THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (some surprising facts")
THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER by John Philip Sousa has long been recognized as the # 1 American patriotic march. It was composed at a time when patriotism was unabashedly jingoistic in the U.S.A. Here are a few interesting facts about this stirring and most memorable musical composition.
Its melody was composed in the year 1897. At the time, Sousa was visiting Europe. He composed the march in his head, while on a ferryboat, just after he received word of the death of David Blakely, his Sousa Band manager. Upon Sousa's return to the U.S.A. he notated the march. A few years later, while gazing at the skyline of New York City from the deck of a ship as he returned from another trip, he was inspired to write lyrics for the march. (Sousa was adept at creating lyrics, since his primary interest had been writing operettas, and he had completed seven of them.)
My dad taught me the lyrics of this greatest march tune when I was a kid. I never forgot them! Here they are. (But first, I'll outline the structure of the military march of Sousa's time:)
1.An attention-getting short INTRODUCTION"
2.Some short and repeated melodic sections called STRAINS*
3.The usually most recognized part of the melody: the TRIO
4.A rousing short section, a "turn-around" or "DOG FIGHT"
5.A repeat of the TRIO.
Many marches end with an emphatic last chord, referred to as "a STINGER." (Some marches have no stinger, and this has led to countless H.S. individual players having supplied a stinger of their own"a final isolated and embarrassing BLEEP!)
And now"(TA DA!)"the lyrics of The Stars and Stripes Forever:
"Let martial note, in triumph float, and liberty extend its mighty hand. A flag appears"midst thunderous cheers"the banner of the western land!"
"The emblem of the brave and true"its folds protect no tyrant crew! The starry red and white and blue is freedom's shield and hope!"
"Other nations may deem their flags the best and cheer them with fervent 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 banner forever! The gem of the land and the sea; the banner of the right!"