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The Band of the Scots Guards of the British Army play as guardsmen march up the Mall to change the guard
The Band of the Scots Guards of the British Army play as guardsmen march up the Mall to change the guard

A march, as a musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by a military band. In mood, marches range from the moving death march in Wagner's Götterdämmerung to the brisk military marches of John Philip Sousa and the martial hymns of the late 19th century. Examples of the varied use of the march can be found in Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, in the Marches Militaires of Franz Schubert, in the Marche funèbre in Chopin's Sonata in B flat minor, and in the Dead March in Handel's Saul.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Understanding The Imperial March
  • ✪ Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (Purcell): from March to Canzona


hey, welcome to 12tone! it's that special time of year: the nights are getting longer, the days are getting colder, there's snow on the ground if you don't live in a desert like I do, and most importantly, there's a new Star Wars movie. to celebrate the release of the Last Jedi, I wanted to take a look at the composition of my favorite Star Wars song, the Imperial March. but first, a couple caveats. I don't really want to get into a copyright battle with a legal team from Disney, so I'm not gonna be playing the actual recording. instead, I'll just use a piano reduction. don't worry, all the important parts will still be there. and second, because it's a giant orchestral piece with a million things going on, I'm just gonna focus on the most iconic part, the first 16 bars, which starts like this: (bang) now, I don't know about you, but that's all I need to hear to know that Vader is coming. that's because this song is an example of what's called a leitmotif, which is a piece of music associated with a specific character. another famous leitmotif is this one (bang) also by John Williams, which actually represents a pretty similar character. leitmotifs are a really useful tool in operas and film scoring because they weave the narrative and the music together, letting you tell a richer, more complex story. and understanding the story the Imperial March is telling starts with the rhythm. it's a brilliant pattern: I could strip away all the notes and it'd still sound great. here it is on a wood block (bang) and I think it's still pretty recognizable. why? well, it all comes down to how it builds urgency through the bar. we start with this nice, stately quarter note. (bang) then on beat 2 we start to hear this militaristic, marching triplet figure on the upbeats (bang) and then finally, on beat 4, the rhythm gets so excited that it jumps the gun and plays the triplet figure first. (bang) then, with that release of tension, we go back to the beginning and do it all over again. in fact, we keep doing it forever: this same rhythmic theme, in one form or another, continues for pretty much the entire song. honestly, more than anything else, this rhythmic pattern IS the Imperial March. but just because we don't need notes doesn't mean they don't help. we start with this (bang) which is just one note, G, played in three different octaves. given the dark, dramatic feel of the piece, though, I'm gonna say that this is implying a G minor chord, even though we're missing a few notes. that plays for the first three beats, then at the same time as that rhythmic release, we switch to this (bang) which is an Eb minor triad. this is interesting because we were just playing a whole bunch of G naturals, and suddenly we've got Eb minor, which has a Gb. this is what's called a chromatic mediant, which is a chord whose root is a third away but that alters one of the notes that should be kept the same. of course, we weren't actually playing a real G minor chord, but again, I think that's what's implied. anyway, after playing that twice, we hear this (bang) which is a little harder to sort out. we've got these five notes (bang) and while it may seem like a random jumble of sounds, if you look closely, there's actually still an Eb minor chord in there. we've got Eb, Gb, and Bb, it's just we also have these G naturals and this A. the G is easier to explain, so let's start there: it's what's called a pedal, which is when you take a note you've been playing and just keep playing it even though it doesn't fit with the chord anymore. basically, we've been hanging out with G for the whole bar so we're just letting it chill with us a little bit longer, and we're not too worried that it wasn't technically invited. the A, on the other hand, is a little harder to explain, and really, I think that's the point. Williams is trying to add dissonance, and what better way than by introducing a really weird note that doesn't fit with what we're trying to do? technically speaking, it's called the #11, meaning it's a tritone above the root and a half step below the 5th, both of which are really unpleasant intervals that add a lot of tension. plus, we almost never see the #11 over minor chords: combining it with the b3rd implies a really weird scale, to say the least. next we go to this section (bang) where the main melody comes in. the accompaniment stays the same, and the melody is really simple. there's not a lot of motion to it: it's mostly just sitting on G, with occasional interruptions from this Eb-Bb figure. It almost feels like it's breathing, with the melody kind of opening and closing. it gives