Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, Faculty of Music, St. Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DB
The RECSO TORCH network are hosting an event on 'Instruments of War', speaker Eamonn O’Keeffe, University of Cambridge.
Martial musicians proved indispensable to Britain’s Napoleonic-era war effort, helping raise manpower, boosting morale and enhancing military relations with civilians at home and abroad. By broadcasting sonic shibboleths of patriotism, army drummers and bandsmen fanned the flames of the wartime ‘insurrection of loyalty’, providing all levels of society with opportunities to enjoy instrumental music through regular open-air performances.
Military music also legitimized state authority and helped forge the British nation, enabling domestic and colonial populations to envision their place within a wider imperial community.
By opening our ears to contemporary voices, it is possible to appreciate that military music was not frivolous window-dressing, but integral both to British wartime culture and martial success.