Sabre and Spurs

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Frederick Fennell)

Subtitle: March of the American Cavalry

General Info

Year: 1918 / 1977 / 2005
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts - $70.00   |   Score Only - $9.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Wood Block


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

According to the inscription on the sheet music and on both of Sousa's known manuscripts, this was to be the "March of the American Cavalry." It was dedicated to the officers and men of the 311 Cavalry, commanded by Colonel George W.K. Kirkpatrick. It is another of Sousa's World War I efforts that retained its popularity after the war.

Today it may seem amusing that a scroll of appreciation designated Sousa "honorary life member of the Officer's Mess of the 311th Cavalry." But in Army terminology of the day this meant that he was made an honorary life member of the regiment, the highest honor they could bestow.

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

This march was dedicated to the officers and men of the 311th Cavalry in 1918. Sousa was in the U.S. Navy at the time, organizing musical units into bands for duty aboard ships and at various naval stations. He also formed a huge band, numbering 350, which toured major cities and helped support the Red Cross, Navy Relief, recruiting programs and the Liberty Loan bond drives (for which he also wrote a march). At Sousa's insistence, his salary was set at one dollar per month. Although the average age of the bandsmen was 20 and the white-bearded Sousa was 64, he marched in the parades and exhibited the energy of a man half his age. According to Paul Bierley, Sousa felt the need to identify with his youthful bandsmen and thus shaved off his famous beard. Later he jokingly remarked that the single act caused Germany to surrender, explaining that "Kaiser Wilhelm realized that a nation made up of men willing to make such sacrifices could not be defeated."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Kansas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

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. 68-69
  • Perusal score
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 555
  • Sousa, J.; Fennell, F. (1951). Sabre and Spurs: March of the American Cavalry [score]. Sam Fox Publishing: New York.