A big band is a type of musical ensemble that originated in the United States in the early 20th century. It typically consists of a large number of musicians playing brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, often with vocalists. The big band sound is characterized by its lively rhythms, intricate arrangements, and use of improvisation. The swing era of the 1930s and 1940s saw the rise of some of the most famous big bands, such as those led by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller. Today, big bands continue to perform and record, with many preserving the classic swing sound while others incorporate modern elements of jazz and other genres.