it a regal feel, like a calm, powerful presence contrasted against the urgent, chaotic background, which is a pretty good metaphor for Darth Vader. the one bit that stands out to me is this 16th note, which isn't a big deal on its own, but since the harmony part's been playing 16th-note triplets, this gives us a bit of a rhythmic rub between the two. anyway we follow that up with this (bang) which is fairly similar. the notes have changed, and the melody starts on the fifth degree of the key now, but the overall structure is the same. the only really noteworthy part is this Gb, which is the first time the melody's ventured outside the key of G minor, and the harmony accents that by moving to Eb minor again. then we go back to G minor, then this figure appears (bang) which reminds me of what's called a line cliche. this is when you take a chord and just move one note in it to create a sense of motion over static harmony. here, he's moving two notes a major third apart, but the principle is the same, and it helps ramp up into the next section, which sounds like this. (bang) there's a lot to talk about here, but let's start with the melody. where before it was fairly simple, sticking largely to one key, here we've got something much more complex. we start with this octave leap. (bang) large jumps like this are often used to convey a sense of power, and there's few people in Star Wars more powerful than Vader. next we start to slide down a half step at a time (bang) until we get to this half-step trill. (bang) this is a stark contrast to the giant leap we just saw: here, we're moving as little as possible, stopping at every note along the way. this gives a sense of restraint and control, and paints Vader as a master of his own power. we're also again seeing 16th notes, contrasting against the accompanying rhythm. after that we have this (bang) which is another leap, although smaller. this interrupts the smooth slide downward and adds a bit of extra flavor that wouldn't have been there if we'd just stuck to the half steps the entire time. then we repeat that whole figure again but lower down (bang) before ending with this (bang) which evokes the melody from earlier, but by ending on the D instead of the G, it implies forward motion. this melody isn't done. but before we keep going, let's talk harmony 'cause there's a lot of it. it starts like this (bang) which is just those octave Gs from earlier, but with a descending line cliche that sets up the next chord, (bang) a C# minor. this is a really dark sound because C# is a tritone away from G, the root of the key. and for even more dissonance he ends the bar with this (bang) a pair of augmented major 7 chords. these are a weird, complex sound that's pretty hard to use in a normal context, but here they brush by so quickly that they don't really register. they just sound like non-specific dissonance that complements the melody. then we see this, (bang) another Eb minor chord, which we're pretty familiar with by now. the rhythm's interesting, though: they break their typical pattern and just play the first half twice, and I'm honestly not sure why. if you have any guesses, let me know in the comments. anyway, the section wraps up with this bar (bang) which starts out on the Gs we're used to, then transitions to an Eb chord, but this time it's major. this is actually in the key of G minor, so this gives us a bit more of a sense of rest and resolution. then we go back to our Gs, with a brief incursion by some F#s and Ds to add a bit more, you know, harmony. after that we go to this section (bang) which is pretty similar to the last. the melody's almost identical, but where before we ended on the D, implying further motion, here we land on a G, creating a sense of rest. this is an example of what's called a period: that is, two musical phrases where the first asks a question and the second answers it. the other thing that happens is that the melody, played by the horns, starts to harmonize itself. until now, the trumpets and trombones have all been doubling each other, but at a couple points in this melody, they actually split off into full chords. this helps create a bit more interest, since the melody itself isn't changing much. the harmony's similar too, but not identical. it starts with this bar (bang) where we see Eb major again. major chords are really rare in this piece, so emphasizing it here is an interesting choice that gives us a sense of hopefulness, although it doesn't last long, going back into that descending figure we saw last time to set up C# minor (bang) with another descending figure at the end, echoing the melody. then back to Eb minor (bang) with the last beat switching to a C minor 7 flat 5 instead, which isn't as weird as you'd think: it's just all the notes of Eb minor again, but with an extra C in the bass. again, same structure, just a bit more decoration. finally, we end with this (bang) which uses the same C minor 7 flat 5 before finally ending on those octave Gs. and that's it. well, that's the first 16 bars anyway. if you're the sort of person who enjoys score study, John Williams is a master and I highly recommend you check it out. and go see Last Jedi. or don't. they're not paying me or anything, I just like the song. anyway, thanks for watching, and thanks to Patreon patron Jeff Hook for suggesting this song! if you'd like to see your favorite song analyzed, just head on over to Patreon and pledge at any level. you can also check out our store, join our mailing list, like, share, comment, subscribe, and keep on rockin'.



