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Sunday, July 4, 2010

§ I Am Music and I Pick the Songs: Stars and Stripes Forever

{Song #73 « Song #74 » Song #75}

§ ≡ One of an ongoing series of posts in which I pick, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best songs of the second millennium. Feel free to offer constructive dissenting opinions; preferably set to music.

Song #74 is Stars and Stripes Forever composed by John Philip Sousa. "Stars and Stripes Forever" is a patriotic American march widely considered to be the magnum opus of composer John Philip Sousa. By act of Congress, it is the National March of the United States of America. Stars and Stripes Forever follows the standard American march form. Its trio is the most famous part of the march. Most bands adopt the Sousa Band practice of having one or three (never two) piccolo players play the famous obbligato in the first repeat of the trio. In the second repeat (marked "Grandioso"), the low brass joins the piccolo players with a prominent countermelody. The official version, as played by the United States Marine Band, is performed in the key of E-flat.

Although Sousa's lyrics for the trio begin as, "Hurrah for the flag of the free! May it wave as our standard forever, ..." many people are more familiar with the famous parody, "Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother ...". The latter alternative lyrics are the ones I learned as a kid.

This is my favorite American march.

John Philip Sousa - Stars and Stripes Forever

Post #1,344 § I Am Music and I Pick the Songs: Stars and Stripes Forever
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