Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, is considered the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands, it is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city". A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity, to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham; the resulting high level of social mobility fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, a pivotal role in the development of British democracy. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz; the damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades. Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.
The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn, its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and culinary scenes. Birmingham is the fourth-most. People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham"; the Brummie accent and dialect are distinctive. Birmingham's early history is that of a marginal area; the main centres of population and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the densely wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. There is evidence of early human activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with stone age artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling; the many burnt mounds that can still be seen around the city indicate that modern humans first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the bronze age, when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century Roman conquest of Britain, the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large Metchley Fort in the area of modern-day Edgbaston in AD 48, made it the focus of a network of Roman roads. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era.
The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and regio of that name. Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire; the development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, followed this with the creation of a planned market town and seigneurial borough within his demesne or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding with population growth nationally leading to the clearance and settlement of marginal land.
Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years; the principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the Guild of the Ho
A concert band called wind ensemble, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind orchestra, wind band, symphonic winds, symphony band, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind and percussion families of instruments, including the double bass or bass guitar. On rare occasions, additional non-traditional instruments may be added to such ensembles such as piano, synthesizer, or electric guitar. A concert band's repertoire includes original wind compositions, transcriptions/arrangements of orchestral compositions, light music, popular tunes. Though the instrumentation is similar, a concert band is distinguished from the marching band in that its primary function is as a concert ensemble; the standard repertoire for the concert band does, contain concert marches. During the 19th century, large ensembles of wind and percussion instruments in the British and American traditions existed in the form of the military band for ceremonial and festive occasions, the works performed consisted of marches.
The only time wind bands were used in a concert setting comparable to that of a symphony orchestra was when transcriptions of orchestral or operatic pieces were arranged and performed, as there were comparatively few original concert works for a large wind ensemble. Prior to the 1950s, wind ensembles varied in the combinations of instruments included; the modern "standard" instrumentation of the wind ensemble was more or less established by Frederick Fennell at Eastman School of Music as the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952 after the model of the orchestra: a pool of players from which a composer can select in order to create different sonorities. The wind ensemble could be said to be modeled on the wind section of a "Wagner orchestra," an important difference being the addition of saxophones and baritone/euphonium. While many people consider the wind ensemble to be one player on a part, this is only practical in true chamber music. Full band pieces require doubling or tripling of the clarinet parts, six trumpeters is typical in a wind ensemble.
According to Fennell, the wind ensemble was not revolutionary, but developed out of the music that led him to the concept. A military band is a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions for the armed forces. A typical military band consists of wind and percussion instruments; the conductor of a band bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music. Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world, dating from the 13th century; the military band should be capable of playing ceremonial and marching music, including the national anthems and patriotic songs of not only their own nation but others as well, both while stationary and as a marching band. Military bands play a part in military funeral ceremonies. There are two types of historical traditions in military bands; the first is military field music. This type of music includes bugles, bagpipes, or fifes and always drums; this type of music was used to control troops on the battlefield as well as for entertainment.
Following the development of instruments such as the keyed trumpet or the saxhorn family of brass instruments, a second tradition of the brass and woodwind military band was formed. Professional concert bands not associated with the military appear across the globe in developed countries. However, most do not offer full-time positions; the competition to make it into one of these concert bands is high and the ratio of performers to entrants is narrowly small. Examples of professional non-military concert bands include: Dallas Wind Symphony, led by Jerry Junkin Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, led for many years by Frederick Fennell, as of 2006 conducted by Sir Douglas Bostock Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band Royal Hawaiian Band, created by royal decree in 1836 by King Kamehameha III A community band is a concert band or brass band ensemble composed of volunteer amateur musicians in a particular geographic area, it may be sponsored by self-supporting. These groups rehearse and perform at least once a year.
