The Stars and Stripes Forever

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" is a patriotic American march written and composed by John Philip Sousa, widely considered to be his magnum opus. By a 1987 act of the U.S. Congress, it is the official National March of the United States of America.[1]

The Stars and Stripes Forever
Stars and Stripes Forever 1

National march of the  United States
LyricsJohn Philip Sousa, May 1897
MusicJohn Philip Sousa, December 1896
Audio sample
The Stars and Stripes Forever, a march by John Philip Sousa
  • file
  • help


In his autobiography, Marching Along, Sousa wrote that he composed the march on Christmas Day, 1896. He was on an ocean liner on his way home from a vacation with his wife in Europe and had just learned of the recent death of David Blakely, the manager of the Sousa Band. He composed the march in his head and committed the notes to paper on arrival in the United States.[2] It was first performed at Willow Grove Park, just outside Philadelphia, on May 14, 1897, and was immediately greeted with enthusiasm.[3] Following an Act of Congress in 1987, it was officially adopted as the national march of the United States of America.[4]

Historically, in show business and particularly in theater and the circus, this piece is called "the Disaster March". In the early 20th century, when it was common for theaters and circuses to have house bands, this march was a traditional code signaling a life-threatening emergency. It subtly notified personnel of emergency situations and ideally allowed them to organize the audience's exit without causing the chaos and panic that an overt declaration might. Circus bands would never play the tune under circumstances other than impending disaster. One memorable example of its use was during the Hartford circus fire of July 6, 1944. At least 168 people were killed, though some estimates are much higher.[5]


The Stars and Stripes Forever follows the standard U.S. military march form—of repeated phrasing of different melodies performed in sections called strains: a Sousa legacy. Performances vary according to the arrangements of individual band directors or orchestrators, especially regarding tempo and the number and sequence of strains employed.

A typical performance of the march begins with the four-bar introduction, following with the first strain, which is repeated; then the second strain, which is also repeated; and sometimes both are repeated again if (the band is) marching in parade (or the breakstrain may be interjected and repeated). Now follows the dominant woodwinds in the first run of the famous Trio strain—familiar to many for the nonsense lyrics: "O' be kind to your web-footed friends .."—which repeats, and later repeats again as the piccolos obligato. (Here, in some performances, Sousa's patriotic lyrics may be sung in a choral overlay.) Then follows the breakstrain, the final strain, and the breakstrain repeated. The final repeats of the Trio (the Grandioso) render the famous obligato of the piccolo players—joined to a subdued but prominent countermelody by the brass section; then bringing everything to a close with once-more repeats of the grand finale.

Sousa explained to the press that the three themes of the final trio were intended to represent the three regions of the United States. The broad melody, or main theme, portrays the North. The South is represented by the famous piccolo obligato, and the West by the bold countermelody of the trombones. The three come together in the climax, representing the Union itself.[6]


Sousa's lyrics

Sousa wrote lyrics to the piece, although they are not as familiar as the music itself.[7] A typical pairing of Sousa's lyrics with various sections of the march—here the First strain and the Grandioso strain—is noted in the colored bars.[8]

First strain

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

Second strain

𝄆 Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation. 𝄇


Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.


Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Tidmarsh's additional lyrics

In 1942 the John Church Company published a four-part choral version of the march with a piano arrangement by Elmer Arthur Tidmarsh.[8] This arrangement has additional lyrics written by Tidmarsh for the Breakstrain section of the march.

Nonsense lyrics

The exact origin of the parody is unclear, but versions of it were being quoted as early as the 1930s on college campuses,[9] and during the 1940s, where it was sung for entertainment by soldiers at the USO. [10] Some newspapers of that time referred to it as the "Duck Song." [11] In 1954, Charles Grean and Joan Javits composed "Crazy Mixed Up Song", using the theme from The Stars and Stripes Forever, with lyrics beginning "Be kind to your web-footed friends". It was made somewhat popular by Peter Lind Hayes & Mary Healy in that year.[12] In the early 1960s, it reached a wider audience as a part of a nationally syndicated sing-along show, "Mitch Miller and the Gang".[13] This version has perhaps the best known lyrics,[14] which were used to end every show:[15][16]

 O' be kind to your web-footed friends,
 For a duck may be somebody's mother.
 Be kind to your friends in the swamp,
 Where the weather is very, very damp,
 Now you may think that this is the end,
 Well it is!