Marches can be written in any time signature, but the most common time signatures are 4
, 2
(alla breve

cut time, although this may refer to 2 time of Johannes Brahms, or cut time), or 6
. However, some modern marches are being written in 1
or 2
time. The modern march tempo is typically around 120 beats per minute. Many funeral marches conform to the Roman standard of 60 beats per minute. The tempo matches the pace of soldiers walking in step. Both tempos achieve the standard rate of 120 steps per minute.

Each section of a march typically consists of 16 or 32 measures, which may repeat. Most importantly, a march consists of a strong and steady percussive beat reminiscent of military field drums.

A military music event where various marching bands and units perform is called tattoo.

Marches frequently change keys once, modulating to the subdominant key, and occasionally returning to the original tonic key. If it begins in a minor key, it modulates to the relative major. Marches frequently have counter-melodies introduced during the repeat of a main melody. Marches frequently have a penultimate dogfight strain in which two groups of instruments (high/low, woodwind/brass, etc.) alternate in a statement/response format. In most traditional American marches, there are three strains. The third strain is referred to as the "trio". The march tempo of 120 beats or steps per minute was adapted by Napoleon Bonaparte[citation needed] so that his army could move faster. Since he planned to occupy the territory he conquered, instead of his soldiers carrying all of their provisions with them, they would live off the land and march faster. The French march tempo is faster than the traditional tempo of British marches; the British call marches in the French tempo quick marches. Traditional American marches use the French or quick march tempo. There are two reason for this: First, U.S. military bands adopted the march tempos of France and other continental European nations that aided the U.S. during its early wars with Great Britain. Second, the composer of the greatest American marches, John Philip Sousa, was of Portuguese and German descent. Portugal used the French tempo exclusively—the standard Sousa learned during his musical education. A military band playing or marching at the traditional British march tempo would seem unusually slow in the United States.

March music originates from the military, and marches are usually played by a marching band.[citation needed] The most important instruments are various drums (especially snare drum), horns, fife or woodwind instruments and brass instruments. Marches and marching bands have even today a strong connection to military, both to drill and parades. Marches, which are played at paces with multiples of normal heartbeat, can have a hypnotic effect on the marching soldiers, rendering them into a trance,[citation needed] This effect was widely known already in the 16th century, and was employed to lead the soldiers in closed ranks against the enemy fire in the 16th and 17th century wars.

March music is often important for ceremonial occasions. Processional or coronation marches, such as the popular coronation march from Le prophète by Giacomo Meyerbeer and the many examples of coronation marches written for British monarchs by English composers, such as Edward Elgar, Edward German, and William Walton, are all in traditional British tempos.


Marches weren't notated until the late 16th century; until then, time was generally kept by percussion alone, often with improvised fife embellishment. With the extensive development of brass instruments, especially in the 19th century, marches became widely popular and were often elaborately orchestrated. Composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Gustav Mahler wrote marches, often incorporating them into their operas, sonatas, or symphonies. The later popularity of John Philip Sousa's band marches was unmatched.

The style of the traditional symphony march can be traced back to symphonic pieces from renaissance era, such as pieces written for nobility.

National styles

European march music

Many European countries and cultures developed characteristic styles of marches.

British marches typically move at a more stately pace (ca. 88–112 beats per minute), have intricate countermelodies (frequently appearing only in the repeat of a strain), have a wide range of dynamics (including unusually soft sections), use full-value stingers at the ends of phrases (as opposed to the shorter, marcato stinger of American marches). The final strain of a British march often has a broad lyrical quality to it. Archetypical British marches include "The British Grenadiers" and those of Kenneth Alford, such as the well-known "Colonel Bogey March" and "The Great Little Army".

