Liberty Bell, The (1893)

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

General Info

Year: 1893
Duration: c. 3:45
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: John Church
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Condensed Score
C Piccolo
D-flat 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
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
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
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This march was composed in 1893 and within one year was published for piano solo, piano duet, orchestra, band, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and zither. The title resulted from (1) Sousa and his manager seeing a huge painting of the Liberty Bell during a show in Chicago, (2) a letter from Sousa's wife the next morning telling how their son had marched in a Philadelphia parade honoring the Liberty Bell, and (3) Sousa's unashamed patriotism, which predisposed him toward any title with a nationalistic ring -- he was sometimes called the Pied Piper of Patriotism. As his first march published on a royalty basis, The Liberty Bell march netted Sousa $40,000 in less than seven years. Later in his life he told Herbert L Clarke that he had spent some $15 million on band transportation and $13 million on salaries. And yet he died a very wealthy man.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

For $500 more, this march probably would have been named The Devil's Deputy. Sousa was composing music for an operetta of that name at the request of the famous comedian Francis Wilson. Sousa asked $1500 for the work, but Wilson offered $1000. When they could not come to an agreement, Sousa withdrew his partially completed manuscript, which included a lively march.

Sousa and George Frederick Hinton, one of the band's managers, were in Chicago witnessing a spectacle called America when a backdrop, with a huge painting of the Liberty Bell, was lowered. Hinton suggested the The Liberty Bell would be a good title for Sousa's new march. By coincidence, the next morning Sousa received a letter from his wife in which she told him that their son had marched in his first parade in Philadelphia -- a parade honoring the return of the Liberty Bell, which had been on tour. The new march was then christened The Liberty Bell. It was one of the first marches Sousa sold to the John Church Company and was the first composition to bring Sousa a substantial financial reward.

According to a story told by the Sousa Band's first soprano, Marcella Lindh, she contributed one of the themes of the march. Sousa had heard her whistling a catchy tune of her own and had asked her permission to incorporate it into one of his marches. Several years later she heard The Liberty Bell march being performed by a band in Europe and recognized her own melody in the march.

- Program Note from John Philip Sousa: An Annotated Catalog of His Works

This march is better known in the public mind than most other Sousa marches because of its use as theme music by the British comedy troupe Monty Python.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Metropolitan Winds (Lexington, Mass.) (Richard Wyman, conductor) - 13 July 2023
  • Encore Winds (Traverse City, MI) (Timothy Topolewski, conductor) - 19 May 2019
  • Bullard High School (Fresno, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Cargill, conductor) – 12 April 2019 (2019 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
  • United States Marine Band (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) – 20 January 2017 (Presidential Inauguration)

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. 56-57.
  • The Liberty Bell (march), Wikipedia Accessed 22 January 2017
  • Perusal score
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 554.
  • Sousa, J. (1893). The Liberty Bell: March [score]. John Church: Cincinnati, Ohio.