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A fanfare is normally a relatively short piece of music that is typically played by trumpets, cornet, french horns, or other brass instruments, often accompanied by percussion.

It is usually intended for important social purposes, such as ceremonial events involving important people or animals, as exclamations of significant activities during an event (such as with introductions and closings), or to precede announcements with the purpose of gaining the attention of the audience. Similarly, musical works themselves often begin, transition, or end with fanfares or fanfare-like themes. The term is also used symbolically, such as to describe occasions that are greatly publicized, even when no music is involved.

Fanfares originated in the Middle Ages; although popular depictions of ancient Rome frequently include fanfares, the evidence is slight. In 18th-century France, the fanfare was a movement with energy and repetition of notes, and fanfares of the modern description date from the 19th century, when they were composed for British coronations (such as Hubert Parry's I was glad for Edward VII) and other important occasions.

A fanfare can range from salient flourishes within a piece of music to an entire musical work itself, and therefore may vary greatly in duration, scope, instrumentation, and compositional purpose.

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