Soccer chants

"Here We Go", the best known and most widespread English football chant, consist of the words "here we go" continuously repeated to the tune of The Stars and Stripes Forever. It was described by Auberon Waugh as the national anthem of the working classes.[17] It was the basis of Everton F.C.'s official song for the 1984 FA Cup Final. The tune has been repurposed for many other, similarly repetitive, football chants.

Variations and notable uses

The Stars and Stripes Forever is featured in many U.S. musical performances and pop culture:

  • There are several orchestral transcriptions of The Stars and Stripes Forever, including one by conductor Leopold Stokowski and one by Keith Brion and Loras Schissel. There was also an orchestral arrangement of the march by Carl Davis and David Cullen for the album Carl Conducts...Classical Festival Favourites.[18]
  • The tune is widely used by soccer fans, with the trio/grandioso section sung with the words "Here We Go". The supporters of Spanish side Valencia CF used to sing it with the words "Xe que bó!" which means something like "Oh! How good" in Catalan, and those words have become a symbol for the team. Another version uses the word cheerio repeatedly, normally sung to players or coaches when they have been sent off or occasionally when an underdog has ended its opponent's cup campaign. Finally, certain clubs such as Forest Green or Sunderland use the chant just using the club name; this only works if the name has three syllables. A nickname can instead be used for the chant, such as Gateshead fans chanting "Tynesiders".
  • In the classic 1933 film Duck Soup, Harpo Marx, playing Pinky, a spy infiltrating a house in the middle of the night, attempts to open what he believes to be a safe, but turns out to be a large radio, which loudly begins playing The Stars and Stripes Forever when he turns the knob. Pinky spends the next several moments futilely (and loudly) trying to quell the noise before throwing the radio out a nearby window.
  • Classic Popeye the Sailor cartoons by Fleischer Studios make frequent use of the tune in the music score accompanying the climactic fight between Popeye and the villain starting with the moment Popeye gets a spinach power boost.
  • In show business, particularly theater and the circus, this piece is called "the Disaster March". It is a traditional code signaling a life-threatening emergency. This helps theater personnel to handle events and organize the audience's exit without panic. Circus bands never play it under any other circumstances. One memorable example of its use was at the Hartford Circus Fire in July 1944, in which at least 160 people were killed.[19][20][21]
  • Russian-American pianist Vladimir Horowitz wrote a famous transcription of The Stars and Stripes Forever for solo piano to celebrate his becoming an American citizen. In an interview, Horowitz opined that the march, being a military march, is meant to be played at a walking tempo. He complained that many conductors played the piece too fast, resulting in music that is "hackneyed".
  • In "Evolution", the first episode of the third season of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, a malfunction in the ship's systems causes the main computer to play Sousa's march on all channels throughout the ship. The episode was first aired on September 25, 1989.
  • The student band Strindens Promenade Orchester in Trondheim, Norway, has the world record in "speed playing" of The Stars and Stripes Forever (absolutely all notes must be played). The band calls their speedy rendering of the march "Stars and Stribes", and performs the march at all Saturday parties at the Trondheim Student Society. Set during the fall term of 1999, the record time is 50.9 seconds (nominal time is 3 minutes 50 seconds). For this, the band is noted in the Norwegian edition of the Guinness Book of Records.
  • American composer Robert W. Smith parodied Stars and Stripes Forever along with "Jingle Bells" with his composition "Jingle Bells Forever", published by Alfred Publishing Co.[22]
  • In Argentina, a sensationalist news channel Crónica TV always uses part of this march as a background music on reporting a breaking news story.
  • The Grateful Dead finished their 50th reunion concert on July 4, 2015 with fireworks accompanied by a recording of The Stars and Stripes Forever, in front of 70,000 people in Soldier Field in Chicago. The recording followed an uncharacteristically predictable live encore performance of the band's tongue-in-cheek "U.S. Blues", which led to speculation about whether Sousa's anthem was being celebrated ironically, or championed as a piece of uniquely American entertainment.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "36 U.S. Code § 304 – National march". United States Code. United States: Cornell Law School. August 12, 1998. Retrieved November 2, 2006. The composition by John Philip Sousa entitled 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' is the national march.
  2. ^ "The Story of "Stars and Stripes Forever"". Public Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Van Outryve, Karen. "Appreciating An Old Favorite: Sousa's All-Time Hit." Music Educators Journal 92.3 (2006): 15. Academic Search Complete. Web. April 19, 2012.
  4. ^ "To designate The Stars and Stripes Forever as the national march of the United States of America" (PDF). United States Government Publishing Office. December 11, 1987.
  5. ^ Michael Skidgell, The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top (Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2014) p. 43 ISBN 978-1-625-84522-1.
  6. ^ Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), p. 43, as cited in "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (1896).
  7. ^ Bierley, Paul E., “The Works of John Philip Sousa” Integrity Press, Westerville, OH, 1984.
  8. ^ a b Sousa, John Philip, & Tidmarsh, Elmer A. (1942.) "The Stars and Stripes Forever." USA: The John Church Company.
  9. ^ Henry Jova. "Berry Patch." Cornell Daily Sun (Ithaca NY), December 12, 1939, p. 4.
  10. ^ "Bits of Local Fare for the Men Over There." Wakefield (MI) Daily News, January 7, 1944, p. 4.
  11. ^ "Miami Herald Song Parade." Miami Herald, May 29, 1943, p. 8.
  12. ^ "1954 Hits Archive: Crazy Mixed Up Song (Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Friends) – Peter and Mary". 1954.
  13. ^ Jennifer Gavin (July 23, 2009). "Be Kind to Your Web-Posting Friends". United States Library of Congress.
  14. ^ Scott Deveaux and Gary Giddins. Jazz. W. W. Norton & Company; Second edition (February 1, 2015). p. 70. ISBN 978-0393937060.
  15. ^ Gale, Emily Margot (2014). Sounding Sentimental: American Popular Song From Nineteenth-Century Ballads to 1970s Soft Rock (PDF) (PhD). University of Virginia.
  16. ^ "Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends". Sony. 1958.
  17. ^ Kuper, Simon (1996) [1994]. Football Against The Enemy. London: Phoenix Books. p. 215. ISBN 1857994698.
  18. ^
  19. ^ On This Day in Connecticut History, by Gregg Mangan, page 159.
  20. ^ Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  21. ^ Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "The Grateful Dead Bids Fare Thee Well to Fans After Fifty Years". The Huffington Post. July 7, 2015.


