Black Horse Troop, The

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Frederick Fennell)

General Info

Year: 1924 / 1974
Duration: c. 3:20
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $82.00; (digital) - $70.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Black Horse Troop was completed December 30, 1924, at Sousa’s Sands Point, Long Island, estate. It was played for the first time about ten months later on October 17, 1925, at a concert of the Sousa Band in the Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio – and I was there. I had not been to such an event as this one; I remember that as Sousa’s march was being played, Troop A rode the stage and stood behind the band to the tumultuous cheering of all. The March King enjoyed a long relationship with the men and horses of Cleveland’s Ohio National Guard, known as Troop A.

Once again his special comprehension of the thrilling spectacle of regimental movement produced a compelling musical experience for both the player and the listener, commanding our particular awareness of his use of the trumpets and drums at various dynamic levels.

During the half-century of his career as the most successful bandmaster who ever lived, there was both reason and necessity for his creating these wonderful marches – and among them all The Black Horse Troop is a positive standout.

- Program Note by Frederick Fennell

Sousa's love for horses is reflected in this march dedicated to the mounted troops of a Cleveland National Guard unit. Their exclusive use of black horses was the inspiration for the title. Troop A, once known as the First City Troop of Cleveland, was originally an independent militia group and has had a long, distinguished history since its formation in 1877. Sousa's most noteworthy association with the troop came in 1878. The Sousa Band, having arrived in Cleveland just as the troop was preparing to leave for the Spanish-American War, marched in a parade escorting them from the Armory to the train depot. His first association was much earlier, however. As leader of the U.S. Marine Band in 1881, he marched with the organization in the funeral cortege of President James A Garfield.

At a dinner held in Sousa's honor in November 1924, the march was requested by Captain Walker Nye of Troop A. The request was fulfilled promptly, and the march was presented in Cleveland on October 17, 1925, at a Sousa Band concert, which also marked the forty-eighth anniversary of Troop A, For the occasion, the mounted troopers were dressed in the blue uniforms of 1877, complete with black fur busbies. They rode right up onto the stage with the band. Sousa presented a manuscript of the march to Captain Nye. After the concert a reception was held at the Armory, and Sousa was presented with a bronze plaque.

Many of the former Sousa Band members expressed their fondness for the composition and commented on the descriptive character it assumed when performed by Sousa himself. Part of the effect was due to the 6/8 rhythm, which suggests the canter of horses. Also contributing to the effect was Sousa's use of simulated hoofbeats.

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


State Ratings

  • Kansas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Kansas State University (Manhattan) Wind Symphony (Alex Wimmer, conductor) - 3 October 2023
  • Cleveland (Ohio) Winds (Birch Browning, conductor) – 20 November 2022
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Kirt Saville, conductor) - 24 February 2021
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • Danville (Calif.) Community Band (Robert Calonico, conductor) – 2 April 2017
  • State College (Penn.) Area Municipal Band (Ned Deihl, conductor) – 10 April 2016
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Don L. Peterson, conductor) – 11 February 2016
  • Tualatin Valley (Ore.) Community Band (Kevin Soon, conductor) – 13 December 2015
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Orchestra (Craig Potter, conductor) - 6 December 2015
  • Carrollton (Texas) Wind Symphony (Jim Moen, conductor) - 2015

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. 35
  • Sousa, J.; Fennell, F. (1974). The Black Horse Troop [score]. Alfred Publishing: Van Nuys, Calif.