MUHI 3088

A Survey of the American March for Wind Band

Course Description & Goals

In this course, we will survey the march genre for wind band from the mid nineteenth century to present [The focus will be on post-Civil War American wind bands. This is the beginning of the “Gilded Age” during which the U.S. saw substantial economic and technological growth, and when the brass band became less important and the wind band became more popular in American culture. The evolution of the march used as a genre for outdoor ceremonies to the development of concert marches written as a movement of a large musical work.], various composers, and the use of musical forms, styles, and performing practices. We will focus primarily on American marches. [In order to go into greater detail we will be covering mainly American marches. We will cover similarities between some European military band marches and American marches to add global perspective. The course would be designed as an elective for upper-level undergraduates who have completed basic undergraduate theory requirements and who are interested in exploring the evolution of the march in the wind band literature. The class format will be a mixture of seminar and lecture with the focus on the main composers and their musical works. Discussions will center on composers and their musical works. We will explore the different march styles, musical form, performance context, nationalism (especially with Sousa), and performance practice.]


[Currently, I would approach the historiography of this course with a mixture of perspectives: A Modernist approach by focusing on the composer and their musical works to provide students with pillars of the repertoire. Postmodern elements will be explored as the course will be divided into types of marches and further discussing the role of nationalism, performance practice, how and where the march was performed and the role of the march genre in wind band literature.]

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the main composers, march genres, musical works, events and evidence from the historical period of the post Civil Way America to the present.
  2. Be able to identify and explain fundamentals of the wind band march genre through analysis.
  3. Have developed skills for critically analyzing, interpreting, and implementing performance practice of a march.
  4. Have developed a set of tools for presenting a march program, including, but not limited to, constructing a program with a march, composing program notes and techniques for rehearsing a march in historical context.

Final Project

The central project for this course will be the creation of a yearly program of music for a junior high or high school band with the implementation of a march in each concert (four concerts will be programmed: Fall, Winter, Mid-Winter, and Spring). Each march selection will be rationalized by learning outcomes, relationship of each march in the progression that they are performed, along with performance practice of each march. (Students can choose the level of their ensemble, accompanying music in each program with accompanying rationale, and context of each performance). More detailed information on this project including progress reports will be outlined in week 3. [I will expand on this final project including style, nationalism (Fall concert=possibility of a Veteran’s Day Concert), and composers. The idea is to apply information and context of what we learn in class with how we can apply it in a performance setting today. There is great evidence of how much thought and care great American band performers programmed the march in their concerts. This is an opportunity for students to apply these same ideas of programming the march today. We will begin covering how Sousa programmed for his concerts during week 3 of class.]

Schedule of Classes

WEEK 1 Introductions and Sousa: The March King

Tuesday 9/2 - Introductions

“Why Play Marches?”

· TMTPM: xi-xvii [The introduction to TMTPM is a great way to open discussion of why marches are performed today and how they are relevant in today’s society by providing a compelling argument for marches to be valued as substantial works. This reading is short enough to accomplish in class while still facilitating a discussion.]


Thursday 9/4 – Sousa

John Philip Sousa

· TWC: 9-12 [This reading refers to the “Sousa Era” as the “Golden Age of Band.” Many modern bandmasters are referenced in this short excerpt explaining why they believe Sousa was “the god of the American concert band world” with many references to the importance of the Sousa march.]

· TAWB: 47-54 [This reading provides many detailed accounts of events, performances, and concert programs from the Sousa Band. Students will recognize programming norms in the early twentieth century and we will discuss how these elements are similar or different today. SLO #1,4]



WEEK 2 Sousa: The March King

Tuesday 9/9

JPS continued

· Warfield, Patrick. (2011). The March as Musical Drama and the Spectacle of John Philip Sousa. Journal of the American Musicological Society, 64(2), 289-318. [This article explains the shift of the audience from the parade field to the concert hall. Sousa’s professional band helped create this new shift in the audience of a march. Students will understand the significance of Sousa as an innovator. SLO #1]

· Recording and Score:

o The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa) [This march is a trademark work of nationalism in music.]


Thursday 9/11

JPS continued

· TMTPM: 2-13. [This chapter systematically diagrams and explains the musical form of a traditional Sousa quickstep march. The following pieces are used as examples in the chapter and will enhance the reading by providing an aural reference. This will help students recognize the parts of the march through score study or by aural example. SLO#2]

· Recordings:

o The Liberty Bell (Sousa)



WEEK 3 – The Sousa Band

Tuesday 9/16

· AWB: 47-69.

