The bugle is used mainly in the military where the bugle call is used to indicate the daily routines of camp. Historically the bugle was used in the cavalry to relay instructions from officers to soldiers during battle. Biblically, bugles are found in the time of Moses, when God commanded Moses to "make two bugles of hammered silver" in Numbers 10:1-3. They were used to assemble the leaders and to give marching orders to the camps.
The bugle is also used to play Taps or the Last Post in military rites at funerals.
In modern drum and bugle corps, the bugle has moved away from its military origins, including the use of valves. In American drum and bugle corps, G was the traditional key for bugles to be pitched in through the year 2000. However, current rules in both Drum Corps International and Drum Corps Associates define a bugle as a brass instrument in any key, with 0 to 4 valves, and bell front. Typically, drum corps brass is in G or B-flat, with mellophones in B-flat brass lines being in the key of F.
Civilian drum corps were founded using equipment sold off by the military in the early 1900s, and the last official change made to the military bugle (before its role as a signaling device was rendered obsolete by the radio) was to standardize them in the key of G. Bugles in other parts of the world typically were pitched in B-flat or E-flat.
A challenge for those attempting to define bugles with such a general classification is to explain how bugles are different from any other kind of brass band instrument. The standardized American G military bugle has been replaced with B-flat instruments by the majority of drum and bugle corps.
The bugle is also used in Boy Scout troops and in the Boys' Brigade. They use many of the same calls as the military does, but not as many.
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