The Stars And Stripes Forever

By: John P. Sousa
For: String quartet
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John P. Sousa
Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
Classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

American bandmaster and composer John Philip Sousa did more than anyone to elevate the status of the military wind band through creation and performance. Sousa's boyhood coincided with the American Civil War. The sounds of military bands were constantly in the air. His first musical training was on the violin, and his father instructed him on several wind instruments. At 13 the lure of a visiting circus was a powerful incentive for the boy to join up as a musician; however, his astute father, himself a bandsman, caught wind of the lad's intention and procured an apprenticeship in the Marine Corps Band for his son. It proved to be a happy move for all involved. The young musician sharpened his skills in that musical organization called the "President's own." He composed his first march, ?Salutation?, at 16.

At 18, Sousa began to play violin in various theater orchestras. In 1880, Sousa was appointed leader of the Marine Corps Band, which he would serve for 12 years, under five presidents. He now began to hit his stride with his own marches, turning out such classics as ?Semper Fidelis?, ?The Washington Post?, ?The Thunderer?, and ?The High School Cadets?. In 1892 Sousa, resigning his position with the Marine Corps, organized his own band, known simply as ?Sousa's Band?. Through national, European, and world tours, the band's success was nothing short of a phenomenon, Sousa receiving many honors and decorations from the royal families of Great Britain and Europe.

He continued turning out his series of comic operas, including the highly successful ?El Capitan? (1895). From his pen flowed songs, symphonic poems, and more marches, this period seeing ?The Liberty Bell? (1893), ?King Cotton? (1895), ?Hands Across the Sea? (1899) and, most notably, ?The Stars and Stripes Forever? (1897).

Among his many achievements was his being a founder of ASCAP. He also helped develop the Sousaphone, a large tuba which features in parade bands. Ultimately, his compositions are his monument. But particularly it is the marches which endure. Sousa was not afraid to invest his marches with beautiful melody and unusual harmonies, placing them above being merely parade music. Sousa continued to explore within his chosen field until the end and many from his final decade such as The Gridiron Club and Sesquicentennial Exposition are remarkable for their inventiveness and vitality. The composer himself mused upon what constitutes the perfect march, stating that "it should make a man with a wooden leg step out." In virtually all of his creations in this field, Sousa passed this standard with flying colors.

This arrangement comes with a supplemental third violin part, and an optional bass part for use with string orchestra.

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Symphony No.25 - 1. Allegro con brio, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 3. Allegro, Chanson de Matin, Brook Green Suite - 3. Dance, Good King Wenceslas, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, Die Fledermaus (The Bat) - Overture, Sleepy Sidney, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, I Got The Blues, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 1. Andante grazioso (Theme and variations), Jingle Bells, Little Jesus, Sweetly Sleep, Trumpet Tune, Preludes, Book 1 No.8 - The Girl With The Flaxen Hair, Radetzky March, Op.228, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 6. Menuet, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 1. Largo; Allegro molto, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 2. Rondeau, Symphony No.40 - 4. Allegro assai, A Thousand And One Nights, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, Chanson Triste, Op.40 No.2, Siegfried Idyll, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, A Cyclone in Darktown, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 5. Romanze, The Nutcracker - Overture, Lullay My Liking, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 2. Air, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Angels From The Realms of Glory, Ode To Joy, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, The Barber of Seville - Overture, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 5. Gigue, Pavane, Op.50, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Morning Has Broken, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 7. Rondo - Allegro molto, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, God Save The Queen, Of The Father's Love Begotten, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 2. Andante, Song Without Words No.45 - Scherzo Op.102 No.3, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 1. Allegro, The Cannon Ball Rag, Water Music Suite No.2 in D, In The Bleak Mid-Winter, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Joy To The World, Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto, La Marseillaise, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Scherzo, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, Once in Royal David's City, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, The First Noel, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.11 Furchtenmachen (Frightening), Birthday Minuet, Christians, Awake!, Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, The Magic Flute - March, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Habanera from "Carmen", Key-Stone Rag, Unto Us A Child Is Born, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", The Blue Danube Waltzes, Silent Night, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, Who Let The Cows Out?, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Espana - 2. Tango, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Bethena - A Concert Waltz, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 3. Gavotte I and II, The Amazon Rag, Babes in Toyland - March of the Toys, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Symphony No.25 - 3. Menuetto, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 3. Allegro assai, The Coventry Carol, Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Water Music Suite No.1 in F, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.7 Traumerei (Dreaming), Symphony No.29 - 1. Allegro moderato, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Lullaby, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 1. Overture, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, The Holly And The Ivy, Roses From The South, Gymnopedie No.1, The Sleeping Beauty - Waltz, The Washington Post March, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 2. Affettuoso, Tales From The Vienna Woods, Symphony No.29 - 2. Andante, Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, O come, O come, Emmanuel, I Saw Three Ships, The Marriage of Figaro - Overture, Maple Leaf Rag, Wine, Women and Song, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, In Dulci Jubilo, Angels We Have Heard On High, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, Le Coucou, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune, Trombone Johnsen, Serenade No.10 , O Christmas Tree, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis), We Three Kings, Away In A Manger, Deck The Halls, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, O Holy Night, The Entertainer, 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 No.6 Legend ("When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child"), William Tell - Overture, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (1), A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne, Auld Lang Syne, The Ragtime Dance, Policy King, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Piano Sonata in A "Alla Turca" - 3. Rondo, Emperor Waltz, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.13 Der Dichter Spricht (The Poet Speaks), Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, Berceuse, Op.16, Artist's Life Waltz, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto and Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8

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