Sabre and Spurs (Sousa)

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

Subtitle: March of the American Cavalry

General Info

Year: 1918 / 1946
Duration: c. 2:50
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Sam Fox
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print

For availability information, see Discussion tab, ' above].


Condensed Score
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
E-flat Soprano Cornet
Cornets Solo-I-II-III
E-flat or Alto Horn I-II-III-IV
B-flat Tenor Horn I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Cavalry Regimental Trumpets
Drums, including:

  • Bass drum
  • Horse hooves
  • Snare drum


  • B-flat Clarinet I, m.1: 6/8 meter signature is missing.

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 311th Cavalry, commanded by Colonel George W.K. Kirkpatrick. It was another of Sousa's World War I efforts which retained its popularity after the war.

Today it may seem amusing that a scroll of appreciation designated Sousa "honorary life member of the Officers' 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

Sousa was in the U.S. Navy at the time [World War I], 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

None discovered thus far.


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Adaptable Music

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  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press; Urbana, pp. 68-69.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 555.
  • Sousa, J. (1918). Sabre and Spurs: March of the American Cavalry [score]. Sam Fox Pub. Co.: Cleveland, O.