Scottish bagpipe music makes extensive use of marches played at a pace of approximately 90 beats per minute. Many popular marches are traditional and of unknown origin. Notable examples include Scotland the Brave, Highland Laddie, Bonnie Dundee and Cock of the North. Retreat marches are set in 3/4 time, such as The Green Hills of Tyrol and When the Battle's O'er. The bagpipe also make use of slow marches such as the Skye Boat Song and the Cradle Song. These are set in 6/8 time and are usually played at around 60 beats per minute.

German marches move at a very strict tempo of 110 beats per minute, and have a strong oom-pah polka-like/folk-like quality resulting from the bass drum and low-brass playing on the downbeats and the alto voices, such as peck horn and snare drums, playing on the off-beats. This provides a very martial quality to these marches. The low brass is often featured prominently in at least one strain of a German march. To offset the rhythmic martiality of most of the strains, the final strain (the trio) often has a lyrical (if somewhat bombastic) quality. Notable German and Austrian march composers include Carl Teike ("Alte Kameraden"), Hermann Ludwig Blankenburg, Johann Gottfried Piefke ("Preußens Gloria"), Hans Schmid, Josef Wagner, and Karl Michael Ziehrer.

Swedish marches have many things in common with the German marches, much due to historical friendship and bonding with states like Prussia, Hessia and, from 1871 and on, Germany. The tempo is strict and lies between 110 and 112 beats per minute. The oom-pah rhythm is common, although it is rarely as distinctive as in a typical German march. The first bars are nearly always played loudly, followed by a cheerful melody, often with pronounced countermelodies in the euphoniums and trombones. At least one strain of a Swedish march is usually dedicated to the low brass, where the tubas also play the melody, with the rest of the instruments playing on the off-beats. The characteristics of the trio vary from march to march, but the final strain tends to be grand and loud. Examples of Swedish marches are "Under blågul fana" by Viktor Widqvist and "På post för Sverige" by Sam Rydberg.

French military marches are distinct from other European marches by their emphasis on percussion and brass, often incorporating bugle calls as part of the melody or as interludes between strains. Most French marches are in common metre and place a strong percussive emphasis on the first beat of each measure, hence the characteristic BOOM-whack-whack-whack rhythm. Many, though not all French marches (in particular marches dating from the period of the French Revolution) make use of triplet feel; each beat can be felt as a fast triplet. Famous French marches include "Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse", "La Victoire est à Nous", "Marche de la garde consulaire à Marengo", "La Galette", the "Chant du départ", "Le Chant des Africains", "Le Caïd", "la Marche Lorraine" and "Le Boudin".

Greek marches typically combine French and German musical traditions, due to the Modern Greek State's history of Germanic Royal Dynasties, combined with Francophile governments as well as French and Bavarian officers and military advisors, who brought their respective musical traditions with them. Among the most famous marches are "Famous Macedonia" (Μακεδονία Ξακουστή), a march to commemorate Greece's victory in the Balkan Wars, "Greece never dies" (Η Ελλάδα ποτε δεν πεθαίνει), "The Argean Sailor" (Ο Ναύτης του Αιγαίου), "The Artillery" (Το Πυροβολικό), "From flames, Crete" (Από φλόγες, η Κρήτη), and "The Army Marches Forth" (Πέρναει ο Στρατός). Almost all Greek marches have choral versions. Many of these marches, in the choral versions, are also popular patriotic songs, which are taught to Greek children in school and are sung along on various occasions, such as national holidays and parades. "Famous Macedonia" also serves as the unofficial anthem of the Greek Region of Macedonia. The Greek Flag March is the sole march used during the parading of the Greek Flag at ceremonies.

