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Belle of Chicago, The (Sousa)

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

General Info

Year: 1892
Duration: c. 2:05
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Harry Coleman
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Condensed Score
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-II-III
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
E-flat Cornet
B-flat Cornet Solo-I-II-III
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Sousa completed the band full score of The Belle of Chicago on July 23, 1892, in Washington, D.C. This date was precisely one week before his discharge from the Marine Corps to form his own civilian band, which, incidentally, was based in Chicago, so it is not at all surprising Sousa sought to curry favor with this Midwestern metropolis. Some have speculated the title was intended for Ada Blakely, wife of his new manager, David Blakely.

Chicago would prove an important performance site for Sousa for many years, and reviews from the Chicago press were always important. An unidentified press clipping from the Sousa Band press books demonstrates that initial reaction to The Belle of Chicago was not everything Sousa might have hoped. What he intended as a salute to the ladies of Chicago received this stinging criticism from one writer: “Mr. Sousa evidently regards the Chicago belle as a powerful creature, with the swinging stride of a giant, a voice like a fog-horn, and feet like sugar-cured hams”. And "Mr. Sousa has made his Chicago belle a strapping kitchen wench..."

This one negative review, while humorous, did not overshadow the fact this was one of Sousa’s best marches to date. The arresting four-bar introduction and the lean four-strain format (without breakup strain/dogfight/episode) is vigorous and exciting, with an irresistible momentum.

- Program note by Senzoku Gakuen College of Music Blue Tie Wind Ensemble concert program, 21 December 2012


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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