What makes a march a march?

What makes a march a march?

I am not very knowledgeable in music theory, so this might be a really ignorant question, but what makes a tune a march? (I’m a beginning fiddler). I’ve learned a couple of marches, and I can’t discern a consistent pattern in them - ie, they are in various times signatures, etc. So what ingredients exactly constitute a march?

Re: What makes a march a march?

An army.

Posted by .

Re: What makes a march a march?

Where did Hitler/Napoleon/Stalin keep his armies ?
Up his sleevies.





























Sorry.
Couldn’t resist.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Setting aside my feelings about war and the military, I would like to make an observation about march speeds. Some of the old marches seem clumsier, as if the original guys couldn’t care less if they marched in step. An example of this would be Brian Boru’s March. Some time in the eighteenth century some European dictator made his army march in step. Later still — early nineteenth century — another European dictator sped up the pace. Does that help?

Re: What makes a march a march?

I have heard that marches in 4/4 are for foot soldiers, and the ones in 6/8 are for cavalry—because soldiers march "hup, two, three, four," but horses sound like "clop-a-tee, clop-a-tee, clop-a-tee." For whatever that might be worth.

Re: What makes a march a march?

What makes a march a march?

The title.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Several musicians of various qualities and interests attend the same place of worship as me.
One year one of the classical inclined wrote a Spring Suite for us to play at a social evening.
It was in three parts for the three months, and began with a March.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Tagging onto mickray’s post…. I wonder why the US Navy’s official march is in 4/4 and the US Air Force’s official march is in 6/8?… Imagine — flying horses in formation!!! (and so on)

Posted by .

Re: What makes a march a march?

pn5jn—apparently the US Force has an official *song*, not a march.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Damn, this thing just ate my comment…

I’m not going to repeat it. Instead, go to ‘tunes’, do a search and just enter ‘march’, don’t select anything else, then click. Chase some marches up, check out reputable recordings ~ AND LISTEN!!! A good march well played will make your feet keep time to it, whatever the time signature.

Re: What makes a march a march?

I wonder how Napoleon and Atahualpa would have got along? Would they both like their marches at the same speed?

Here’s a classic both The Chieftains and Solas have recorded:

https://thesession.org/tunes/987

Another good march, Mr. C on the dots:

https://thesession.org/tunes/4774

Locals here play it in D. I think I remember the Pogues playing this after South Australia.

If you search for the name you get a few hits… ๐Ÿ˜‰

https://thesession.org/tunes/index/search?search_start=0&name=croppies%20march

Re: What makes a march a march?

No, SWFL, no. He was a 115 steps per minute man. Too fast for my blood. L’Empereur and I do concur about bathing, or rather the avoidance of it. If you are reffering to the real Atahualpa who went out to greet the pale-faced thunder gods with only his military marching band, well he ordered his guys not to march but to dance. Cajamarca is pretty high up, and in some very thin air.

Re: What makes a march a march?

If you listen to fife and drum music, you will realize that many of the marches played are the same tunes that show up in reels, jigs and polkas. The fife and drum were used to facilitate the movement of troops, with many well known signals. Those who played the instruments for their military purposes were also the entertainment when the armies were sitting still. The tunes are the constant element. The time signature, tempo, and rhythm are infinitely, well, sort of, malleable. Some tunes worked well as both marches and dance tunes, others did not. The designation of march there fore would mean that the tune worked well for slogging along across the Empires. If the same tune shows up at as a reel or jig, it
s because you can dance to it!

Re: What makes a march a march?

Try the songs and Marches of La Lรฉgion etrangere. 80 paces per minute..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO1AKP0fuaQ..

le Boudin..
This clip contains haunting and beatiful songs.
I would very much welcome this sort of recitation in a session.
Than some meaningless half measure of sean nos.
Big up Ballymun

Re: What makes a march a march?

A Great March played by John Mc Sherry, Lunasas first album. Track one Eanair set..Im told its a very old tune..Blow yer socks off. whoosh

Re: What makes a march a march?

That would be Lord Mayo.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Marching: yet another happy human endeavor that was wrecked by the time-motion experts.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Munchko - I think some of the confusion arises because of the different useages of the term "march":

1) In strict "musical terms", a march is a tune in 2/4 or 4/4 time that is normally played at a moderate speed (i.e. quite a lot slower than a reel).

2) The term "march" is also used for any tune that is used (or has been used) for marching - in any time signature, but typically 4/4, 2/4, 6/8 or 3/4.

That is why there is no category called "march" in the tune section of thesession.

Re: What makes a march a march?

pn5jn - never heard of Pegasus (winged horse) then? … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Re: What makes a march a march?

