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Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (1923)

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

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General Info

Year: 1923
Duration: c. 3:25
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Sam Fox
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Condensed Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
Flute I-II
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
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Regimental Trumpet
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Harp (optional)

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Published in 1923, this concert-oriented march celebrates Sousa’s membership in the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners). His local chapter hosted the national convention in 1923 in Washington, D.C., and Sousa conducted a band of 6,200 members in Griffith Stadium, the largest group he ever conducted. Contemporary versions of the Janissary Band (Turkish royal bodyguards) are a vital part of colorful Shrine marching units, and this march was intended to recreate the musical style of this Turkish music. The “Jingling Johnny” or Turkish Crescent (a marching instrument with a pole hung with jingling bells), triangle, tambourine, and a heavy bass drum are highlighted, and we hear sudden fortissimo outbursts in the first section. This march is unique in that it includes a part for the harp.

- Program Note by Edward Harris

Nobles is unique among the American March King’s works: the first strain is in the key of B-Flat minor. It calls for triangle and tambourine as an integral part of the percussion texture, and it is basically alluding to “Turkish music”.

This music might more properly be called Janissary, for such was the name of the military bodyguard of Turkish sovereigns from the 15th and into the 19th century. It was the music of bands of the janissary which the Crusaders beheld with such fascination in their contacts with life in the Holy Land they sought to wrest from the Turks. Contemporary versions of the Janissary Band are a vital part of the colorful Shrine marching units seen in parades all over the country. Gaily costumed, bedecked with feather, sash, and sword, these units put out an oriental wail that is distinctly theirs.

Sousa was a Shriner and wrote this march for his friends in Washington. He conducted the première with an enormous band of 6200 Shriners in Washington’s Griffith’s baseball stadium.

- Program Note by David Holsinger

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Smith, Norman E. (1986). March Music Notes. Lake Charles, La.: Program Note Press, pp. 387.
  • Sousa, J. (1923). Nobles of the Mystic Shrine [score]. Sam Fox Publishing Co.: New York.