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National Emblem March (arr Fennell)

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E.E. Bagley

Edwin Eugene Bagley (ed. Frederick Fennell)

General Info

Year: 1906 / 1981 / 2002
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute
Eb Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra Alto Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium (Bass Clef & Treble Clef)
String Bass
Percussion, including:

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


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

One of the most famous of American marches, National Emblem became so highly thought of that many people have assumed that it written by John Philip Sousa. In fact, members of Sousa’s own family were under the mistaken impression that Sousa composed it.

National Emblem was composed by American composer Edwin Eugene Bagley in 1905. National Emblem takes its name from our national emblem, the American flag. As a matter of fact, portions of the Star-Spangled Banner are heard in the first strain and trio of the march. Played in manuscript in 1905 by the Keene Band, it was first published by the Walter Jacobs Company of Boston in 1906. Since then more than 17 other band arrangements of National Emblem have been issued.

Long thought to be a one-march composer, Bagley’s other music has been forgotten for many decades. But, on the strength of National Emblem alone, E.E. Bagley deserves a place as one America’s great march composers. Frederick Fennell has described National Emblem as a march that is “as perfect as a march can be.”

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

National Emblem was published in 1906. Frederick Fennell wrote,

“This marvelous march never fails to lift my spirit to the loftiest heights of inner joy, outer physical exhilaration, and ultimate personal fulfillment. On some occasions I have felt that knowing it, loving it -- being able to listen to it any time being played by the band in my head -- was my whole reason to be alive. It’s just my march, and I began to teach it to myself by marching my way to high school while whistling or singing it, totally oblivious of what I am sure were quizzical and suspicious glances from people I encountered en route! ... It is a march for marching; sit-down performances of it should continue to march, for that is its heritage — music for the feet, not for the head — and it is unmistakably music for the spirit. "

- Program Note by the Vista Ridge High School Wind Ensemble concert program 19 December 2014

National Emblem (1902) is probably Bagley’s most prominent contribution to music. Bagley composed the score during a 1902 train tour with his family band. He became frustrated with the ending, and tossed the composition in a bin. Members of the band fortunately retrieved it and secretly rehearsed the score in the baggage car. Bagley was surprised when the band informed him minutes before the next concert that they would perform it. It became the most famous of all of Bagley’s marches. Despite this, the composition did not make Bagley wealthy, as he sold the copyright for $25.

Bagley incorporates into the march the first twelve notes of The Star-Spangled Banner played by euphoniums and trombones and ingeniously disguised in duple rather than triple time. The rest of the notes are all Bagley’s, including the four short repeated A- flat Major chords that lead to a statement by the low brass that is now reminiscent of the national anthem. Unusually, Bagley’s march does not incorporate either a break strain or a stinger.

“March King” John Philip Sousa declared it as one of the three finest street marches ever written, after two of his own compositions. As a national treasure, National Emblem is preserved in two early recordings made by world-class bands: Arthur Pryor’s Band (1908) and The President’s Own Marine Band (1914). Both of these recordings may be heard on the Library of Congress’ National Jukebox.

- Program Note from University of North Texas Symphonic Band concert program, 9 February 2016

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

  • Kansas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Five O'Clock Concert Band (Nick Liebl, conductor) – 11 March 2020
  • Petaluma (Calif.) Community Band (Dublin, Calif.) (Arlene Burney, conductor) – 9 June 2019 (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco)
  • Colorado State University Symphonic Band (T. André Feagin, conductor) - 6 December 2018
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Shawn Davern, conductor) – 26 April 2018
  • College of Southern Idaho (Twin Falls) Honor Band (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) - 15 April 2018
  • West Virginia University Symphonic Band (Lindsey Williams, conductor) - 30 November 2017
  • Nicholls State University (Thibodaux, LA) Symphonic Band (Jason S. Ladd, conductor) - 12 April 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) – 23 March 2017
  • Gold Coast Wind Ensemble (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) (Clint Hawley, conductor) – 28 January 2016
  • University of Georgia Hodgson Wind Symphony (Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor) – 8 November 2016
  • Atascadero (Calif.) Community Band (Carlos Gama, Jr., conductor) - 28 June 2016
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Kelly Watkins, conductor) – 16 February 2016
  • Charlottesville Municipal Band (Stephen E, Layman, conductor) - 2 June 2015
  • Ye Olde Towne Band (Los Altos, Calif.) (John DeLoah, conductor) - 31 May 2015
  • Brentwood (Calif.) Concert Band (Susan Stuart, conductor) - 7 February 2015
  • Vista Ridge High School (Cedar Park, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (Bryan T. Christian, conductor) - 19 December 2014 (2014 Midwest Clinic)
  • Charlotte (N.C.) Concert Band (Donald Morris, conductor) - 19 March 2011

Works for Winds by this Composer