  • Bierley, Paul E. John Philip Sousa: American Phenomenon. Miami, FL: Warner Bros. Publications, 2001.
  • Sousa, John Philip, & Tidmarsh, Elmer A. (1942.) "The Stars and Stripes Forever". USA: The John Church Company.
  • Skidgell, Michael. The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top. Stroud, U.K.: The History Press, 2014.

External links

All-Ohio State Fair Band

The All-Ohio State Fair Band was established in 1925 and first directed by Jack Wainwright of Fostoria. Each year, over 200 Ohio high-school musicians come to the Ohio State Fair for two weeks and perform multiple shows daily. The band concludes every concert with John Phillip Sousa's The Stars and Stripes Forever, a tradition dating back to the band's first performance. The current director of the band is Brian Dodd. The All-Ohio State Fair Band is the only state fair band in the United States.

American Creed

The American Creed is a statement of the defining element of American identity, first formulated by Thomas Jefferson and elaborated by many others, that includes liberty, equality, individualism, populism, and laissez faire.. Not to be confused with Dean Alfange's "An American's Creed".

American march music

American march music is march music written and/or performed in the United States. Its origins are those of European composers borrowing from the military music of the Ottoman Empire in place there from the 16th century. The American genre developed after the British model during the colonial and Revolutionary periods, then later as military ceremonials and for civilian entertainment events.

One of the earliest exponents of march music in America and its preeminent champion was John Phillip Sousa, "The March King"; he revolutionized and standardized American march music during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of his most famous marches—Semper Fidelis, The Washington Post March, The Liberty Bell March, and The Stars and Stripes Forever March—are among the best known of historical American music and are especially revered by many Americans for their rousing strains and patriotic themes. His The Stars and Stripes Forever features what is arguably the most famous piccolo obligato in all of music.

Other notable American composers of march music include Henry Fillmore – The Circus Bee;

Charles A. Zimmerman – Anchors Aweigh; W. Paris Chambers – Sweeney's Cavalcade; Edwin E. Bagley – National Emblem March; Meredith Willson – Seventy-six Trombones; George Gershwin – Strike Up the Band. Composers (from Europe or elsewhere) of march music popular in the US include: Johann Strauss Sr – Radetzky March; Kenneth J. Alford – Colonel Bogey March; Julius Fucik – Entry of the Gladiators; Edward Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance (No. 1).

