Ruffles and flourishes
Ruffles and flourishes are preceding fanfare for honors music
Honors music
The honours music for a person, office or rank is music played on formal or ceremonial occasions in the presence of the person, office-holder, or rank-holder, especially by a military band...

 (ceremonial music for distinguished people).

Ruffles are played on drum
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

s, and flourishes are played on bugles
Bugle (instrument)
The bugle is one of the simplest brass instruments, having no valves or other pitch-altering devices. All pitch control is done by varying the player's embouchure, since the bugle has no other mechanism for controlling pitch. Consequently, the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series...

. For example, the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 receives four ruffles and flourishes before "Hail to the Chief
Hail to the Chief
"Hail to the Chief" is a march primarily associated with the President of the United States. Its playing accompanies the appearance of the President at many public appearances. For major official occasions, the United States Marine Band and other military ensembles generally are the performers, so...

." Four ruffles and flourishes is the highest honor.

Although roughly equivalent, the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 has a different "Table of Honors" – some civilian officials more, others less; often different musical tunes – and includes in its arsenal of formal Honors one more, which is specific to naval traditions: Sideboy
A side boy is a member of an even-numbered group of seamen posted in two rows at the quarterdeck when a visiting dignitary boards or leaves the ship, historically to help him aboard, presently as a ceremonial guard of honour, in a ceremony known as tending the Side. Side boys are instructed by the...

s, an even number of seamen
Seaman is one of the lowest ranks in a Navy. In the Commonwealth it is the lowest rank in the Navy, followed by Able Seaman and Leading Seaman, and followed by the Petty Officer ranks....

 (in this list 8 for guests with quadruple or triple ruffles and flourishes, 6 for lower ranking dignitaries) posted at the gangway when the dignitary boards or leaves the ship, historically to help (or even hoist) him aboard, presently as a ceremonial sort of guard of honor.

See also

  • Military band
    Military band
    A military band originally was a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music...

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