Stars and Stripes Forever, The

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (arr. and adapt. by Keith Brion and Loras John Schissel)

General Info

Year: 1896 / 1996
Duration: c. 3:30
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score & Parts - $60.00    |   Score Only - $6.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II

Vocal Solo and Chorus (optional)


In Score:

  • Flute and piccolo parts, m.155, beats 2 and 4: B-flat should read G (below)
  • Basses, meas. 15, beat 2&, upper voice: C should read B-flat (as in lower voice)
  • Drums, m.5 & 20: add repeat sign
  • Drums, m.22 & 37: add repeat sign
  • Drums, m.71 & 126: add repeat sign

Program Notes

The most popular march ever written celebrates its centennial year in a new edition created from the actual Sousa Traveling Band's parts.

- Program note by publisher

Sousa consistently stated that this march was divinely inspired and was born of homesickness. In his autobiography, Marching Along, he provides the details of its creation after he had received a cablegram in Italy that his manager, David Blakely, had died:

“Aboard the Teutonic, as it steamed out of the harbor on my return from Europe in 1896, came one of the most vivid incidents of my career. As I paced the deck, absorbed in thought, suddenly I began to sense the rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. It kept on ceaselessly, playing, playing, playing. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and reechoing the most distinct melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached the shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed. The composition is known the world over as The Stars and Stripes Forever and is probably my most popular march.” (By permission of John Philip Sousa, Inc., New York City)

Paul Bierley states that The Stars and Stripes Forever is “by far the most popular march ever written, and its popularity is by no means limited to the United States.” A ten-year international march popularity survey confirms Bierley’s statement. The universal appeal of Sousa’s march is illustrated by an article in The New York Times by Harold Schonberg which tells of a tour to China by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1973. After sitting politely but stonily through a program which ranged from Beethoven to Copland, the orchestra struck up The Stars and Stripes. “All of a sudden electricity permeated the hall. Faces broke into smiles; feet began tapping; there was a general air of understanding and happiness. Maybe,... (it) really is the greatest piece of music ever written by an American. In any case, it has made more friends for America than any other piece of music...”

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Sousa explained to the press that the three themes of the final trio were meant to typify the three sections of the United States. The broad melody, or main theme, represents the North. The South is represented by the famous piccolo obbligato, and the West by the bold countermelody of the trombones.

- Program Note from John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Martin Luther College (New Ulm, Minn.) Wind Symphony (Miles Wurster, conductor) - 18 May 2023 (Spring tour)
  • Matthew Flinders Anglican College (Sunshine Coast, Qld., Aus.) Wind Symphony (John Thomas, conductor) - 27 October 2022
  • Ringgold Band (Reading, Penn.) (Loras John Schissel, conductor) - 16 October 2022
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond) Wind Symphony (Robert Schwartz, conductor) - 29 September 2022
  • Kentucky Virginia (Whitesburg, Ky.) Summer Winds (Jason Griffith, conductor) - 31 May 2022
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Wind Ensemble (Craig A. Hancock, conductor) - 10 April 2022
  • Atlantic Wind Ensemble (Ocean Grove, N.J.) (Eliot Prowse, conductor) - 29 May 2021
  • Luther College (Decorah, Ia.) Concert Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 8 November 2020
  • Catskill Valley Wind Ensemble (Oneonta, N.Y.) (Andy Pease, conductor) – 26 January 2020
  • Atlantic Wind Ensemble (Ocean Grove, N.J.) (Dennis T. Eschbach, conductor) – 25 May 2019
  • Western Reserve Community Band (Hudson, Ohio) (Ralph Meyer, conductor) - 19 August 2018
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 4 July 2018
  • Mississippi Wind Symphony (Jackson) (Craig Young, conductor) - 3 July 2018
  • Miamisburg (Ohio) High School Wind Symphony (Steve Aylward, conductor) - 15 May 2018
  • United States Army Band (Arlington, Va.) (Andrew J. Esch, conductor) - 3 May 2018
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) University Band (Betsy McCann, conductor) – 3 May 2018
  • Rhode Island (Woonsocket) Wind Ensemble (Robert Franzblau, conductor) - 29 April 2018
  • Berea (Ky.) College Wind Ensemble (James Dreiling, conductor) – 26 October 2017
  • Atascadero (Calif.) Community Band (Carlos Gama, Jr., conductor) - 27 June 2017
  • Association of Community Bands Convention Band (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (Larry Lang, conductor) – 6 May 2017 (ACB 2017 Annual Convention (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.))
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Symphonic Band (Brian Youngblood, conductor) – 24 April 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press; Urbana, pp. 72.
  • Rehrig, William. "The Stars and Stripes Forever: America's National March." ACB Journal, October 2021, pp. 9-11.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 555-556.
  • Sousa, J.; Schissel, L.; Brion, K. (1996). The Stars and Stripes Forever [score]. C.L. Barnhouse: Oskaloosa, Iowa.