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"The Washington Post" is a patriotic march composed by John Philip Sousa in 1889. Since then, it has remained as one of his most popular marches throughout the United States and many countries abroad.

Contents

History

In 1889 owners of the Washington Post newspaper requested the then-current leader of the Marine Band to compose a march for the newspaper's essay contest awards ceremony. Sousa obliged, and it was first performed on June 15, 1889 at the ceremony, and was an instant hit. It led to a British journalist dubbing him "The March King." Sousa is honored in the Washington Post building for his contribution to the newspaper and his country.

The composition is now in the public domain as the copyright has expired.

Composition

This recognizable march is written in standard form: IAABBCCDCDC. Written in 6/8 meter, it is suited as an accompaniment to the two-step, a new dance introduced in its time.

Washingtonpost-3.png

The first strain of the march (above) is famous and familiar to many. The march is played in a stately march tempo (110-120 beats/m; rarely over).

March enthusiasts have argued that the trio sections's mellow and moving phrases are amongst Sousa's most musical. Six sudden eighth notes move the melody along, and its unusually calm breakstrain is a simple adaptation of the trio melody. It then moves on to the first trio repeat, where the low brass begins an even more mellow countermelody.

Title

Title as shown in sheet music

"The Washington Post" is one of Sousa's most played works. It is performed widely by concert and marching bands alike; it is considered to be an essential piece for band literature.

The title of the piece appears variously in recordings, programs, etc. as The Washington Post, The Washington Post March, or simply as Washington Post. The correct name of the piece is, in fact, The Washington Post. The original sheet music is headed

The Washington Post.
March.

on two separate lines with a period after each line. The original handwritten Sousa manuscript shows a similar format, and the cover of the sheet music as shown above, is an artistic rendering of a newspaper page headed "The Washington Post," with the words "March by John Philip Sousa" appearing separately at the bottom. All of this indicates that Sousa and his publishers thought of the title as being The Washington Post, with "March" as simply being a description.

Dance

The "two step" became so strongly identified with Sousa's song that it was often called "The Washington Post".[1]

Recordings

Although many recordings of this march have been made over the years, the original recording of the march played by the United States Marine Band, conducted by Sousa's concertmaster (Sousa wanted nothing to do with phonograph cylinders, or as he said, "canned music"), was made on phonograph cylinder for the fledging Columbia Records company in Washington, D.C., in 1890, catalogue Columbia Cylinder Military #8. It has been reissued in the compact disc era in 1999 by the Legacy Records division of Sony for March King: John Philip Sousa Conducts His Own Marches, and as the earliest track of its 26-disc compendium of the history of the Columbia label, Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack For A Century. In 1893, this march was recorded on North American Phonograph Company cylinder #613 by Foh's 23rd Regiment Band of New York. This acoustical recording, unlike many others, has audible, clear, well recorded drums. [1]

References

  1. ^ James Haskins and Kathleen Benson, Scott Joplin: the Man Who Made Ragtime pp 74, Doubleday and Company, 1978. ISBN 0-385-11155-x

External links

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