The forms of American march music typically are of three categories: the military march form, the regimental march form, and a general group containing recapitulation marches, "four-step" marches, and other diverse forms. All marches have at least three common elements, including: different (i.e., contrasting) sections called strains; several different melodies; and a "trio" section of strains/"repeats" that offers pronounced contrasts in phrasing. Most American marches use (seemingly) simple chord progressions, but—using chromatic harmonies, sevenths extensions, and secondary dominants—composers often complicated their marches with interesting chords and rapid chord changes.

Boston Pops Orchestra

The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts that specializes in playing light classical and popular music.

The Boston Pops was founded in 1885 as a second, popular identity of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), founded four years earlier. Consisting primarily of musicians from the BSO, although generally not all of the first-chair players, the orchestra performs a Spring season of popular music and a holiday program in December, the BSO schedule on break at those times. For the Pops, the seating on the floor of Symphony Hall is reconfigured from auditorium seating to banquet/cafe seating. In addition, the Pops also plays an annual concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade every Fourth of July. Their performance of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is famous for the unfurling of the American flag that occurs as the song enters its final moments. Identified with its long-time director Arthur Fiedler, in the past the orchestra has recorded extensively, made frequent tours, and appeared regularly on television. The Pops Spring and Holiday seasons allowed the BSO to become one of the first American orchestras to provide year-round employment for its musicians.The current Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra is Keith Lockhart.

Chimes of Liberty

"Chimes of Liberty" is a military march by Edwin Franko Goldman (1878–1956). It vies with "On the Mall" (another march) as Goldman's greatest hit.

Many think "Chimes of Liberty" is a re-working of the Liberty Bell (march) by John Philip Sousa; however, although the influence of Sousa on Goldman is unquestionable, the two marches are totally different, being written by different composers, each with a different tone. Nonetheless (like Sousa's "Liberty Bell") Goldman's "Chimes of Liberty" does use chimes. It follows the regular march pattern: IAABBCDCDC. This march was written prior to 1922, when Goldman recorded it for the Victor Talking Machine Company, but he revised it at least once before publishing the 1937 edition now largely in use.

"Chimes of Liberty" is considered one of the most lively and tuneful marches ever written, and possibly America's greatest march not by Sousa after "National Emblem" by Edwin Eugene Bagley. It doesn't sound right without the chimes, but the piccolo is equally important. The piccolo solo is more distinctive than the piccolo part of any other march with exception of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by Sousa.

Crónica TV

Crónica TV is an Argentinian news channel focused on live news reports. It is operated by Estrellas Producciones S.A. (Estrella Satelital) and owned by Héctor Ricardo García.

Guy Van Duser

Guy Van Duser (born 1948) is an American folk/jazz guitarist. He recorded for Rounder Records extensively from the 1970s to the 1990s, and often appeared on American Public Media's A Prairie Home Companion.

His guitar arrangement of The Stars and Stripes Forever was covered by Chet Atkins and also Doug Smith among othersVan Duser has been a professor in the guitar department at Berklee College of Music.

Here We Go (football chant)

"Here We Go" is the archetypal football chant, composed of the words "here we go" sung over and over again to the tune of Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever". The words were written by Harold Spiro and first recorded by Hoagy And The Terrace Choir which was released on State Records in 1976 and the song is published by State Music Ltd. Used at the time of the miners' strike as a rallying call, the song is often interpreted to precede a battle of some kind - in popular thought it is the chant of an aggressive football firm or gang; yet, unlike many football chants, it contains no explicitly offensive lyrics and is known widely. It was described by Auberon Waugh as the national anthem of the working classes. It is also an integral component of "The Music Man", alongside "The Dam Busters March" and the theme tune to Match of the Day.

The same segment of Sousa tune is sometimes employed for club-specific football chants (for example Plymouth Argyle supporters regularly sing "Ar-guy-ull, ar-guy-ull, ar-guy-ull") and as a vehicle for exhortations to the players (a team that has scored three goals might be encouraged to "Give us four" etc.), an impromptu observation on the on-field action ("Send him off") or a taunt ("You are crap"). The supporters of Nottingham Forest used the melody with the words "Bri-an Clough" in honour of the then manager Brian Clough before the kick-off of each match. The singing would only stop once Clough had acknowledged the chant with a wave.

The melody was also used by Manchester City and Sunderland fans for the chant "Niall Quinn's Disco Pants", in tribute to the Irish centre forward. The song was released as a single in April 1999, reaching no. 56 in the UK Singles Chart.The supporters of Valencia CF used to sing the melody with the words "Xe que bó!" which means something like "Oh! How good" in Valencian or Catalan.

The chant formed the title and a great deal of the lyrics for Everton's FA Cup final single "Here We Go!" in 1984.

