The marching band originated with traveling musicians who performed together at festivals and celebrations throughout the ancient world. It evolved and became more structured within the armies of the early city-states, becoming the basis for the military band, from which the modern marching band emerged.As musicians became less important in directing the movement of troops on the battlefield, the bands moved into increasingly ceremonial roles - an intermediate stage which provided some of the instrumentation and music for marching bands was the modern brass band, which also evolved out of the military tradition.

Many military traditions survive in modern marching band. Bands that march in formation will often be ordered to "dress their ranks" and "cover down their files". They may be called to "attention", and given orders such as "about face" and "forward march". Uniforms of many marching bands still resemble military uniforms.

Outside of police and military organizations, modern marching band is most commonly associated with American football, specifically the halftime show. Many U.S. universities had bands before the twentieth century. The first modern halftime show by a marching band at a football game was by the University of Illinois Marching Illini in 1907 at a game against the University of Chicago. That same year, the first formation, breaking traditional military ranks on a football field, was the "Block P" created by Paul Spotts Emrick, director of the Purdue All-American Marching Band. Spotts had seen a flock a birds fly in a "V" formation and decided that a band could replicate the action in the form of show formations.

Another innovation that appeared at roughly the same time as the field show and marching in formations was the fight song. University fight songs are often closely associated with a university's band. Many of the more recognizable and popular fight songs are widely utilized by high schools across the country. Three university fight songs commonly used by high schools are the University of Michigan's "The Victors", the University of Notre Dame's "Victory March", and the United States Naval Academy's "Anchors Aweigh".

Other changes in marching band have been:

1. Adoption of the tradition by secondary schools (high schools, junior high schools, and middle schools).
2. The addition of a [[dance line and baton twirlers/majorettes.
3. The addition of color guard members.

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....and the HBCU world has taken the idea of Marching Band and raised the level of intensity, precision, and excitement for generations to come....
Very nice.

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