Started on Sheet Music

Teresa Cerling-Library Manager

We have entered the 202 piano books in our collection, 106 piano duets, and 21 organ solos. We have recently started entering our sheet music collection. So far, 1,746 have been entered and we are only up to letter “D”!

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2,686 Piano Solos

Teresa Cerling-Library Manager

We are finished entering the piano solos with 2,686 titles. We are currently working on the piano books and will soon have them and the piano duets entered. We have discovered some very old piano books from the 1830’s in our collection.

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Insight into Historic Band Music

by Paul Maybery

Genres in Historic Instrumental Music

Instrumental music from the late 19th and early 20th century falls into several major headings or genre. Band music in general makes up what will be our primary interest. However, it did coexist with other genres, including music for various orchestral combinations such as symphonic, theatre and salon orchestra, as well as early forms of dance orchestras. It is important to look at band music with a continued awareness of orchestral music as they both draw upon the same literature and composers. When we consider how publishers presented music to their consumers, we will begin to understand that these new editions were marketed simultaneously in formats for both band and orchestral instrumentations.


Instrumentation formats were not what we associate with band and orchestra in the modern context and here in lies the beginning of our understanding and appreciation of this music.

American band instrumentation has been evolving for nearly 200 years from models that resembled the early 19th century European wind ensembles (represented most notably by the octets of Mozart.) By the mid 1830s, the all-brass bands emerged in the musical communities alongside bands of mixed winds and brasses. The phenomenal impact of the brass band in popular American culture led to coining the term “brass band” as an umbrella for band music in general, even when these groups employed an obvious integrated wind and brass instrumentation. During the 19th century, other historical terms such as “cornet band,” “saxhorn band,” “brass and reed band,” “military band,” “concert band,” and “symphonic band” found their way into mainstream band jargon. Publishers understood the need for offering a product that could be utilized by a variety of instrumental combinations. As the brasses were for a long time the practical nucleus of these bands, arrangements were produced with an instrumentation scheme that allowed for maximum flexibility. This usually resulted in much cross scoring and redundancy in the parts. But for these early publications, this was simply the “nature of the beast” and arguably attributed to a pretty solid and very practical style of scoring. With such a model, as few as five or six brasses alone would suffice, or more as the situation would allow.

Function of Parts in a Band Score

Early models of band literature and numerous treatises on band arranging present and outline a systematic format for what, in the 19th century, defines “band music,” and, what sets it apart from other types of instrumental wind and brass music. According to one particular treatise, (G. F. Patton) band music requires four distinct functions within its instrumentation being 1. Melodic, 2. Parallel Harmonic, 3. Side and 4. Bass. Soprano instruments such as Solo and 1st Cornets, Piccolo and Flutes, Eb and Solo and 1st Bb Clarinets, function in the role of “principal melodic” as do some instruments of the alto and tenor range such as the Solo Alto Horn and the Baritone (Euphonium as it is called in modern terminology. Contralto instruments function in a “parallel harmonic” function and include the 2nd and 3rd Clarinets and Cornets, and often the Eb or F Horns and the Soprano,, Alto and Tenor Saxophone. The contralto voices, alto, tenor and baritone, generally function as “side” instruments, which are playing what was called the side (or accompaniment) rhythm. Trombones or Bb Tenors, the Eb or F Horns and frequently the 2nd and 3rd Cornets and Clarinets. Finally the bass instruments functioned as the “bass” both in a harmonic as well as rhythmic context with Tubas, Bass or 3rd Trombone, Bass (Euph) Baritone and Bass Saxophone, Bassoon and Bass Clarinet All band music had these four functions. It is important to understand that these functions and voices varied in the hands of well-informed arrangers giving the score interest. Since the writing of Patton’s treatise in 1875, the countermelodies that were so well written for the baritone or euphonium became a standard feature in the band score. They easily fall into the Melodic function.

Voicing of Instruments.