Dutch marches typically feature a heavy intro, often played by the trombones, euphoniums, drums, and tubas, followed by a lighthearted trio and a reasonably fast and somewhat bombastic conclusion. Dutch emphasis on low brass is also made clear in that Dutch military bands use sousaphones, which have a more forward projection of sound, rather than the regular concert tubas used by most other European military styles. Some well-known Dutch march composers are Jan Gerard Palm, Willy Schootemeyer, Adriaan Maas, Johan Wichers, and Hendrik Karels. By far, most Dutch military bands perform their music on foot; however, some Dutch regiments (most notably the Trompetterkorps Bereden Wapens) carry on a Dutch tradition in which its historical bicycle infantry had a mounted band, thus playing march music on bikes.

Italian marches have a very light musical feel, often having sections of fanfare or soprano obbligatos performed with a light coloratura articulation. This frilly characteristic is contrasted with broad lyrical melodies reminiscent of operatic arias. It is relatively common to have one strain (often a first introduction of the final strain) that is played primarily by the higher-voiced instruments or in the upper ranges of the instruments' compass. A typical Italian march is "Il Bersagliere" (The Italian Rifleman) by Boccalari. Uniquely, the Bersaglieri regiments always move at a fast jog, and their running bands play at this pace, with marches like "Passo di Corsa dei Bersaglieri" (Jog March of the Bersaglieri) and "Flick Flock" as great examples.

The most characteristic Spanish march form is the pasodoble. Spanish marches often have fanfares at the beginning or end of strains that are reminiscent of traditional and popular music. These marches often move back and forth between major and (relative) minor keys, and often show a great variation in tempo during the course of the march reminiscent of a prolonged Viennese rubato. Typical Spanish marches are "Amparito Roca" by Jaime Teixidor, "Los Voluntarios" by Gerónimo Giménez, and "El Turuta" by Roman de San Jose.

Notable Czech (Bohemian) march composers include František Kmoch and Julius Fučík, who wrote "Entrance of the Gladiators".

While many of the marches of Tsarist Russia share similar characteristics with German marches of the period, and indeed some were directly borrowed from Germany (such as "Der Königgrätzer Marsch"), the indigenous, pre-revolutionary Russian march has a distinctly Russian sound, with powerful strains in minor keys repeated with low brass with occasional flashes of major chords between sections. The Soviet period produced a large number of modern marches incorporating both Russian themes and structure reminiscent of Dutch marches. Frequently in major keys, Soviet marches often span a wide range of dynamics while maintaining a strong melody well-balanced with the percussion, entering the bombastic range without overpowering percussion as is common with French marches. They are often in the A-B/Cb-A form or ternary form. Agapkin's Farewell of Slavianka is one common example of the classical Russian march, while a notable example of a Soviet-style Russian march is Isaak Dunayevsky's "March of the Enthusiasts" (Марш энтузиастов).

American march music

The true march music era existed from 1855 to the 1940s when it was overshadowed by jazz, which the march form influenced (especially in ragtime).[1] American march music cannot be discussed without mentioning "The March King", John Philip Sousa, who revolutionized the march during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of his most famous marches are "Semper Fidelis", "The Washington Post", "The Liberty Bell", and "The Stars and Stripes Forever". Sousa's marches are typically marked by a subdued trio, as in "The Stars and Stripes Forever" in which the rest of the band becomes subordinated to arguably the most famous piccolo solo in all of music. Typically, an American march consists of a key change, quite often happening in coordination with the Trio. The key may change back before the song is over, especially if the Trio ends well before the last few measures of the march.

A specialized form of the typical American march music is the circus march, or screamer, typified by the marches of Henry Fillmore and Karl King. These marches are performed at a significantly faster tempo (140 to 200 beats per minute) and generally have an abundance of runs, fanfares, and other showy features. Frequently, the low brass has one or more strains (usually the second strain) in which they are showcased with both speed and bombast. Stylistically, many circus marches employ a lyrical final strain which (in the last time through the strain) starts out maestoso (majestically, slower and more stately) and then, in the second half of the strain, speeds up to end the march faster than the original tempo.

Marches continued to be commissioned throughout the 20th century to commemorate important American events. In the 1960s, Anthony A. Mitchell, director of the United States Navy Band, was commissioned to write "The National Cultural Center March" for the center that would later become known as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.[2][not in citation given]

Turkish march music

Modern Turkey's national anthem is the march, "İstiklâl Marşı", which has an aggressive tune. Generally, old Turkish marches from the Ottoman Empire have aggressive lyrics, for instance in "Mehter Marşı". It is notable that Mozart and Beethoven also wrote popular Turkish marches.

