- Roger Hellyer
In its widest sense, music for wind instruments. Within its ambit have come a variety of musical styles: for instance, the French commonly use the term ‘harmonie militaire’ to refer to military bands, even the massed wind bands of the Napoleonic era: Elgar wrote Harmony Music for his domestic wind quintet; the Germans refer to the wind quintet as the ‘Harmonie-Quintett’. The title of Haydn's Harmoniemesse (1802) is explained by the prominence of wind instruments in that work. Mendelssohn’s Harmoniemusik op.24 (1824) is for 23 wind instruments and percussion. In its more limited sense the term was fully current only from the mid-18th century until the 1830s when it was primarily applied to the wind bands (Harmonien) of the European aristocracy and the music written for them, and secondarily to their popular imitations in street bands (Mozart told in a letter to his father, 3 November 1781...