Marching word wall, Oct. 1

This is the seventh part in a multi-part series defining key terms about marching bands. Although marching band participants know exactly what most of the terms mean, many fans, including their parents, are baffled by the discussion sometimes.

This word wall will be posted on our main marching band page, here, for public information, and we’ll add two or three words every few days. However, it’s also part of a contest. If you can improve on any of the definitions on the word wall, click on the word and submit a redefinition as a comment to the blog post.

If we think your definition is better than the one given—and it probably will be—we’ll update the definition on the word wall and give you credit. If you’re an Illinois marching band student who enters a winning redefinition, you may also win a prize, to be determined at the end of the marching season.

Horns to the box

A position for holding the instruments in a marching field show, almost always while playing, in which they are pointed toward the press box, at about a 45° angle upward. This position is used especially at a local climax in the music, because the sound is loudest for the judges, who sit in the press box, to hear.

Dress right

To check the straightness of a lateral line, in which marchers are standing side-by-side, by looking to the right. This means the marcher on the far right is effectively leading the row. The military use of the word dress, used here to mean straightening the troops, came into the English language in the early 14th century, a little before the meaning more commonly heard today, to adorn or put on clothing. That one came into the language in the late 14th century.

Cover down

To be in line with other marchers by occupying a position directly before or behind them. Given that the front marcher is facing forward, it’s usually more prudent for people to guide off of that marcher when bringing a file into alignment. The term has origins in the military, where it came into the language in the 1680s, but the understanding of “cover” meaning “conceal by standing in front of” has been around since the 12th century.

We welcome suggestions for new words for the word wall to help people understand marching band at a more appreciative level. To prevent spam, we can only accept suggestions for new words or redefinitions of existing words as a comment to blog posts. If your definition’s good, we’ll replace the word wall definition with yours and enter your name in a contest that may involve the awarding of prizes at the end of the marching season.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.

1 Comment on "Marching word wall, Oct. 1"

  1. Today we add misting. It’s the meteorological term the adult staff uses to say, “It’s really raining, but we don’t care.”

Comments are closed.