Some bands are marching bands, participating in parades and other outdoor events. Although they are volunteer musical organizations, community bands may employ an Artistic Director or various operational staff. Notable community bands include: U. S. A; the American Band, Rhode Island, conducted by Brian Cardany Brooklyn Wind Symphony, Brooklyn, NY, conducted by Jeff W. Ball San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, San Francisco, conducted by Pete Nowlen. Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps, New York, New York, conducted by Kelly Watkins Northshore Concert Band, Illinois, conducted by Mallory Thompson Salt Lake Symphonic Winds, Salt Lake City, conducted by Thomas P. Rohrer The TriBattery Pops, New York, NY, conducted by Tom Goodkind East Winds Symphonic Band, Pittsburgh, PA, conducted by Susan SandsUnited Kingdom Birmingham Symphonic Winds, conducted by Keith Allen Newark and Sherwood Concert Band, Nottinghamshire, conducted by Colum J O'Shea North Cheshire Wind Orchestra, Cheshire, conducted by Catherine Tackley Nottingham Concert Band, conducted by Robert Parker National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, various conductorsCanada Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Vancouver.
David Branter, Resident Conductor and Acting Music DirectorAustralia North West Wind Ens
The percussion section is one of the main divisions of the orchestra and the concert band. It includes all unpitched instruments; the percussion section is itself divided into three subsections: Pitched percussion, consisting of pitched instruments such as glockenspiel and tubular bells. Auxiliary percussion, consisting of all unpitched instruments such as snare drum and cymbals. Timpani; these three subsections reflect the three main skill areas. Percussion sections, consisting of similar instruments, may be found in stage bands and other musical ensembles. See untuned percussionThis subsection is traditionally called tuned percussion, however the corresponding term untuned percussion is avoided in modern organology in favour of the term unpitched percussion, so the instruments of this subsection are termed pitched percussion. All instruments of this subsection are pitched, with the exception of the timpani, all pitched instruments of the percussion section are in this subsection, they include: All mallet percussion instruments, keyboard percussion instruments such as the xylophone and tubular bells.
Collections of pitched instruments such as hand bells, tuned crotales. Most other melodic percussion instruments. Despite the name, keyboard percussion instruments do not have keyboards as such. Keyboard instruments such as the celesta and keyboard glockenspiel are not included in the percussion section owing to the different skills required to play them, but instead are grouped in the keyboard section with instruments that require similar skills; the timpani, although they are pitched percussion and are tuned by the player, are not included in the tuned percussion subsection owing to the particular skills expected of the player. All unpitched percussion instruments are grouped into the auxiliary percussion subsection, which includes an enormous variety of instruments, including drums, bells, shakers and found objects. Players are expected to be accomplished on the snare drum, bass drum, clash cymbals and other hand percussion, to be able to adapt these skills to playing other instruments and objects, for example the typewriter.
The timpanist is a specialist who does not perform on the other percussion instruments during a concert. A high level of skill unique to this instrument is expected. While players of tuned and auxiliary percussion play many instruments from both subsections during a performance or piece, the timpanist is dedicated to that instrument. Classification of percussion instruments String section Woodwind section Brass section Keyboard section
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola and double bass, brass instruments such as the horn, trumpet and tuba, woodwinds such as the flute, oboe and bassoon, percussion instruments such as the timpani, bass drum, snare drum and cymbals, each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments. A full-size orchestra may sometimes be called philharmonic orchestra; the actual number of musicians employed in a given performance may vary from seventy to over one hundred musicians, depending on the work being played and the size of the venue. The term chamber orchestra refers to smaller-sized ensembles of about fifty musicians or fewer. Orchestras that specialize in the Baroque music of, for example, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, or Classical repertoire, such as that of Haydn and Mozart, tend to be smaller than orchestras performing a Romantic music repertoire, such as the symphonies of Johannes Brahms.
