Musicians of infantry bands were wearing white coats towards the end of the 18th century although there is little written evidence of it. The officers in the regiment had to pay for the upkeep of the band at that stage. When the uniform change of 1855 brought in the tunic to replace the tailed coat the bandsmen were issued with white tunics with collar and cuffs in the facing colour. In those regiments with white or buff facings the band had red collars and cuffs as seen here. By 1868 the style of cuff had changed from the slash flap to the pointed style. The shako worn by this bandsman was adopted in 1861 and replaced by a similar but more ornate style in 1869.
He is playing the French horn which was the most ancient European brass instrument, originally the hunting horn of medieval times. In the 17th century the French produced a slender hunting horn with a wide bell which had a much extended range of harmonics and a loud brilliant tone. It was more popular in Europe than in Britain being adopted for Prussian military bands by Frederick the Great, himself a talented musician. Detachable crooks were used to extend the harmonic range. The French horn is a difficult instrument to play and horn players in the early military bands were paid a higher wage than the other musicians. The modern valved instrument is versatile, it can produce a smooth mellow tone or a strident blast.
Regimental Details | Band