Field Terminology

Adjudicator:  Another term for “judge.” The adjudicator’s job is to provide evaluation and feedback for a specific performance at a specific event. In a competition setting, the adjudicator may also be tasked to rank groups and help determine awards based on scores they provide.

Battery:  Marching Band percussion section that carries drums and marches; is comprised of snare drums, bass drums, and tenors (see Tenors).

Brass: Trumpets, Mellophones, Horns, Euphoniums, Baritones, Trombones, Sousaphones and Tubas. All the shiny instruments that don’t have reeds.

Dots/Dot book:  A small notebook utilized by marching bands in order to aid the learning of formations on the field. The little book they keep all the crazy scribbles about the marching band steps, looks like secret code.

Drill:  Is the actual choreography of the show. It involves development of the patterns in which the band will march while playing the show music. The drill is written with each band member represented by a specific dot. If a band member is not available for a show, it creates a hole where the dot is and affects the visual aspect of the performance. Each dot is essential to each performance!

Drum Major(s): Student conductor(s) who direct the marching band as it plays.

Drumline:  The entire percussion section of the Marching Band; includes both the PIT and the Battery.

Field Show/Showcase:  A marching band competition that takes place on high school football fields. Marching bands perform up to an 11 minute show for the audience and a panel of judges. Bands compete based on size. The competitions where the kids get to show everyone what they can do.

Guard:  A group of students who add color and style to marching band performances with flags and other props. Also known as Auxiliary, the term originally used for the flag/rifle carriers who stood at the front of a marching show. Evolved into modern color guard when dance and decorative flags were added.

Marimba:  Percussion instrument; a type of xylophone.

Metronome: Devise which adulates and visually represents the tempo or steady beat. Can be purchased at music stores or added to electronic devices using an app. Think tick, tick, tick, tick.

Mellophone:  Marching French horn.

Percussion:  Any striking instrument, not just drums.

Pit:  Marching band percussion section (percussion instrument team) that does not march (plays on the sidelines), comprised of instruments such as tympani, marimbas, gongs, etc.

Pit Crew: Parents who help move percussion equipment out to the field for competition. All volunteer parents who assist marching band with the loading, transportation, unloading and setup of band equipment Pit Instruments, Show Props and more at all marching events

Quads:  Multi tenor drums commonly as mounted sets of 4-6 drums

Section:  Each instrument group or unit of the band. (i.e. Flutes, Trombones, Color guard)

Section Leader:  Appointed by the band directors to be in charge of his/her section of the band.

Sectional:  A rehearsal called by the Student Leader of each section. All students in a section are expected to attend all Sectionals.

Sousaphone:  Another term for the Tuba.

Tenors:  Set of 5-6 connected drums carried by members of the Battery.

Woodwinds:  Flutes, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Saxophone.

 

Uniform Terminology

Bibs/Bibber:   Black overall type pants. The overall-like garment worn under a jacket in standard marching band uniforms.

Gauntlet: The cuff that is placed at the bottom of uniform sleeves.

Marching Shoes:  Special shoes each marcher wears during shows and competitions. Not to be worn during Concert season.

Plume:  Feather adornment worn on the Shako with the marching band uniform.

Show Shirts:  A shirt matching with the theme of the performance.  Great souvenir for the year.

Marching Band Jacket:

Sash (buttoned to jacket):  A long strip or loop of cloth over one shoulder or around the waist.

Shako:  A shako is a tall cap with a visor and sometimes tapered at the top.

 

Color Guard Terminology

Auxiliary:  Another term for the color guard. This term is often used in the marching band setting to describe the visual ensemble which may include color guard but which also may include other visual performers such as a dance team, baton twirlers or pom poms. The term Auxiliary covers visual ensembles which may or may not include all of these types of visual performers.

Air Flag:  doing your work without equipment.

Blade:  the part of the sabre that if it were a real sword would be sharp

Blade Toss:  right handed tosses on sabre that you throw and catch from the blade

Bolt:  the screw-like weight some guards use to weight flags

Butt:  the larger end of a rifle

Cattle Guard:  when a guard doesn’t use enough of a plie (plee-ay) when doing dance or across the floors and sounds like a herd of cattle

Chasse:  (shaw-say) dance move, right-left-right or left-right-left

Crutch Tip: t he rubber stopper on each end of a flag

Double Time:  2 steps for each beat

Drill:  the formations and where you move to on the floor

Drop Spin:  the most basic spin where you grab thumbs up thumbs down, and always under your other hand

Flag:  the most basic piece of equipment

Flag Feature:  where the whole guard is on flag, a key point of the show

Half Toss:  the most basic flag toss

Hilt:  The handle of a sabre

Jete:  (jet-ay) a dance move where you jump from one foot to the other with a sweeping motion

Parallel Toss:  the toss that rotates parallel to the ground over you head, can be done of flag, rifle, or sabre

Peggys:  the other basic spin where you grab down, flat, up, flat, always grabbing over your other hand

Pique:  (pee-kay) a turn in which step onto a pointed foot while the other foot is raised to the knee

Pirouette:  (peer-wet) a turn where you spin fully around on a pointed foot

Plie:  (plee-ay) used in dance, downward bending movement of both knees

Pole:  the metal part of the flag

Releve:  when you rise onto the balls of your feet

Rifle:  the weapon that looks like a gun, but is really only a piece of wood with a piece of plastic and leather attached

Sabre:  the weapon that looks like a sword, no its not sharp

Saute:  (soh-tay) a dance leap where you land on the same foot

Silk:  the part of the flag made out of silk, or a light material

Spotting:  when turning you pick a spot, and follow it until you can’t any more, then you whip your head around, this will help you stay in a straight line and not get as dizzy

Strap:  the leather strap on a rifle

Tape:  in reference to the tape at the middle of the pole holding the bottom of the silk on

Tip:  the smaller end of a rifle, or the non hilt end of a sabre

Turn Out:  where you rotate your leg outward from the hip

Washer:  the weights in a flag

 

 

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