John Clifford Heed

John Clifford Heed (1862–1908) was an American composer and musician, best known for composing over 60 marches. Born in Hackettstown, New Jersey, on April 23, 1862, Heed began his musical career with the Hackettstown Cornet Band by the age of 11. By the time he reached the age of 17 he was the leader of this band and he had master with astonishing rapidity the intricacies of harmony and counterpoint. He became proficient on the piano and violin, and could play most band instruments. In 1882 he had the opportunity to travel with a noted English orchestra through the United States. The cornetist that had come with the orchestra became ill and was sent back to England. Heed was highly recommended and was engaged to fill the cornetist's place. He received encomiums from the press and public in every city and town visited. A year later, in 1883, Heed accepted an engagement to become the leader of the Providence Brigade Band. This was a position that he held until he was called back to New Jersey to conduct another orchestra and band. Soon thereafter, he went to Worcester, Massachusetts and spent eight years as a teacher of bands. His next position was a cornetist for Voss's First Regiment Band in Newark, New Jersey. It was after the Metronome article was written that Mr. Heed went with John Phillip Sousa's band as a soloist and arranger before contracting tuberculosis in the 1890s and dying in Newark, New Jersey on February 12, 1908. He died leaving no children. He was buried near his family in Union Cemetery in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

According to local legend in Hackettstown, New Jersey it is claimed that it was Heed who actually wrote for Sousa his great masterpiece: "The Stars and Stripes Forever". This is corroborated by a story entitled "Hackettstown's Early Musicians" in the book entitled "The Story of Hackettstown New Jersey from 1754 to 1955" by J. Harold Nunn at pages 99–101.

His original cornet along with various photographs may be seen at the Hackettstown Historical Society Museum, in Hackettstown, New Jersey where the cornet is on loan from Mr. Heed's family.

Heed's best known works include the marches In Storm and Sunshine, Regimental Pride, Metronome Prize, Clipper, The Rouser, and General Miles. He also composed polkas, waltzes, orchestral works, and pieces for cornet and piano. He is occasionally referred to as the "March Wizard" by Carl Fisher, one of America's oldest music houses and who published Mr. Heed's compositions.

John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (; November 6, 1854 – March 6, 1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era known primarily for American military marches. He is known as "The March King" or the "American March King", to distinguish him from his British counterpart Kenneth J. Alford who is also known as "The March King". Among his best-known marches are "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (National March of the United States of America), "Semper Fidelis" (official march of the United States Marine Corps), "The Liberty Bell", "The Thunderer", and "The Washington Post".

Sousa began his career playing violin and studying music theory and composition under John Esputa and George Felix Benkert. His father enlisted him in the United States Marine Band as an apprentice in 1868. He left the band in 1875 and learned to conduct. From 1880 until his death, he focused exclusively on conducting and writing music. He eventually rejoined the Marine Band and served there for 12 years as director, after which he organized his own band. Sousa aided in the development of the sousaphone, a large brass instrument similar to the helicon and tuba.

Upon the outbreak of World War I, Sousa was awarded a wartime commission of lieutenant commander to lead the Naval Reserve Band in Illinois. He then returned to conduct the Sousa Band until his death in 1932. (In the 1920s, he was promoted to the permanent rank of lieutenant commander in the naval reserve, but he never saw active service again.)

Joseph W. Clokey

Joseph Waddell Clokey (August 28, 1890, New Albany, Indiana – September 14, 1960, Covina, California) was an educator, organist and composer of sacred and secular music in the first half of the 20th Century.

A student of Edgar Stillman Kelley, he served as dean of the School of Fine Arts at his alma mater, Miami University, from 1939 until 1946, and had previously been professor of organ at Miami University (1916–1923) and Pomona College. He was a faculty initiate of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, and was responsible for the arrangement of music used in the fraternity's traditions. As an undergraduate, he and Joseph M. Bachelor wrote the first song for the fraternity Phrenocon, which later became Phi Kappa Tau.

His work included two symphonies, including the "Dorian" Symphony, two orchestral suites, a string quartet, a cello and violin sonata, twelve choral works in large form, five operas, organ suites, many organ pieces, and more than a hundred published choral works. These include "The Musical Trust," a 1925 ballad about a flautist, a tuba-player, and a drum-and-cymbal combo who cannot make any money on their own so they form a band together. This piece incorporates snatches from familiar American tunes including "Turkey in the Straw," "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay," "The Stars and Stripes Forever," "Dixieland," "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp" and "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean."Clokey's father (also named Joseph Clokey) was a Presbyterian pastor, and this was certainly an influence on the younger Joseph Clokey's focus on sacred music. He was one of the most widely sung composers in churches during the 1950s.