The typical orchestra grew in size throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, reaching a peak with the large orchestras called for in the works of Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler. Orchestras are led by a conductor who directs the performance with movements of the hands and arms made easier for the musicians to see by use of a conductor's baton; the conductor sets the tempo and shapes the sound of the ensemble. The conductor prepares the orchestra by leading rehearsals before the public concert, in which the conductor provides instructions to the musicians on their interpretation of the music being performed; the leader of the first violin section called the concertmaster plays an important role in leading the musicians. In the Baroque music era, orchestras were led by the concertmaster or by a chord-playing musician performing the basso continuo parts on a harpsichord or pipe organ, a tradition that some 20th century and 21st century early music ensembles continue. Orchestras play a wide range of repertoire, including symphonies and ballet overtures, concertos for solo instruments, as pit ensembles for operas and some types of musical theatre.
Amateur orchestras include those made up of students from an elementary school or a high school, youth orchestras, community orchestras. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ὀρχήστρα, the name for the area in front of a stage in ancient Greek theatre reserved for the Greek chorus; the typical symphony orchestra consists of four groups of related musical instruments called the woodwinds, brass and strings. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes be grouped into a fifth section such as a keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and electric and electronic instruments; the orchestra, depending on the size, contains all of the standard instruments in each group. In the history of the orchestra, its instrumentation has been expanded over time agreed to have been standardized by the classical period and Ludwig van Beethoven's influence on the classical model. In the 20th and 21st century, new repertory demands expanded the instrumentation of the orchestra, resulting in a flexible use of the classical-model instruments and newly developed electric and electronic instruments in various combinations.
The terms symphony orchestra and philharmonic orchestra may be used to distinguish different ensembles from the same locality, such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A symphony orchestra will have over eighty musicians on its roster, in some cases over a hundred, but the actual number of musicians employed in a particular performance may vary according to the work being played and the size of the venue. Chamber orchestra refers to smaller-sized ensembles; the term concert orchestra may be used, as in the BBC Concert Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. The so-called "standard complement" of doubled winds and brass in the orchestra from the first half of the 19th century is attributed to the forces called for by Beethoven; the composer's instrumentation always included paired flutes, clarinets, bassoons and trumpets. The exceptions to this are his Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto No. 4, which each specify a single flute. Beethoven calculated the expansion of this particular timbral "palette" in Symphonies 3, 5, 6, 9 for an innovative effect.
The third horn in the "Eroica" Symphony arrives to provide not only some harmonic flexibility, but the effect of "choral" brass in the Trio movement. Piccolo and trombones add to the triumphal finale of his Symphony No. 5. A piccolo and a pair of trombones help deliver the effect of storm and sunshine in the Sixth known as the Pastoral Symphony; the Ninth asks for a second pair of horns, for reasons similar to the "Eroica".
Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until recorded acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every track of the album, except for the closing track, the 11-minute ballad "Desolation Row". Critics have focused on the innovative way Dylan combined driving, blues-based music with the subtlety of poetry to create songs that captured the political and cultural chaos of contemporary America. Author Michael Gray has argued. Leading with the hit single "Like a Rolling Stone", the album features songs that Dylan has continued to perform live over his long career, including "Ballad of a Thin Man" and the title track, he named the album after the major American highway which connected his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota, to southern cities famed for their musical heritage, including St. Louis, New Orleans, the Delta blues area of Mississippi. Highway 61 Revisited peaked at No. 4 in the United Kingdom.
The album was ranked No. 4 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". "Like a Rolling Stone" was a top-10 hit in several countries, was listed at No. 1 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Two other songs, "Desolation Row" and "Highway 61 Revisited", were listed at No. 187 and No. 373 respectively. In his memoir Chronicles: Volume One, Dylan described the kinship he felt with the route that supplied the title of his sixth album: "Highway 61, the main thoroughfare of the country blues, begins about where I began. I always felt like I'd started on it, always had been on it and could go anywhere down in to the deep Delta country, it was the same road, full of the same contradictions, the same one-horse towns, the same spiritual ancestors... It was my place in the universe, always felt like it was in my blood."When he was growing up in the 1950s, Highway 61 stretched from Thunder Bay – north of the Canada–US border), through Duluth, where Dylan was born, from St. Paul, all the way down to New Orleans.
