Music for Wind Instruments is divided into three different groups: art music (including jazz), military music and popular brass bands. The oldest roots of brass music can be found in the church (despite repeated bans) and at court (trumpet players and drummers as symbols of imperial power); from the Middle Ages until the 19th century, musicians in cities organized themselves in guilds, so-called "Turner" (from "Turm", the German word for "tower", as it was one of the tasks of these musicians to send acoustic signals from the city tower). These guilds greatly influenced musical life in the cities. Military brass bands became popular at the time of Empress Maria Theresia, their development is ascribed to the legendary Freiherr Franz von der Trenck; however, their roots go back to the time of the lansquenet armies. At the end of the 18th century, richer regiment leaders paid for their own bands, which were mainly used for non-military entertainment; the great era of marching bands began in the 19th century. In this context, important military bandmasters like C.M. Ziehrer, K. Komzák sr. and K. Komzák jr., P. Fahrbach and F. Lehár jr. and sr. should be mentioned. This musical tradition is still alive, if in a somewhat reduced form, in the Guards band of the Austrian army. Today, wind music in Austria is mainly associated with folkloric marching bands organized in villages or towns by musicians' associations or professional groups (e.g. railway employees, miners); these roughly 2000 wind bands are part of the Austrian Association of Wind Music (Oesterreichischer Blasmusik-Verband) which works to safeguard artistic standards and to promote young talents.
Literature#W. Suppan, Lexikon des Blasmusik-Wesens, 1973; E. Rameis, Die oesterreichische Militaermusik von ihren Anfaengen bis zum Jahre 1918, 1976.