He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.His son, Art Clokey, was the creator of clay animation characters Gumby, Pokey and Davey and Goliath.

For a time, there was a building on the Miami University campus named Clokey Hall until it was torn down. When Sesquicentennial Chapel was built at Miami University, the organ loft was named after Clokey as well.

In 1987, composer John Ness Beck founded the John Ness Beck Foundation in memory of Clokey and Randall Thompson to promote traditional sacred choral music.

March (music)

A march, as a musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by a military band. In mood, marches range from the moving death march in Wagner's Götterdämmerung to the brisk military marches of John Philip Sousa and the martial hymns of the late 19th century. Examples of the varied use of the march can be found in Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, in the Marches Militaires of Franz Schubert, in the Marche funèbre in Chopin's Sonata in B flat minor, and in the Dead March in Handel's Saul.

National symbols of the United States

National symbols of the United States are the symbols used to represent the United States of America.


In Western classical music, obbligato (Italian pronunciation: [obbliˈɡaːto], also spelled obligato) usually describes a musical line that is in some way indispensable in performance. Its opposite is the marking ad libitum. It can also be used, more specifically, to indicate that a passage of music was to be played exactly as written, or only by the specified instrument, without changes or omissions. The word is borrowed from Italian (an adjective meaning fixed; from Latin obligatus p.p. of obligare, to oblige); the spelling obligato is not acceptable in British English, but it is often used as an alternative spelling in the US. The word can stand on its own, in English, as a noun, or appear as a modifier in a noun phrase (e.g. organ obbligato).


The piccolo (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpikkolo]; Italian for "small", but named ottavino in Italy) is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The modern piccolo has most of the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written. This gave rise to the name ottavino (Italian for "little octave"), which the instrument is called in the scores of Italian composers. It is also called flauto piccolo or flautino.

Piccolos are now mainly manufactured in the key of C. In the early 20th century, piccolos were manufactured in D♭ as they were an earlier model of the modern piccolo. It was for this D♭ piccolo that John Philip Sousa wrote the famous solo in the final repeat of the closing section (trio) of his march "The Stars and Stripes Forever".

In the orchestral setting, the piccolo player is often designated as "piccolo/flute III", or even "assistant principal". The larger orchestras have designated this position as a solo position due to the demands of the literature. Piccolos are often orchestrated to double the violins or the flutes, adding sparkle and brilliance to the overall sound because of the aforementioned one-octave transposition upwards. In concert band settings, the piccolo is almost always used and a piccolo part is almost always available.

Stars and Stripes Forever (disambiguation)

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" is a march by American composer John Philip Sousa.

Stars and Stripes Forever may also refer to:

Stars and Stripes Forever (film), a 1952 biopic about John Philip Sousa, starring Clifton Webb, Debra Paget, Robert Wagner, and Ruth Hussey

Stars and Stripes Forever, a 1998 science fiction novel by Harry Harrison, the first book in the Stars and Stripes trilogy

Stars & Stripes Forever (album) by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

"The Stars and Stripes Forever", a song from the 2003 album The Civil War by Matmos

"Stars and Stripes Forever", an assortment of action figures released by Toys "R" Us to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline

Stars and Stripes Forever (film)

Stars and Stripes Forever is a 1952 American Technicolor film biography of the late-19th-/early-20th-century composer and band leader John Philip Sousa. This 20th Century Fox feature was produced by Lamar Trotti, directed by Henry Koster, and stars Clifton Webb, Debra Paget, Robert Wagner, and Ruth Hussey. The film's title is taken from Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever", which has become the best known of his military marches.While the film's storyline is loosely based on Sousa's autobiography Marching Along, the film takes considerable liberties and dramatic license, often expanding and examining themes and passages from Sousa's book. Two examples: In the film, Private Willie Little (Robert Wagner), is credited with inventing the Sousaphone and naming it after his mentor, but in reality Sousa himself designed the instrument. The inspiration for the film's title march is depicted in a scene with a voice over by Webb quoting Sousa's actual description of its creation while he was aboard ship recovering from typhoid fever. In reality, having learned of the sudden death of his band's manager, Sousa and his wife canceled their European vacation and were returning to the U.S. by steamship when the march came to him.

Musical compositions
Other performing arts

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.