Along the way, the route passed near the birthplaces and homes of influential musicians such as Muddy Waters, Son House, Elvis Presley and Charley Patton. The "empress of the blues", Bessie Smith, died after sustaining serious injuries in an automobile accident on Highway 61. Critic Mark Polizzotti points out that blues legend Robert Johnson is alleged to have sold his soul to the devil at the highway's crossroads with Route 49; the highway had been the subject of several blues recordings, notably Roosevelt Sykes' "Highway 61 Blues" and Mississippi Fred McDowell's "61 Highway". Dylan has stated that he had to overcome considerable resistance at Columbia Records to give the album its title, he told biographer Robert Shelton: "I wanted to call that album Highway 61 Revisited. Nobody understood it. I had to go up the fucking ladder until the word came down and said:'Let him call it what he wants to call it'." Michael Gray has suggested that the title of the album represents Dylan's insistence that his songs are rooted in the traditions of the blues: "Indeed the album title Highway 61 Revisited announces that we are in for a long revisit, since it is such a long, blues-travelled highway.
Many bluesmen had been there before, all recording versions of a blues called'Highway 61'." In May 1965, Dylan returned from his tour of England feeling exhausted and dissatisfied with his material. He told journalist Nat Hentoff: "I was going to quit singing. I was drained." The singer added, "It's tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don't dig you."As a consequence of his dissatisfaction, Dylan wrote 20 pages of verse he described as a "long piece of vomit". He reduced this to a song with four verses and a chorus—"Like a Rolling Stone", he told Hentoff that writing and recording the song washed away his dissatisfaction, restored his enthusiasm for creating music. Describing the experience to Robert Hilburn in 2004, nearly 40 years Dylan said: "It's like a ghost is writing a song like that... You don't know what it means except the ghost picked me to write the song."Highway 61 Revisited was recorded in two blocks of recording sessions that took place in Studio A of Columbia Records, located in Midtown Manhattan.
The first block, June 15 and June 16, was produced by Tom Wilson and resulted in the single "Like a Rolling Stone". On July 25, Dylan performed his controversial electric set at the Newport Folk Festival, where some of the crowd booed his performance. Four days after Newport, Dylan returned to the recording studio. From July 29 to August 4, he and his band completed recording Highway 61 Revisited, but under the supervision of a new producer, Bob Johnston. Tom Wilson produced the initial recording sessions for Highway 61 Revisited on June 15–16, 1965. Dylan was backed by Bobby Gregg on drums, Joe Macho, Jr. on bass, Paul Griffin on piano, Frank Owens on guitar. For lead guitar, the singer recruited Michael Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band; the musicians began the June 15 session by recording a fast version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" and the song "Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence", omitted from the Highway 61 album. Dylan and his band next attempted to record "Like a Rolling Stone".
"Barbed Wire Fence", the fast version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh", an early take of "Like a Rolling Stone" were released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 1961–1991. The musicians returned to Studio A the following day, when they devoted the entire session to
J Hudson & Co
J Hudson & Co was founded in the 1870s in Birmingham by Joseph Hudson and his brother James Hudson. The company continues as Acme Whistles. Acme is the world's largest and most famous producer of whistles, they are headquartered in the Jewellery Quarter district of England. The company was family-run for over three generations; as of 2014, Acme Whistles is managed by Simon Topman. Joseph Hudson started working at the age of 12, he moved to a maker of army supplies and whistles in Birmingham. In 1870, aged 22, he started his own business with younger brother James. In 1883 Hudson began tinkering in his toolshed to make gadgets to sell, including whistles. After observing local police struggling to communicate with rattles, he realised that his whistle could be used as a tool; as the story goes, Hudson, a violin player, accidentally dropped his violin and it shattered on the floor. Observing how the discordant sound of the breaking strings travelled, Hudson had the idea to put a pea in the whistle; this gave it an ear splitting rattle that could grab attention a mile away.
