Bugle (instrument)

Bugle (instrument)

:"Bugler" redirects here. For the tobacco brand, see Bugler (tobacco).The bugle is one of the simplest brass instruments; having no valves or other pitch-altering devices. All pitch control is done by varying the player's embouchure, since the bugle has no other mechanism for controlling pitch. Consequently, the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series. See Bugle call for scores to standard bugle calls, which all consist of only five notes.


The bugle developed from early musical or communication instruments made of animal horns, [cite web
title=History of the Bugle Horn
] with the word "bugle" itself coming from "buculus", Latin for bullock (castrated bull). [cite web
title=bugle - Definitions from Dictionary.com
] The first bugles developed as hunting horns. They were shaped in a coil - typically a double coil, but also a single or triple coil - similar to the modern French horn, and were used to communicate during hunts and as announcing instruments for coaches (somewhat akin to today's automobile horn). Predecessors and relatives of the developing bugle included the post horn, the Pless horn (sometimes called the "Prince Pless horn"), and the bugle horn.

The first verifiable formal use of a brass horn as a military signal device was the Halbmondblaser - literally, "half moon blower" - used in Hanover in 1758. It was U-shaped (hence its name) and comfortably carried by a shoulder strap attached at the mouthpiece and bell. It first spread to England in 1764 where it was gradually accepted widely in foot regiments. Cavalry did not normally use a proper bugle, but rather an early trumpet that might be mistaken for a bugle today, as it lacked keys or valves, but had a more gradual taper and a smaller bell, producing a sound more easily audible at close range but with less carrying power over distance.


The bugle is used mainly in the military where the Bugle call is used to indicate the daily routines of camp. Historically the bugle was used in the cavalry to relay instructions from officers to soldiers during battle.

In the drum and bugle corps the bugle has evolved away from its military origins, growing valves. In American drum and bugle corps, G is considered the traditional key for bugles to be pitched in. However, current rules in both Drum Corps International and Drum Corps Associates define a bugle as a brass instrument in any key, with 0 to 4 valves, and bell-front in the manner of a trumpet. Typically, drum corps brass is in G or B flat, with mellophones in B flat brass lines being in the key of F due to ease of tuning for that particular horn.

Civilian drum corps were founded using equipment sold off by the military in the early 1900s, and the last official change made to the military bugle (before its role as a signaling device was rendered obsolete by the radio) was to standardize them in the key of G. Bugles in other parts of the world typically were pitched in B flat or E flat.


The cornet is sometimes erroneously considered to be the "valved version" of the bugle, although it was derived from the French cornet de poste (post horn).

19th century variants based on the standard bugle included keyed bugles and valved bugles. Keyed bugles were invented in England in the early 19th century, with a patent for one design, the Royal Kent bugle, taken out by Joseph Halliday in 1811. This bugle was highly popular and widely in use until c1850 - for example, in works by Richard Willis, later bandmaster of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. This variant of the bugle fell out of use with the invention of the valved cornet.




*Ralph T. Dudgeon, "The Keyed Bugle", Scarecrow Press, 2004, ISBN 0810851237
*Janet Chiefari, "Introducing the Drum and Bugle Corps", Olympic Marketing Corp, 1982, ISBN 039608088X

External links

* [http://www.middlehornleader.com/Evolution%20of%20the%20Bugle.htm Evolution of the Bugle]

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