· Reading, Recording and Score:

o Manhattan Beach March (Sousa) [The first march Sousa wrote for band.]


Thursday 9/18

· Reading, Recording and Score:

o Hands Across the Sea (Sousa), TMTPM: 216-223.

o Fairest of the Fair (Sousa)

o The Washington Post (Sousa), TMTPM: 438-443.



WEEK 4 – Military Marches

Tuesday 9/23

· AWB: 23-41. [Providing sections on Music During the Civil War and Bands in the Gilded Age. Describing the use of the march for practical and entertainment purposes. SLO#1]

· TMTPM: 18-24. [This reading discusses the use of rhythm and meter in a march and how it relates to performance practice. Students will acquire skills to recognize elements of marches through score reading. SLO#2,3]


Thursday 9/25

· GAB: 15-38. [This reading provides students with detailed beginnings of the U.S. Military Bands and their role in nationalism. SLO #1]

· Recordings:

o On the Mall (Goldman), TMTPM: 333-340. [This march was a favorite among the public in the United States and abroad. “On the Mall” refers to the Mall in the Capitol.]

o Semper Fidelis (Sousa) [Sousa’s famous march written to honor the US Marines.]



WEEK 5 – Concert Marches

Tuesday 9/30

· TWC: 71-103. [This reading explains changes in how marches were programed in concerts which contributed in changes in how and why marches were written. SLO #1, 4]

· Recording and Score:

o Commando March (Barber)


Thursday 10/2

· TWC: 25-27. [Historical context provided for Ives and Hindemith(when living in the U.S.) and what they wrote for wind band. SLO #1]

· Recordings and Scores

o March from Symphonic Metamorphosis (Hindemith)

o Country Band March (Ives)



WEEK 6 – Circus Marches

Tuesday 10/7

· GAB: 21-23.

· Readings, Recordings and Scores:

o Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite (King), TMTPM: 141-146. [Karl King is known as the “Circus March King” and this is one of his best-known works. Study of this march sets a standard for all circus marches written after it. SLO #1, 2]


Thursday 10/9

· TMTPM: 25-31.

· Readings, Recordings and Scores:

o Lassus Trombone (Fillmore), TMTPM: 258-264.



WEEK 7 – European Influences [After covering the major American march genres and their prominent composers we will further investigate how the American march relates to popular European marches and composers. This information will be useful in learning how to program effectively and what characteristics make an American march different from other marches in the same genre. SLO#1,2,4]

Tuesday 10/14

· British March: Standard of St. George March (Alford), TMTPM: 398-401. [Military march]

· German March: Unter dem Doppeladler (Wagner, Josef Franz), TMTPM: 414-421. [Military march]


Thursday 10/16

· French March: Marche Lorraine (Ganne), TMTPM: 281-290. [Military march]

· Czeck March: Entry of the Gladiators March (Fucik), TMTPM: 192-198. [Circus march]

· Scandinavian March: Valdres (Hanssen), TMTPM: 422-427. [Concert march]



WEEK 8 – March Countdown [A chronological survey of important American marches that we have not yet covered in class will take place over week 8 and 9. This will add to the volume of major works and composers that students are exposed to and should aid them with their work toward their final project and beyond. TMTPM readings provide historical context and basic analysis. SLO #1,2,3,4]

Tuesday 10/21

El Capitan (Sousa), TMTPM: 178-186.

Chicago Tribune March (Chambers), TMTPM: 157-162.


Thursday 10/23

National Emblem March (Bagley), TMTPM: 320-327.

Quality-plus (Jewell), TMTPM: 369-378.



WEEK 9 – Continued March Countdown

Tuesday 10/28

Americans We (Fillmore), TMTPM: 113-121.

Them Basses (Huffine), TMTPM: 409-413.


Thursday 10/30

TMTPM: 48-75.

Block M (Bilik)



WEEK 10

Tuesday 11/4

Recordings and Scores: [John Williams is one of the most important composers of our generation. These two marches were originally composed for symphonic orchestra but have a played a large role in the repertoire of popular music for wind band (education, community band, outdoor concerts). How are these marches related to previous standard American marches?]

· Imperial March (Williams)

· The Raiders March (Williams)


Thursday 11/6

Final Project Presentations