Today we think of band instrument voices with parallels to the choir; being soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Instrumental voices are categorized similarly and use a few additional gradations to fill in the spectrum. In the early brass band for instance, the soprano was played by the Eb cornet and the Bb cornet. What would be construed to be a contralto would be played on a Bb cornet and then the true alto on the Eb alto horn. The tenor range would be bridged by the lower parts of the Eb alto horn and the Bb tenor horn or tenor trombone, the baritone part, by the Bb baritone horn (modern euphonium) and the bass by the Bb Bass (a large euphonium-sized horn in Bb) and the sub bass by the Eb bass. (Tuba) The drums would reinforce the “side” and “bass” functions. The antiquated terminology for side drum and bass drum take their cue from their “side and bass” roll in the four functions.

The Compass or Range of the Band.

Yet another distinguishing characteristic of vintage band music that sets it apart from simple quartets and instrumental ensemble music is its compass or range from highest to lowest notes of the score. Since most bands were initially assigned to outdoor performance, it was understood that audibility depended for the most part on the brilliance and carrying power of the soprano instruments that were given the principal melodic material, or the tune. In the previous generations before the brass band or the military band with its mixed instrumentation, fifes were successfully used, either in unison or harmony, while the drums marked the bass and side rhythms necessary for marching. This format was generally referred to as “field music,” and due to its ability to be heard above other noises, it found place for military signaling during battle. Early bands usually performed in military settings. It is understandable then that the acoustic efficiency of wind and brass instruments was an issue of great importance. In these early mixed wind bands, up through the first 3 decades of the 19th century, it was necessary for the achievement of this brilliance, that music be scored into what is referred to as the second octave, that being from the upper half of the treble staff to an octave above. Generally speaking, this was no problem for woodwinds, but for brass, until the 1830s there was no appropriate instrumen
t to fill this voice until the emergence of the Eb keyed bugle. What we refer to as the all brass band first appeared in Boston and New York during the winter of 1834/35. In approximately a decade the valve system replaced the keys on brasses and the valved cornets and related saxhorn-type (conical bore) horns took over on their respective voices with even further acoustical efficiency. Even so, considering all this development, the four functions of the band score would remain as a basic feature and the range or compass of the instruments would hold and in some cases widen considerably.

Woodwinds: With or Without

As might be imagined, the American public that eventually cultivated a taste for enjoy military band music, came from a perspective of first hearing a mix of woodwinds and brasses. In fact the principal melodic material in bands of the early 1800s had to be assigned to the woodwinds, as the brasses, other than the early trombone, and the hand horn with its stopped notes, had access to only the pitches of the natural harmonic series. These early bands by necessity needed to be 20 players or more and were expensive and problematic to maintain. One can understand the enthusiasm when a band of less than a dozen players could make three to four times the volume of sound and be heard effectively outdoors just as well as the shrill fifes of old. While the new sound of brass with its brilliance and rich harmonies was indeed seductive at first, laments were eventually heard bemoaning the “exile” from the band of the beautiful sound of the woodwind instruments. While the brass band or cornet band gained in popularity throughout the 1840s and 50s, the full and mixed military band was never entirely abandoned and rose again to a revived prominence after the American Civil War. Evidence of the interest in an integrated band can easily be seen in the first band publications to appear during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War. Publishers both understood public opinion and at the same time were in a position to influence its direction. It is this band music, which began to appear in the 1870s, that serves as the beginning of that body of literature which today forms the legacy of the modern band. Much of this music still exists and is found in historic band libraries across the country. Unfortunately for the uninitiated, it does present problems for modern performance. For instance many of the parts are printed in keys that are obsolete. Instruments such as the Db piccolo, the Eb horns are a stumbling block to many modern players. Often times the arrangements are void of parts for oboe, bassoon, saxophones as well as the lower clarinets. And, to the modern conductor who likes to see “what’s what,” there is rarely a score. Usually a cornet part with cues is all that is provided for the leader. By the turn of the century it was acknowledged by prominent publishers such as Carl Fischer, J.W. Pepper and Oliver Ditson, that the band music situation needed improving and more integrated arrangements were created which could be had with a condensed conductor score.

