FARR, RAYMOND,KENNETH (2012) The Distin Family and its Influence on the Development of the Brass Band Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Masters thesis, Durham University.
|PDF (Distin Dissertation - Ray Farr) - Accepted Version|
This dissertation examines the influence of the Distin Family brass ensemble on the developing brass band movement in nineteenth-century Britain. As well as drawing critically on previous research - e.g., Herbert (1991), Myers (1991), Newsome (1998), Jones (1995), Taylor (1979), Russell (1997) and Scott (1970) - the thesis re-examines and re-interprets the significance of the Distins in the light of new empirical and archival research carried out as part of this project. The focus of the research is on the significance of the Distins’ contribution to the following important aspects of the historical development of brass bands: brass performance practice, repertory, publishing, contesting, and the technical and technological development of instrument design and manufacturing. The claim is made that the importance of the Distins lies in the extent of their artistic ambitions, their capacity for genuine innovation, and their tireless business acumen and entrepreneurship.
Throughout the nineteenth century the brass band movement emerged as part of the larger processes of social, cultural and political change, and the rapid progress of industrialization. These changes manifested themselves also in the brass band world, most significantly through the introduction of valved instruments (particularly the saxhorn), the rise of mass production and new markets, and the gradual increase in leisure time and a relative improvement in social conditions. This dissertation argues that what distinguished the Distins in this historical context was their capacity to recognise opportunities, both artistic and commercial, and through their entrepreneurship to play the leading role in the establishment of the brass band movement in its modern form.
The discovery of new material in the course of the research for this project challenges established views, ideas and conceptions of the evolution of brass bands and their repertory. Particularly relevant in showing the importance of the Distins to brass bands are the documented newspaper and magazine reports from an estimated 10,000 performances during their concert tours around the world, many of which are referred to and included in this study. It was therefore also in part due to their fame as performers that the Distins were able to wield such influence, as a result of which thousands of brass bands sprang up throughout Britain in the nineteenth century. Against the claim (Rose, 1895) that ‘Adolphe Sax was the inventor of the brass band’, the evidence presented by this dissertation shows that the Distin contribution (in spite of its sometimes dubious appropriation of the ideas of others, including Sax) was ultimately the more significant. While each separate strand of the Distins’ entrepreneurial activity and their seminal influence on early brass band development is shown to be crucial, it is the combination of these strands which is used to make the case that without the Distins, the brass band as a medium would not have become established.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Arts|
|Keywords:||Distin Sax Brass Music Nineteenth Century|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||11 Dec 2012 15:32|