After a demonstration at Scotland Yard, Hudson had his first sale. This 1884 contract with the police made Hudson the largest whistle manufacturer for British Empire police forces, sports and many others. By the 1890s, Hudson faced the rise of many competitor companies. Highlights of early company history include: 1895: Introduction of the Acme Siren 1898: Hudson purchases Black & Co. 1898: J Barrall exits the whistle-making Business. 1901: Hudson makes Stevens & Sons whistles. 1904: Hudson purchases R A Walton. 1907: Hudson purchases S Auld Whistles, continuing to manufacture their models the Round " pignose " type known as'Glasgow type police call'. 1904: Hudson fills orders for W Dowler & Sons who stops manufacturing whistles. During this period, Coney & Co. stops making Hudson makes their models. In early 1900 Hudson makes whistles on a small scale for Parker. At an unknown date c. late 1890s, early 1900 T Yates stops manufacturing whistles. 1903 H A Ward stops making whistles. By 1908, Hudson and De Courcy were the two major whistle makers in England.
Starting 1909 at a new facility in northern Birmingham at 244 Barr St. Hudson expanded to more markets in Europe and overseas, with an office in Paris, a large 1910 French catalogue, new connections with United States sporting goods companies and distributors. Hudson was left with just one British competitor, A De Courcy & Co, from 1909 to 1927. In 1912, the company made whistles. In 1927 Hudson purchased A De Courcy's patent rights and stock. Hudson became the world's largest maker; the Acme Thunderer whistle and its variations became the world's best-selling whistle. During this period, 1925 to 1930, three generations of the Hudson family ran the business together; this was the end of the golden age of whistle making. At the beginning of this period the company faced competition from whistles made of tin and cast base metal materials made in Germany, Japan, USA and other countries. On 26 October 1940, the factory received a direct hit from a German air raid. No one was injured. Air Raid Precautions whistles were made during the next few years and dated whistles for army and Royal Air Force equipment and for Civil Defence.
In 1949 the firm was re-constituted as J. Hudson & Co. Ltd. Leon C. Hudson became its first managing director; the 1950s and 60s marked growing demand for Hudson sports whistles and other sport events on five continents. In 1957 A. R. Topman became an assistant general manager, about 40 years his son, Simon Topman, became the owner and the managing director of the company, starting the fourth period of company developments. In 1998, Simon Topman and Martyn Gilchrist co-authored a book titled Collecting Police Whistles And Similar Types; the factory name makes about 5 million whistles each year. It continues to register new patents for whistles; the period was marked with growing competition from Far East manufacturers. They have made over a billion whistles altogether. In addition to the "Thunderer", they make varieties of bird calls, dog calls, safety whistles, sports whistles, orchestral whistles and party whoopers. Registered Designs Registered Trademarks The above tables shows essential patents and registered designs out of many and up to 1927.
Many patents were registered after 1927 and new improvements and inventions are being registered. 1935 Acme whistle catalogue 1910 Acme whistle catalogue While many makers concentrated on limited variety, J Hudson & Co made a wide variety of common whistle types, including bird calls, dog calls, fox calls and musical whistles as well as sound effects, slide whistles and novelty combination whistles. Some models, such as the Thunderer escargot-type and the Metropolitan general service whistle have been popular throughout most of the company's history. Hudson was the only maker in the United Kingdom to use wood horn, Bakelite and silver, while competitors other than James Dixon & Sons were working with metal or other materials; some of the most popular whistle designs in the modern day include: Hudson stamped addresses and other marks on many of its whistles. Marked service whistles have been used by many police forces, railway companies, fire brigades and other organisations; the stamps supp
A siren is a loud noise-making device. Civil defense sirens are mounted in fixed locations and used to warn of natural disasters or attacks. Sirens are used on emergency service vehicles such as ambulances, police cars, fire trucks. There are two general types: electronic. Many fire sirens serve double duty as tornado or civil defense sirens, alerting an entire community of impending danger. Most fire sirens are either mounted on the roof of a fire station or on a pole next to the fire station. Fire sirens can be mounted on or near government buildings, on tall structures such as water towers, as well as in systems where several sirens are distributed around a town for better sound coverage. Most fire sirens are single tone and mechanically driven by electric motors with a rotor attached to the shaft; some newer sirens are electronically driven speakers. Fire sirens are called "fire whistles", "fire alarms", or "fire horns". Although there is no standard signaling of fire sirens, some utilize codes to inform firefighters of the location of the fire.
