bandmaster n : the conductor of a band
- the conductor of a musical band, esp. a brass or military one
British Armed Forces
In the British Armed Forces, a Bandmaster is always a Warrant Officer, with a commissioned officer who leads a band being known as the Director of Music. Directors of Music are all former Bandmasters who have been commissioned.
British Army line infantry and cavalry regimental bands were led by Bandmasters until the reorganisation of bands and the creation of the Corps of Army Music in 1994. The larger corps bands, as well as those of the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry, were known as Staff Bands, and were led by a commissioned Director of Music with a Bandmaster as his deputy. In 1994 the number of bands was reduced and all bands became Staff Bands. Bandmaster is an appointment held by a Warrant Officer Class 1, who has the designation WO1(BM) and wears a unique appointment badge of a crowned lyre in a wreath underneath the WO1's badge (the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom). The senior playing musician of the band is the Band Sergeant Major (or Band Corporal Major in the Household Cavalry), a Warrant Officer Class 2.
Royal Marines bands have been led by commissioned Directors of Music for many years. Bandmaster is an appointment which may be held by a Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1(BM)), who is equivalent to an Army Bandmaster, or a Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2(BM)), who is equivalent to an Army Band Sergeant Major and is sometimes known as the Assistant Bandmaster. The Corps Bandmaster is the senior Bandmaster of the Royal Marines and the chief non-commissioned adviser to the Senior Director of Music, Royal Marines.
Royal Air Force bands have also traditionally been led by commissioned Directors of Music. The Bandmaster is a Warrant Officer and fills the same position as the Army equivalent (RAF WOs do not hold appointments as do those in the other services). The senior playing musician, the Band Sergeant, is a Flight Sergeant.