles. The French long used such an instrument, the cornet, in precisely the role of the bugle, in their Light Infantry.
Not to mention every postman in Europe : just look at the symbolic horns on letter boxes everywhere over the Channel.

Mark, the Germans have such troops of Waldhorns as well, mostly played without vibrato.Apparently it's something to do with the garlic....
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Peter » 14 Apr 2017 04:42

I’m unsure if this contributes anything to the thread, but I found the period of time to learn to “blow the principal calls” interesting:

“Sixteen men with some rudimentary musical knowledge were selected in November to be trained as buglers, and by the end of the year were able to blow the principal calls”.

Difford, ID, The Story of the 1st Battalion Cape Corps, 1915-1919, Cape Town, Hortors Limited, 1920, p 38 / https://archive.org/stream/storyof1stba ... 8/mode/2up
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 16 Apr 2017 15:10

Peter wrote:I’m unsure if this contributes anything to the thread, but I found the period of time to learn to “blow the principal calls” interesting:

“Sixteen men with some rudimentary musical knowledge were selected in November to be trained as buglers, and by the end of the year were able to blow the principal calls”.

Difford, ID, The Story of the 1st Battalion Cape Corps, 1915-1919, Cape Town, Hortors Limited, 1920, p 38 / https://archive.org/stream/storyof1stba ... 8/mode/2up


That's interesting Peter, thank you for posting. It gives an idea how long it takes to train even someone with rudimentary musical knowledge. I have read that quite a number of Barnardo's Boys (orphans) joined the Army as band boys and boy drummers having already learned music for some years at the Barnardo's homes.
Last edited by Frogsmile on 16 Apr 2017 15:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 16 Apr 2017 15:13

To add to the information that we have on infantry and cavalry sounds/calls, and a fascinating rundown by Tony and jf42 regarding the origins of bugle and trumpet calls, I thought that this archive of Royal Artillery Bugle and Trumpet calls (along with dress regulations for rank and file) circa 1864, might be of interest in this thread: https://archive.org/details/standingordersf00offigoog
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