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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Loras John Schissel)

Subtitle: A Tone Poem for Concert Band

General Info

Year: 1910/2013
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $25.00.


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV (IV alternate for Alto Clarinet)
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Anvils (three sizes)
  • Castanets
  • Sheet Iron
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

America: A Tone Poem was originally the second movement of John Philip Sousa's concert suite Dwellers in the Western World, and composed in 1910. With the permission of John Philip Sousa IV, the work was retitled America and published in a new critical edition by Sousa scholar Loras John Schissel to bring this magnificent music to a wider audience.

Sousa composed this music using as its inspiration the dramatic poem Columbus by the "Poet of the Sierras," Joaquin Miller (1837-1913). While Miller is not as well known to the general public today, his work, particularly this poem, was known throughout the world. Sousa and Miller had collaborated in the 1880s on a stage work entitled Tally Ho for which Sousa composed an overture, song and the incidental music. When Columbus was published in a multi-volume collection of Miller's work in 1909, Sousa used this descriptive poem as the inspiration for the second movement of the Dwellers suite. Much of the music found in the first section of America had earlier appeared in the Act I finale of the Sousa opera Chris and the Wonderful Lamp, of 1899. The opera sequence centers around a voyage at sea, storm and triumphal landing , which fits comfortably within Miller's poem.

The music for the second part of the movement (the anvil section) was sketched on July 15, 1910, while Sousa was traveling and participating in various national trapshooting events. For the powerful finale of this work -- the great hymn of thanksgiving -- Sousa utilized his own patriotic anthem America, the Messiah of Nations, which wrote with the "Hossier poet," James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) for the dedication of the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis on May 15, 1902. The music is a vivid and colorful portrayal of Miller's poem, but could easily depict the birth and building of our great nation.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Lowcountry Wind Symphony (Beaufort, S.C.) (Donald F. Jemella, conductor) - 1 May 2022

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None discovered thus far.