Asian march music


Bengali march music tradition began in the 19th century, during the Bengali renaissance by the Bengali nationalists. Kazi Nazrul Islam, the national poet of Bangladesh and active revolutionary during the Indian Independence Movement create a separate subgenre of Bengali music known as Nazrul Geeti included march music against fascism and oppression. His writings and music greatly inspired Bengalis of East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

The most famous of Bengali marches is the Notuner Gaan, which is the national march of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Among the most popular Bengali marches are the following:

  • Pralayollas (প্রলয়োল্লাস; The Ecstasy of Destruction or Destructive Euphoria)
  • Kandari Hushiar (কান্ডারী হুশিয়ার; Captain Alert) (Marchpast of the Bangladesh Navy)
  • Mora Jhonjhar Moto Uddam (মোরা ঝঞ্ঝার মত উদ্দাম; A Mountain Song) (Marchpast of the Bangladesh Air Force)


Japan's march music(Koushinkyoku,行進曲) tradition began in the 19th century after the country's ports were forced open to foreign trade by the Perry Expedition. An influx of Western musical culture that the newly arrived traders and diplomats brought with them swept through Japanese musical culture, leaving a lasting legacy on the country's music. Japanese and foreign musicians of the time sought to impart Western musical forms to the Japanese, as well as combining Japanese-style melodies with Western-style harmonization. Furthermore, with Japan's government and society stabilized after the Meiji Restoration, the country sought to centralize and modernize its armed forces, with the armed forces of France and Prussia serving as models. All of these helped augur in what would later become modern Japanese music. The march genre, already sharing roots with the preexisting tradition of "gunka", or military songs, became very popular, especially in the years after Japan's victories in the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War.

One of the earliest and most enduring of Japanese marches is the Defile March (分列行進曲) composed in 1886 by Charles Leroux, an officer with the French Army serving as an advisor to the Imperial Japanese Army. Originally two separate marches based on Japanese melodies—Fusouka (扶桑歌) and Battotai (抜刀隊), inspired by the Satsuma Rebellion and reportedly a favorite song of the Emperor Meiji—they were later combined in the march currently recognized today. It soon became a very popular band standard, with the Imperial Japanese Army adopting it as their signature march. After World War II the JGSDF and the Japanese police would adopt the march, where it continues to be a core part of their repertoire.

In the years before 1945, many distinguished composers such as Yamada Kōsaku, Nakayama Shimpei, Hashimoto Kunihiko, Setoguchi Tōkichi, and Eguchi Yoshi(Eguchi Gengo) all contributed to the genre. Some were military and nationalist in tone. Others, like Nakayama's 1928 Tokyo March (東京行進曲), were meant for popular consumption and wholly unrelated to military music.

Statue of "Warship march"
Statue of "Warship march"

Among the most popular Japanese marches are the following:


The Philippine march tradition is a mix of European and American traditions plus local musical styles. Several famous Philippine composers composed marches, and even Julián Felipe composed the march that would become Lupang Hinirang, the national anthem. Several marches are adaptations of local folk music, others have a patriotic feeling.

The Philippine march music tradition began in the 19th century, during the Philippine Revolution, as an offshoot of the Spanish march tradition. This is popular form of music as a battle hymn in the same way as in the US or France specially if Filipino soldiers are going to war or winning battles, is also the way of the Filipino to express their nationalistic affection to their native land. This style of music was also popular during the Philippine–American War and during the Second World War.