Civil defense sirens used as fire sirens can produce an alternating "hi-lo" signal as the fire signal, or a slow wail as to not confuse the public with the standard civil defense signals of alert and attack. Fire sirens are tested once a day at noon and are called "noon sirens" or "noon whistles"; some time before 1799 the siren was invented by the Scottish natural philosopher John Robison. Robison's sirens were used as musical instruments. Robison's siren consisted of a stopcock that closed a pneumatic tube; the stopcock was driven by the rotation of a wheel. In 1819 an improved siren was named by Baron Charles Cagniard de la Tour. De la Tour's siren consisted of two perforated disks that were mounted coaxially at the outlet of a pneumatic tube. One disk was stationary; the rotating disk periodically interrupted the flow of air through the fixed disk. De la Tour's siren could produce sound under water, suggesting a link with the sirens of Greek mythology. Instead of disks, most modern mechanical sirens use two concentric cylinders, which have slots parallel to their length.
The inner cylinder rotates. As air under pressure flows out of the slots of the inner cylinder and escapes through the slots of the outer cylinder, the flow is periodically interrupted, creating a tone; the earliest such sirens were developed during 1877–1880 by James Douglass and George Slight of Trinity House. When commercial electric power became available, sirens were no longer driven by external sources of compressed air, but by electric motors, which generated the necessary flow of air via a simple centrifugal fan, incorporated into the siren’s inner cylinder. To direct a siren’s sound and to maximize its power output, a siren is fitted with a horn, which transforms the high-pressure sound waves in the siren to lower-pressure sound waves in the open air; the earliest way of summoning volunteer firemen to a fire was by ringing of a bell, either mounted atop the fire station, or in the belfry of a local church. As electricity became available, the first fire sirens were manufactured. In 1886 French electrical engineer Gustave Trouvé, developed a siren to announce the silent arrival of his electric boats.
Two early fire sirens were Sterling Siren. Both started manufacturing fire sirens around 1900 to 1905. Many communities have since deactivated their fire sirens as pagers became available for fire department use. During the Second World War the British civil defence used a network of sirens to alert the general population to the immanence of an air raid. A single tone denoted an "all clear". A series of tones denoted an air raid; the pneumatic siren, a free aerophone, consists of a rotating disk with holes in it, such that the material between the holes interrupts a flow of air from fixed holes on the outside of the unit. As the holes in the rotating disk alternately prevent and allow air to flow it results in alternating compressed and rarefied air pressure, i.e. sound. Such sirens can consume large amounts of energy. To reduce the energy consumption without losing sound volume, some designs of pneumatic sirens are boosted by forcing compressed air from a tank that can be refilled by a low powered compressor through the siren disk.
In United States English language usage, vehicular pneumatic sirens are sometimes referred to as mechanical or coaster sirens, to differentiate them from electronic devices. Mechanical sirens driven by an electric motor are called "electromechanical". One example is the Q2B siren sold by Federal Signal Corporation; because of its high current draw its application is limited to fire apparatus, though it has seen increasing use on type IV ambulances and rescue-squad vehicles. Its distinct tone of urgency, high sound pressure level and square sound waves account for its effectiveness. In Germany and some other European countries, the pneumatic two-tone siren consists of two sets of air horns, one high pitched and the other low pitched. An air compressor blows the air into one set of horns, it automatically switches to the other set; as this back and forth switching occurs, the sound changes tones. Its sound power