The fast ones arev technically retreats

Re: What makes a march a march?

Yes, pick up everything you can and your legs and beat feet!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

"beat feet" ~ your steps are the drum sticks keeping a steady pulse, forward into the fray, or at a bit more of a clip in retreat…

This music and its playing, like any melody, need passion too, heart… How else would it give the courage needed in either situation, to face war or to retreat in a reasonably orderly fashion, rather than panic. It helps to offer balance and focus. Marches can also serve other duties ~ as a lament at funerals, carrying the casket or at the graveside, the pulse of the contemplative heart. They honour life in all ways and are used for celebrations and weddings too…

Re: What makes a march a march?

Yeah, the wedding march: off to another batlle ๐Ÿ˜‰

Re: What makes a march a march?

Here’s half a dozen on site here, with recordings listed in the details, each melody currently in over 100 tunebooks:

"Brian Boru’s March"
https://thesession.org/tunes/271
This tune has been added to 294 tunebooks.

"After the Battle of Aughrim"
https://thesession.org/tunes/1308
This tune has been added to 245 tunebooks.

"Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine"
https://thesession.org/tunes/7
This tune has been added to 226 tunebooks.

"Lord Mayo"
https://thesession.org/tunes/638
This tune has been added to 225 tunebooks.

"Maguire’s Clan March" / โ€œThe Rolling Wavesโ€
This tune has been added to 161 tunebooks.
https://thesession.org/tunes/515

"Return from Fingal"
https://thesession.org/tunes/851
This tune has been added to 134 tunebooks.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Clan marches can also be used for celebrations and weddings…

~ & funerals…

Re: What makes a march a march?

What about "the Welsh Marches", then …. ๐Ÿ˜

Re: What makes a march a march?

And what about the month of March? And here’s an old saying regarding the weather in that month:

March, black ram -
Goes in like a lion,
And out like a lamb.

Re: What makes a march a march?

& the Ides of March ~ ๐Ÿ˜ ~ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Re: What makes a march a march?

It’s not just the army that marches. The navy and air force etc. do it, too.

And there are non-military marching bands. Also, Scouts, guides etc.

… and of course, there are protest marches … ;-/

Re: What makes a march a march?

Ah what fun, let’s play some!

Re: What makes a march a march?

BRING OUT THE SOUSA!!! WHERE’S MY SOUSAPHONE?

Re: What makes a march a march?

ceol - would that be a contract sousaphone, or a play-as-you-go sousaphone?

Re: What makes a march a march?

They took out a contract on Sousa? Gee, that’s some extreme music criticism, eh?

Re: What makes a march a march?

There is something altogether proper and correct about playing marches on such groupings of instruments as ukulele, sousaphone, and kazoo.

Re: What makes a march a march?

120 beats is the standard marching pace of the US military. That varies from nation to nation, with those who goose-step generally using a slower pace. And as Trucks stated above, the French Foreign Legion has the slowest pace I know of, with an odd gait that goes with it.
In New England, marches are a favorite type of tune, especially among the fife community. And have been told by a friend whose musical mentor was from Tipperary that in the old days, marches were more commonly played by musicians in that area than reels were. So don’t knock the marches, they are a longstanding part of the Irish tradition!

Re: What makes a march a march?

And then there’s the slow and contemplative marches, but I’m forgetting myself, as I slap myself up side the head. There’s this lovely work from the North, which includes a CD, and a few fine fluters of Erin did their first course as fifers. Personally, I love marches, and I always use them if I’m teaching, at one point or t’other. Now for that forgotten recommendation. It’s me suffering zombie-flu at the moment, a long and hard Winter. Chase this up ~

"With Fife and Drum:
Music, memoriies and customs of an Irish tradition"
by the fine flautist Gary Hastings
~ includes CD and sheet music for 72 fifing tunes
The Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 2003
ISBN: 0-85640-709-7

Amazon usually has it…

"With Fife and Drum" ~ Gary Hastings

Now I can stop slapping myself, for the moment… Mea culpa!, and not necessarily about this oversight ~ as I stumble around the place bumping into things… ๐Ÿ˜

Another of the fife traditon ~ Harry Bradley

Re: What makes a march a march?

Yes, the U.S. Navy does make you do too much marching during Basic Training (otherwise know as Boot Camp) speaking from my own experience of surviving Navy Basic Training at a certain Naval Base in San Diego, California.

Ceolachan, are the Eyes of March upon you? If everyone votes "Yes" in March, does that make it the "Ayes" of March?

SWFL Fiddler, do you think it is either better to take out a contract on Sousa or take him to court and Sue-sa him with help from an attorney?

Mix, I think I would prefer a play-as-you-go sousaphone (said the former tuba player).

