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The Stars and Stripes Forever

From Academic Kids

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" is a patriotic American march. It is the magnum opus of composer John Philip Sousa. By act of Congress, it is the National March of the United States of America.

Contents

History

In his autobiography, Marching Along, Sousa told how he composed it on Christmas Day 1896. He had just learned of the recent death of David Blakely, then manager of the Sousa Band. Sousa was on a ferry in Europe at the time, and he composed the march in his head. He committed the notes to paper on arrival in America. Although he would conduct performances of it at virtually every concert until his death, only one recording, made in 1909, survives today.

Musicality

Stars and Stripes Forever follows the standard march form (IAABBCDCDC). However, this particular march carries what modern conductors call an uplifting musicality to it. The introduction is simple, and yet it immediately hooks the audience and brings them to the first strain; two upbeat phrases followed by a sudden five-eightnote statement carried by the low brass. The second strain carries a more mellow and proud phrasing, which leads right into probably the widest-known trio section (i.e., third section, C) in the world. Sousa put lyrics to its trio, but they are not known by many. In fact, the trio was so popular, it became a model for other various lyrics including:

  • "Three cheers for the red white and blue"... etc.
  • The nursery rhyme "Be kind to your web-footed friends..." etc.

Other notes

  • Stars and Stripes Forever features in many U.S. musical performances. It is often spontaneously played immediately following the last scheduled piece on a program. Audiences often clap along to the beat. Many bands tend to adopt the Sousa Band arrangement of having piccolo players in front, and play the famous obbligato in the first repeat of the trio. In the grandioso, the low brass will join the piccolo players and play out their counter-melody.
  • In show business, particularly theatre and the circus, this hymn is called the Disaster March. It is traditional code signalling a life-threatening emergency. This helps theatre personnel to handle things and organize the audience's exit without panic. Circus bands never play it under any other circumstances.
  • The Russian pianist Vladimir Horowitz, who lived most his life in the U.S., wrote a famous transcription of Stars and Stripes Forever for solo piano.
  • The student band Strindens Promenade Orchester in Trondheim, Norway, has the world record in "speed playing" of Stars and Stripes (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.

Media

Template:Listen

Lyrics

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.


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.


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.


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 might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

External links

Template:American songsja:星条旗よ永遠なれ

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