During the late 1960s at the time of Marcos era, this form of music begun to be widely used as a part of military drills, Parades and exercises of the Armed Forces, National Police and Coast Guard. Some famous marches are:

Title/Piece Composer Description
Lupang Hinirang Julián Felipe The national anthem of the Philippines
Alerta Katipunan! (On alert Katipunan!) Julio Nakpil One of the well-known marching songs by the Katipunan and Philippine Revolutionary Army.
Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan (Salve Patria) (Noble hymn of the Tagalogs) Julio Nakpil Tagalog hymn
Mabuhay! Tito Cruz Jr. Presidential hymn
Ang Bayan Ko (my Nation) Jose Corazon de Jesus Patriotic song
Bagong Pagsilang (March of the New Society) Felipe Padilla de León A patriotic hymn during the Ferdinand Marcos administration
Sampagita Folk song adapted to march
AFP on the March March past of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Martsa ng Kawal Pilipino Official hymn of the Armed Forces of the Philippines


Thailand's late king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is a march composer. His most famous march piece, the "Royal Guards March", is played by military bands during the Thai Royal Guards parade at the Royal Plaza at Bangkok every 2 December yearly. It reflects the use of German and British military band influences in Thai military music.


Chinese marches tend to originate from time of the Second Sino-Japanese War, with very few still being performed that were composed before 1930 (one notable exception to this is the Military anthem of China, which dates back to the late Qing Dynasty with lyrics commissioned by Zeng Guofan). They are typically written in a major key, and performed at around 120 beats per minute. Prussian style oom pah rhythm is heavily used, seen in the Presentation March and March Past of the People’s Liberation Army. The most famous of Chinese marches is the March of the Volunteers, which is the national anthem of the People's Republic of China.

North Korea

North Korean marches are heavily influenced by Soviet propaganda music. Most of the marches are dedicated to the party and to their revolution. Use of a grandiose brass sound is almost always present in the music..

South Korea

South Korea is heavily influenced by European marches, and use of brass is less common than North Korean counterpart. Some of the marches have melodies of famous 'Arirang' sound as every local area have different music of 'Arirang'. One such example is Milyang Arirang March by Hee-jo Kim[3] Another such example is Arirang Nation by MunKyu Hwang[4] US 7th Infantry division which have been deployed in Korea have used its own version of arirang march and since has been used by both Korean military and US military in Korea.[5][6]

Latin American march music

Although inspired by German, Spanish and French military music, marches of South and Central America are unique in melody and instrumentation.

Argentine marches are inspired by its military history and the influx of European immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries. Cayetano Alberto Silva's "San Lorenzo march" is an example that combines German and French military musical influences. Other examples include the "Avenue of the Camelias" March and the March of the Malvinas, used during the Falklands War and in military parades and ceremonies.

Colombian military march music, like "The National Army of Colombia Hymn", "Commandos March" and "Hymn of the Colombian Navy" is an adaptation of the European and the American march styles.

Venezuela's "The Indio and the Conquistador" is the official marchpast of the Military Academy of Venezuela. It is more famous for being played in slow time in military parades and ceremonies. Also famous is the official double march of the National Armed Forces of Venezuela's special forces and airborne units, "Carabobo Reveille", and the "Slope Arms" March, played in ceremonies featuring the Flag of Venezuela and the first march in the beginning of parades. Marches like these (including the anthem of the 114th Armored Battalion "Apure Braves", "Fatherland Beloved") show British, American and Prussian influence.

Mexican marches, like the "March of the Heroic Military College", "Airborne Fusiliers March", "National Defense March" and the "Viva Mexico March", are all inspired by American, Spanish, and French military music but have a faster beat.

Cuban military marches are inspired by both American, Spanish and Soviet military music. Other Latin American marches are inspired by both European and Native American influences, such as the Peruvian marches "Los peruanos Pasan" and "Sesquicentenario" and the Ecuadorian military march "Paquisha".

Marches from Chile are a mix of European march music especially the German march tradition. "Old Banners", the official march of the Chilean Army, is one such example. Several German, British and French marches (and even the US march Semper Fidelis) are also used by military and civil bands in parades and ceremonies most especially during national holidays.

See also


  1. ^ See, e.g., F. W. Meacham.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-03-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Milyang Arirang March 밀양아리랑 행진곡 密陽アリランマーチ. YouTube. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  4. ^ South Korean Military March - Arirang Nation : 아리랑겨레. YouTube. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  5. ^ 7th Infantry Division (United States)
  6. ^ 제3회 정기연주회 아리랑행진곡앵콜. YouTube. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2015.

Further reading

External links

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