Ukulele, sousaphone, and kazoo, Atahualpa Quigley? Maybe we should try adding a banjo and an accordion to this group?

Re: What makes a march a march?

Banjos are OK. If you ‘re going to add an accordion have it in the position of greatest danger, way out in front where they’re sure to come to grief early on. If in a retreat, put the accordion player farthest back. Tell the poor so-and-so it’s a great honor.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Thank you for your suggestions, Atahualpa Quigley.
Do you think we should add an octopus strangler to this group of mixed nuts?

Re: What makes a march a march?

Love it, strategic marching order per instrument. You guys are right on top of things, well done.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Uilleann pipers could participate if they can find a ‘Volunteer’ who can push them along in a wheelbarrow.

Re: What makes a march a march?

I have suggested that before. The fella in charge of organizing the Burns Night Supper at one of the Durham colleges heard I was a piper and asked me if I could pipe in the haggis. I explained that I’d be delighted but they’d have to find someone to push me in a wheelchair. I think they found themselves a Highland piper.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Speaking as a former tuba player, I would "Volunteer" either the accordion or the bagpiper to march in front since the largest instrument would make the easiest target to hit. Besides, when I was in band in junior high and high school, the tubas (and/or sousaphones) were always in the back anyway.

Re: What makes a march a march?

It’s not so much the size of the instrument/target, but the area of protection available right behind any particular instrument/target. to be sure, some instruments can be as much menace to the other guys yonder, as protection for you. The bronze age celts went into battle behind upright pianos. Think of one of those things barreling down hill at you.

Re: What makes a march a march?

No thank you Atahualpa Quigley, I have had to attempt to play too many out-of-tune and/or poorly tuned upright pianos in my life.
Instead of a barrel-house piano, would this be an example of a barrel-hill or barrel-downhill piano? And what type of music would I be expected to play on it? Eigoow-eigoob?

Re: What makes a march a march?

Granted, there are big evidentiary gaps here. We don’t know what they played, or how they managed the pedals on the march. Adjustable stools have turned up in bogs. They have no casters on their feet. In the fights, did a warrior run alongside pounding out good dixie-style stride all the way to impact, or what? It is a riddle. They must have charged with the things heading end-on. Then as now, the things would be too prone to tip if they were pushed front-first, or back-first.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Didjeridoos…. could also double as a weapon. You really wouldn’t want to be hit with one of those things.

Re: What makes a march a march?

I got caught in a brawl at a football game while in the marching band. While I was protecting my precious Benge trumpet from harm, my friend the sousaphonist was dropping our opponents like flies. He had one of those monstrous old brass bell jobs, and just stood in front of people and bowed from the waist like he was Japanese. The bell hit em in the head, and they went down like puppets with their strings cut…..

Re: What makes a march a march?

Yup, those things would make a cruel wound, even if wealded by a small musician — or tossed frantically over the shoulder by fleeing musician of any size, should it come to that. Likely turn septic too. Drum majors should abandon their maces for didjeridoos. Keep the bear skins along with the leopard skin wrap-thingy. Keep the spats. abandon the boots, but keep the spats.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Dang it Al, you got in ahead of me! Sousaphones……Hmmm…..The offensive and defensive qualities of band instruments…….It’s something to ponder. Still, for portability — and only portability — you can’t beat a kazoo. Has anyone ever used a kazoo on their fellow man in anger?

Re: What makes a march a march?

Yes. By playing Father John McMillan of Barra on it.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Is the old kazoo wound still troubling you, or something. Is there a kazoo casualty hobbling around anywhere on the planet? Are there widows and orphans etc.,etc? Where’s your sense of proportion?

Re: What makes a march a march?

The Bronze Age Celts also went into battle naked, painted in woad, behind upright pianos, rolling downhill, much like Sousa liked to do on the weekends, but he was at it just for fun, not for war.

Re: What makes a march a march?

Yes, Atahualpa Quigley, you would have to "stride" to keep up with a piano which is going downhill at the speed of sound.
And, no, I have never tried to hurt anyone with a kazoo but there have been a few occasions when I was tempted to take someone’s expensive, fancy acoustic guitar and smash it over their head to show them what I thought of them personally and their playing ability.
I am happy to report that I have never actually given in to this particular temptation because I hate to destroy good musical instruments. Also, it would be a waste of time, energy, and effort to smash it over the head of someone who is too stupid, oblivious, and immature to understand why I was smashing their guitar over their head.
AlBrown, were the heads or your opponents ringing after your friend the sousaphonist hit them with the bell of the instrument?
Yes, SilverSpear, that would be a cruel thing to do to Father John McMillan with a kazoo.