Military Music: In Austria, the separation of military music bands from kettledrummers, trumpeters, drummers and pipers occurred after the end of the Thirty Years' War, i.e. in the second half of the 17th century. Kettledrums and trumpets had become insignia of imperial power while drummers and pipers (the "spiel") were used by the infantry for signalling and indicating the marching tempo. Around the middle of the 17th century shawms were added to the spiel, and by the early 19th century the military band had grown to a size of 25-30 players, the forerunners of the renowned Austrian military bands.
Military music was also influenced by the various inroads made by the Turks from the 16th century onwards and the two sieges of Vienna: Janissary music with its typical instruments (cymbals, bells, triangles, shawms, trumpets, drums and kettledrums) became the model for "Turkish music" bands kept by Austrian noblemen. Freiherr von der Trenck's famous music band, which he had performed before Maria Theresia in 1741, was one such "Turkish music" band. In wartime the musicians also served as stretcher-bearers and thus enjoyed special status. From the 18th century military band concerts played an important part in garrisons.
Military reforms in the early 19th century improved the economic standing of band musicians and paved the way for the great success of military music after the Napoleonic Wars. The last major reform of military bands in the time of the Monarchy, which took place in 1851, initiated the flowering of k. k. military music between 1866 and 1918. Many well-known 19th century composers were members of military bands or at least started their careers there: F. and J. Fahrbach, A. Czibulka, W. Jurek, K. Komzák, C. M. Ziehrer, G. Schebek, F. Lehár, J. Fučik and others. Military kapellmeister had the status of officers, but were employed by the respective regiment in which they served and wore special uniforms. The musical tradition of the k. u. k. Army was continued in the Federal Army of the First Republic. After the re-establishment of the Austrian Federal Army in 1955 the old tradition was revived after the break which had been caused by National Socialist rule. Military bands are maintained by the 9 military commands and by the Vienna Gardebatallion ("Gardemusik"). The tradition of the old Austrian military bands also served as a model for police and gendarmerie bands, the Schützen of Tirol, municipal bands and the bands of the Postal Service and the Vienna Municipal Utility Companies.
Literature: E. Rameis, Die österreichische Militärmusik, 1976; E. Brixel, G. Martin and G. Pils, Das ist Österreichische Militärmusik, 1982.
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