The Tadley Band

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instrument care and maintenance

A normal "full" brass band consists of 24 players (excluding percussion) using 10 different type of instruments and playing the 16 parts of the complete brass band score. The following is a list of instruments for the normal "full" band :

(Click on instrument-type for photograph)


Eb Soprano Cornet



2nd Eb Tenor Horn


Solo Bb Cornets



1st Bb Baritone


Repiano Bb Cornet



2nd Bb Baritone


2nd Bb Cornets



Bb Euphonium


3rd Bb Cornet



Solo Bb Trombone


Bb Flugel Horn



2nd Bb Trombone


Solo Eb Tenor Horn



G or Bb/F Bass Trombone


1st Eb Tenor Horn



Eb Basses (Bombardons)


Bb Basses (Contra Bass)




There are, of course, some deviations from this make-up, as when the strength of the membership permits of augmentation or if sufficient players are not available for the full combination, but the list is the generally accepted compliment.

The general characteristics and functions of the instruments are as follows:

Bb Solo Cornets : The Solo Cornets are the chief melodic instruments in the band, used either together or as a single instrument according to the style of the music and the quality of tone desired.

Eb Soprano Cornet : This instrument is used to reinforce the solo cornets either in unison with them or at an octave above. It has a distinctive tone, thinner than that of the Bb Cornet but very bright.

Bb Repiano Cornet : Identical with the Bb Solo Cornet but the part played is divided between melody, counter melody and accompaniment.

Flugel Horn : Like a large cornet but with a smooth and silky tone akin to that of the Tenor Horn. Doubles the Repiano part and is sometimes given a solo passage.

2nd and 3rd Bb Cornets : Again, these are identical with the Solo Bb Cornet but the parts played are almost entirely accompaniment.

Tenor Horns (Solo, 1st and 2nd) : Used as a group, mainly in accompaniment, though the Solo Horn is sometimes given solo passages requiring the light and smooth alto tone characteristic of this instrument.

Bb Baritone (1st and 2nd) : If an orchestral parallel is needed these instruments could rank with the Viola. Of a lighter tone than Euphonium is used to reinforce that part in florid passages and doubles with the Solo Cornet in certain melodic work. Written for in 1st and 2nd parts.

Bb Euphonium : The Cello of the brass band. A full warm tone. Is used in melody and counter melody and also doubles with the basses. An instrument with a wide range of tone capable of florid execution.

Bb Trombone (Solo and 2nd) : The Solo Trombone is used very much as a solo instrument and with the 2nd and Bass Trombones forms a group to provide harmonic background and accompaniment.

G or Bb/F Bass Trombone : The big brother of the Bb Trombones. Usually confined to true bass parts but occasionally used in declamatory solo passages - an essential tone link with the Basses.

Eb and BBb Basses : These are the foundations of the band and provide the rhythmic and harmonic basis upon which the musical house is built. In appearance the BBb or contra bass is the larger of the two.

Percussion : Drums and other percussion instruments are used for effect and to accentuate the rhythm of the music. The bass drum, traditionally the one of the principal instruments in the percussion is gradually being replaced in many brass bands by the more flexible Timpani.

This page was last modified on 27 May 2016