The shofar of the ancient Hebrews, used at the siege of Jericho, was a cow's horn (Josh. vi. 4, 5, 8, 13, etc.), translated in the Vulgate buccina, in the paraphrase of the Chaldee buccina ex cornu. The directions given for sounding the trumpets of beaten silver described in Numbers x. form the earliest code of signals yet known; the narrative shows that the Israelites had metal wind instruments; if, therefore, they retained the more primitive cow's horn and ram's horn (shofar), it was from choice, because they attached special significance to them in connexion with their ritual. The trumpet of silver mentioned above was the Khatsotsrah, probably the long straight trumpet or tuba which also occurs among the instruments in the musical scenes of the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians. Gideon's use of a massed band of three hundred shofars to terrify and defeat the Midianites (Judges vii. 16), and Saul's call to arms (1 Sam. xiii. 3) show that the value of the shofar as a military instrument was well understood by the Jews. The cornu was used by the Roman infantry to sound the military calls, and Vegetius[10] states that the tuba and buccina were also used for the same purpose.

Mahillon possesses a facsimile of an ancient Etruscan cornu, the length of which is 1.40 m.; he gives its scale,[11] pitched one tone below that of the bugle in E flat, as that of D flat, of which the harmonics Scale of Etruscan cornu. , from the second to the sixth are available. The same department of the British Museum was enriched in 1904 with a terra-cotta model (fig. 2) of a late Roman bugle (c. 4th century A.D.), bent completely round upon itself to form a coil between the mouthpiece and the bell-end (the latter has been broken off). This precious relic was found at Ventoux in France and has been acquired from the collection of M. Morel. This is precisely the form of bugle now used as a badge by the first battalion of the King's Own Light Infantry.[12] During the middle ages the use of the bugle-horn by knights and huntsmen, and perhaps also in naval warfare, was general in Europe, as the following additional quotations will show: "XXX cors bugleres, fait l'amirax soner" (Conq. de Jérusalem, 6811, Hippeau); "Two squyers blewe ... with ij grete bugles hornes" (Caxton, Chron. Engl. ccix. 192). The oliphant was a glorified bugle-horn made of rich material, such as ivory, carved and inlaid with designs in gold and silver.

Model of Roman Bugle.

Fig. 2. - Terra Cotta Model of Roman Bugle, 4th cent. (British Museum).

The history of the bugle as a military instrument is in England closely connected with the creation of the light infantry, in which it gradually superseded the drum[13] as a duty and signal instrument. It was during the 17th century that the change was inaugurated; improvements in firearms brought about the gradual abandonment of armour by the infantry, and the formation of the light infantry and the adoption of the bugle followed by degrees. One of the oldest light infantry regiments, Prince Albert's 1st Somerset Light Infantry, formed in 1685 by the earl of Huntingdon, employed a drummer at that date at a shilling per day.[14] At the end of the 18th century we find the bugle the recognized signal instrument in the light infantry, while the trumpet remained that of the cavalry. The general order introducing the bugle as a minor badge for the light infantry is under date 28th of December 1814. In 1856 the popularity of the keyed or Royal Kent bugle in the army had reached its height. A bugle-band was formed in the Royal Artillery as a substitute for the drum and fife band.[15] The organization and training of this bugle-band were entrusted to Trumpet-major James Lawson, who raised it to a very high standard of excellence.

Major Lawson was a fine cornet player, and finding the scale of the service bugle too restricted he obtained permission to add to it a valve attachment, which made the bugle a chromatic instrument like the cornet, in fact practically a saxhorn. Before long, horns in E flat, tenor horns in B flat, euphoniums and bass tubas were added, all made of copper, and in 1869 the name of "bugle band" was changed to R.A. Brass Band, and in 1877 it was merged in the Mounted Band. The bugle with its double development by means of keys into Royal Kent bugle and ophicleide, and by means of valves into saxhorns and tubas, formed the nucleus of brass bands of all countries during the greater part of the 19th century. The Flügelhorn, as its name denotes, became the signal instrument of the infantry in Germany as in England, and still holds it own with the keyed bugle in the fine military bands of Austro-Hungary.

There is in the department of prehistoric antiquities at the British Museum a fine bugle-horn belonging to the Bronze Age in Denmark; the tube, which has an accentuated conical bore, is bent in a semi-circle, and has on the inner bend a series of little rings from which were probably suspended ornaments or cords. An engraved design runs spirally round the whole length of the tube, which is in an excellent state of preservation.

Meyerbeer introduced the bugle in B flat in his opera Robert-le-Diable in the scene of the resurrection of the nuns, and a bugle in A in the fifth act.

See, for further information on the technique of the instrument, Logier's Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Royal Kent Bugle (London, Clementi, 1820); and for the use of the bugle in the French army, G. Kastner, Le Manuel général de musique militaire (with illustrations, Paris, 1848).

(K. S.)

[1] The word is derived from Lat. buculus, a young bull. "Bugle," meaning a long jet or black glass bead, used in trimming ladies' dresses, is possibly connected with the Ger. Bugel, a bent piece of metal. The English name "bugle" is also given to a common labiate plant, the Ajuga reptans, not to be confused with the "Bugloss" or Anchusa officinalis.

[2] For diagrams of these mouthpieces see V.C. Mahillon, éléments d'acoustique (Brussels, 1874), p. 96.

[3] See E. van der Straeten, La Musique aux Pays-bas, vol. vii. p. 38, where the instrument is not mentioned as a novelty; also Léon, comte de Laborde, Les Ducs de Bourgogne, pt. ii. (Preuves), (Paris, 1849), tom. i. p. 365, No. 1266.

[4] Martin Agricola, Musica Instrumentalis deudsch (Wittenberg, 1528), f. viiib.

[5] Michael Praetorius, Syntagma Musicum (Wolfenbüttel, 1618), pl. viii. No. 5.

[6] See Captain C.R. Day, Descript. Catalogue (London, 1891), pp. 168-169, and pl. xi. fig. D.

[7] Barthol. Trevisa, De Propr. Rebus, xviii., xv., 1495, 774.

[8] King Alisaunder, 5112 and 5282.

[9] Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française du IXe an XVe siècle.

[10] De re militari, bk. iii. ch. v.

[11] See Catal. descriptif du musée instrumental du conservatoire de Bruxelles, vol. i. (Ghent, 1880), p. 331. There are, in the department of Greek and Roman antiquities at the British Museum, two bronze Etruscan cornua, No. 2734, resembling the hunting horns of the middle ages and bent in a semicircular shape. They measure from end to end respectively 2 ft. 1 in. and 2 ft. 2 in.

[12] Maj. J.H.L. Archer, The British Army Records (London, 1888), p. 402.

[13] For the use of the drum in the 16th century, see Sir John Smyth, Instructions and Observations for all Chieftaines, Captaines, etc. (London, 1595), pp. 158-159.

[14] See Richard Cannon, Historical Records of the regiment (London, 1848), p. 3.

[15] See H.G. Farmer, Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band (London, 1904), p. 183.