LIBERTY BELL MARCH
by John Philip Sousa, arranged by David P. Miller for modern concert band – with solo BELL
This march was written in 1893, when Sousa saw his son marching in a parade celebrating the return of the Liberty Bell to Philadelphia after a tour of the country. The march became immensely popular soon after its introduction.
The original march was on march-size paper and had nineteenth-century instrumentation. This edition has been meticulously rescored for the modern concert band, including parts for all standard band instruments. Additionally, the dynamics, articulations, and phrase markings have been homogenized throughout the score and the parts, and rehearsal measure numbers have been added. Finally, the march is formatted to print on two pages of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper, making it much easier to read.
In addition, this special arrangement has been enhanced – with apologies to Sousa purists. Here is some of what was added.
- A special SOLO part for a BELL. While this should ideally be a Liberty-Bell-appearing large bell on a stand, playing on the tone of concert F, in practicality, pretty much any bell will do. Because the bell part is featured, and because it is not difficult to play – it can be played exactly on the cue of the
conductor – this part is absolutely ideal to bring in a non-musician guest “soloist.” It can be someone from the audience, perhaps a raffle winner, or it could be a local celebrity, or even a national celebrity if you can get one.
Even though it is tongue-in-cheek, the soloist can be reassured by the “music” you can show him or her. See an image of it to the right.
It is said that Sousa wrote a part for an actual bell in his original work, but this is not present in the 1893 publication of the tune.
- We have added upper woodwind gingerbread on the second time through the second strain. Some bands have played the second strain with only woodwinds on the first time through, adding the brasses on the repeat. This version adds new material in the form of Sousa-style upper woodwind additional ornamental melodies.
- The trio is played three times, as in the Stars and Stripes forever. In this version, the Liberty Bell Solo is featured on each itermation, but is particularly prominent on the first, quiet time through. You will be able to hear this clearly in the demo below. According to the interpretation by the U.S. Marine Band (which we have no reason to dispute), the bell is not used until the dogfight strain.Also, in the final two times through the trio, rather than have the upper woodwinds mostly duplicate the melody as played in the soprano and tenor brass voices, we have added additional ornamentation that we feel adds a much more festive feel to the music.Finally, in this edition, when the bell has solo notes in the trio, the band has rests, so the bell can be heard more clearly.
Your purchase of this march includes both full and condensed scores.
We have rated the difficulty of this march as a Grade III.
Here is the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band performing this march on May 12, 2012.
You can see the PROGRAM notes for this tune in our Program Notes Repository.
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