The bugle developed from early musical or communication instruments made of animal horns, with the word "bugle" itself coming from "buculus", Latin for bullock (castrated bull). The earliest bugles were shaped in a coil – typically a double coil, but also a single or triple coil – similar to the modern French horn, and were used to communicate during hunts and as announcing instruments for coaches (somewhat akin to today's automobile horn). Predecessors and relatives of the developing bugle included the post horn, the Pless horn (sometimes called the "Prince Pless horn"), and the bugle horn.
The first verifiable formal use of a brass horn as a military signal device was the Halbmondbläser – literally, "half moon blower" – used in Hanover in 1758. It was U-shaped (hence its name) and comfortably carried by a shoulder strap attached at the mouthpiece and bell. It first spread to England in 1764 where it was gradually accepted widely in foot regiments. 18th-century cavalry did not normally use a standard bugle, but rather an early trumpet that might be mistaken for a bugle today, as it lacked keys or valves, but had a more gradual taper and a smaller bell, producing a sound more easily audible at close range but with less carrying power over distance.
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