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Man Behind the Gun, The

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

General Info

Year: 1897 / 1899
Duration: c. 2:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: John Church
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Cornet or Alto 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
Euphonium or Tenor Saxophone
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In telling a reporter how this march was inspired, Sousa also gave his explanation of why his marches have been more successful than those of the master composers:

A composition in march tempo must have the military instinct, and that is one reason why so few of the great composers have written successful marches. They lived in an atmosphere of peace. The roll of musketry had no meaning of them, so that quality is entirely absent from their work. The Spanish War was an inspiration to me. The Man Behind the Gun was a musical echo of it.

The march first appeared in the operetta Chris and the Wonderful Lamp (1899).

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

The Man behind the Gun is another of Sousa’s marches extracted from his operettas and is composed of themes drawn from his musical show Chris and the Wonderful Lamp. Typical of Sousa’s other operetta inspired marches, The Man Behind the Gun has a sudden midstream shift in rhythm from triple to duple to duple time, and in common with his U.S. Field Artillery and Bullets and Bayonets marches, introduces a few timely gun shots.

- Program Note from liner notes of Naxos CD Music for Wind Band 9


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) – 8 April 2018 (College Park, Md.)

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. 58.
  • Sousa, J. (1899). The Man Behind the Gun: March [score]. John Church: [Cincinnati, Ohio].