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THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (some interesting facts)

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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!)

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I have spent a long and interesting life involved in music, as a performer (piano,) educator (at every level from elementary to graduate school,) solo pianist, bandleader, composer/songwriter; entertainer, storyteller and humorist. In my final (more...)
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