The Washington Post March

By: John P. Sousa
For: String quartet
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John P. Sousa
Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Classical music
License details
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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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Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", William Tell - Overture, Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", Au fond du temple saint, from "The Pearl Fishers", Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Brook Green Suite - 2. Air, Brook Green Suite - 3. Dance, Canon in D, Chanson de Matin, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 1, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 3, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 3. Allegro, Duet: Sous le dome epais, from "Lakme", El Capitan, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, Holberg Suite - 2. Sarabande, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, Holberg Suite - 4. Air, Holberg Suite - 5. Rigaudon, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time), Pavane, Op.50, King Cotton, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 1. Allegro, The Nutcracker - Overture, The Barber of Seville - Overture, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 3. Allegro, L'Estate ("Summer") - 1. Allegro non molto, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, L'Estate ("Summer") - 2. Adagio, Presto, Water Music Suite No.2 in D, L'Estate ("Summer") - 3. Presto, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 3. Allegro, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op.42 - No.3 Melodie, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, Largo al factotum, from "The Barber of Seville", Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila", Birthday Minuet, O soave fanciulla, from "La boheme", Semper Fidelis, Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor", Habanera from "Carmen", Si. Mi chiamano Mimi, from "La boheme", Habanera from "Carmen", Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 1. Grave - Allegro, Espana - 2. Tango, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 2. Adagio cantabile, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 2. Menuetto and Trio, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Gradual, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Song to the Moon, from "Rusalka", St. Paul's Suite - 4. Finale (The Dargason), String Serenade - 2. Waltz, String Sonata No.1 - 2. Andante, Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, The Coventry Carol, The Gladiator March, The High School Cadets, The Blue Danube Waltzes, The Holly And The Ivy, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, Gymnopedie No.1, The Manhattan Beach March, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, The Stars And Stripes Forever, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, Trio No.1, Tales From The Vienna Woods, Trio No.2, O come, O come, Emmanuel, Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, I Saw Three Ships, Trio No.3, Un bel di vedremo, from "Madama Butterfly", Vissa d'arte, from "Tosca", Who Let The Cows Out? - For Sax Quartet (AATB), Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, Angels We Have Heard On High, Le Coucou, Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune, Trombone Johnsen, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, O Christmas Tree, Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis), Deck The Halls, We Three Kings, Away In A Manger, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, The Entertainer, 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 No.6 Legend ("When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child"), O Holy Night, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (1), A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne, The Ragtime Dance, Auld Lang Syne, Policy King, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Emperor Waltz, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Piano Sonata in A "Alla Turca" - 3. Rondo, 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, 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, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8 and 1812 Overture

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