The Situation at Hand

So, where does that leave us today, when we stand in front of a dusty box of one hundred year old band music? Are we clueless or, is there hope that there may be usable treasures and jewels of beautiful music inscribed on those pages? First we must have the tools to deal with it, to understand how to be fair and objective in evaluating it, and how to go about making a selection and preparing the music for modern performance. In the following articles I will begin to lay some light on this enormous volume of music, literally thousands of tunes, in dozens of different and beautiful and exciting categories. Hopefully you will begin to appreciate this vast source of music as the heritage or legacy of the modern American band, and enjoy the time you spend exploring its mysteries.

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Piano Solos

Teresa Cerling-Library Manager

We have finished entering the Marching Band category with 937 entries. We are now working on the piano solos and have entered 1071 so far and are not quite half way through the alphabet.
The only categories left to do now are piano sheet music, band books, orchestra books, orchestra, and BOA (band and orchestra).

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A New Series

Insights into Historic Band Music in the Chatfield Brass Band Library

By Paul Maybery

It is with pleasure that I begin a series of articles highlighting some of the special music in the Chatfield Brass Band Library’s historical collections; that being what is referred to as music from the “Golden Age of Bands.” (1870s through 1930s) To the present day band musician, music from this era can be somewhat difficult to understand in its own context and is usually passed over for a number of practical reasons. I am hoping that with some insight, much these wonderful creations, which form the legacy of the modern band, will all seem more approachable, receive more attention and ultimately be programmed more frequently.

An ongoing series of articles on various types of historic music will be presented and posted on the Chatfield Brass Band Library’s Website. The first deals with an introduction to band instrumentation and its issues as it evolved from the early 19th century. The ensuing articles will lead off with a look at “The Intermezzo,” a popular category from the early 20th century.

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Teresa Cerling- Library Manager

We are plugging along with the data entry. We are up to 774 entries in the Marching Band category. Some examples of Marching Band music are: “Story of Two Alumni” by D. B. Cuthbert published by Belwin Inc. in 1952 and “Spirituals on Parade” by Albert Oliver Davis published by Ludwig Music in 1952.

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Band concerts on the web!

Hello! We have just completed a fantastic summer concert season. Thank you to all of our band members for their time, musicianship, and dedication. Thanks also to all of our guest groups and our wonderful audiences. All of our park concerts can now be viewed on the Chatfield City website if you have high speed internet. Go to and find web-streaming. Our local cable channel, CCTV, does an excellent job of videotaping our concerts. We appreciate their work.

Looking forward to Fall- We’ll begin rehearsals on Thursday, Sept. 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Chatfield High School band room. We always welcome new members. Please join us!

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Musical Garden Tour A Big Success

Teresa Cerling, Library Manager

The Chatfield Brass Band Music Lending Library sponsored a “Musical Garden Tour and Open House” Saturday, June 30th along with the Friends of the Chatfield Public Library and Wit’s End Theatre. There were six gardens to tour and five musical groups playing at the various gardens. We were very pleased with the response we had. Thank you to all those that attended, performed and made donations to the Music Library.
We are still entering the Marching Band category. There have been 430 entries so far and we aren’t quite half way through that category.
I also want to thank everyone that renewed their membership and/or made a donation in response to our latest newsletter. If you did not receive a newsletter and would like one please send us a note at

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Teresa Cerling-Library Manager

We have finished entering the silent film music. There are 149 entries in this category. The funeral dirges are entered with 67 entries. There are 43 entries in the Fanfare category and we have started entering the marching band category.

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Serenades and Intermezzos

Teresa Cerling, Library Manager

We are currently entering the Serenade and Intermezzo category. We have entered 316 so far with one drawer of these left. An example of a Serenade is “American Serenade” by Louis Alter and scored for band by Graham T. Overgard. It was published by Robbins Music Corporation and copyrighted in 1942 and 1945. An example our Intermezzos is “In A Monastery Garden” by A.W. Ketelby arranged for Military band by Lieut. J. Ord Hume, L.F. It was published by Boosey & Hawkes Ltd. and copyrighted in 1920.
In other news, the music library recently received a grant from the Chatfield Boosters Club to replace 2 computers and printer and to purchase shelving so we can finally get all of our boxes off the floor. Thank you Chatfield Boosters! We are working on our spring newsletter and expect to get it out next month.

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