Percussion and wind instruments were used on the battlefield since ancient times.
An Iron Age example would be the carnyx.
The development of the military band from such predecessors was a gradual development of the medieval and early modern period.
A prototype of the Ottoman military band may be mentioned in the 11th-century Divânu Lügati’t-Türk.
The European tradition of military bands formed in the Baroque period, partly influenced by the Ottoman tradition.
17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi noted the existence of 40 guilds of musicians in Istanbul.
In the 18th century, each regiment in the British Army maintained its own military band. Until 1749 bandsmen were civilians hired at the expense of the colonel commanding a regiment. Subsequently, they became regular enlisted men who accompanied the unit on active service to provide morale enhancing music on the battlefield or, from the late nineteenth century on, to act as stretcher bearers. Instruments during the 18th century included fifes, drums, the oboe (hautbois), French horn, clarinet and bassoon. Drummers summoned men from their farms and ranches to muster for duty. In the chaotic environment of the battlefield, musical instruments were the only means of commanding the men to advance, stand or retire. In the mid 19th century each smaller unit had their own fifer and drummer, who sounded the daily routine. When units massed for battle a band of musicians was formed for the whole.