The Liberty Bell March jig

Also known as Liberty Belle, Theme From Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

The Liberty Bell March has been added to 43 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Liberty Bell March
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
"C"E2E E^DE|c2G G2E|"Dm"F2E F2G|A3- A2F|
"G7"D2D D^CD|B2A A2F|"C"E2^D E2F|G3- G2G|
"C"E2E E^DE|e2c c2G|"D7"^F2d d2d|d3- d2c|
"G"B2d d^cd|"D7"A2d d^cd|"G"G2^F G2^F|G3 =F3|
"C"E^DE A2G|E3 C3|"F"A,3 "G7"D3|"C"C3- C3|
"G"D^CD B2A|"C"G3 c3|"G"B3 "D7"A3|"G"G3- G2G|
"F"A2A A^GA|"E"B3 B3|"Am"c2c "G"d2d|"C"e3- "C7"e2e|
"F"d2c A2F|"C"E3 c3|"G7"D3 B3|"C"cz2 "D7"D3|
"G"G2G "D7"FGA|"G"G2G G2D|B2B "D7"ABc|"G"B3- B2B|
"C"c2A "D7"F2e|"G"d2c B2d|"C"ded "D7"cBA|"G"G2z4|
Added by JMH .
X: 2
T: The Liberty Bell March
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
|:E3 ^E3|^F3 G3|e2^d e2^d|(e3 e3)|
E3 ^E3|^F3 G3|f2e f2e|(f3 f2)e|
d3^c3|d2G ^F2G|e3^d3|e3G ^F2G|
1B3 d3|c3 A3|G2A F2G|E2F D2^D:|
2A3 f3|e3 d3|c2G A AGE|(C3 C)||
X: 3
T: The Liberty Bell March
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
(g2fe2_e|d2_dc2B)|.A.B.c B2A|D2 z z2 d|:"G"BzB B^AB|gzd dzB|
"D7"c2c c2d|e3e2c|AzA A^GA|fze ezc|"G"BzB Bzc|d3d2d|
BzB B^AB|bzg gzd|"A"^cza aza|a3a2g|"D/A"(kfza a^ga)|"A7"(keza a^ga)|
"D"kdz"A7"^c "D"kdz"A7"^c|1 "D"d3 d3:|2 "D"d3 "D7"k=c3|:"G"(B^AB e2d|B3 G3)|
"C"(E3 "D7"A3|"G"G3G2)G|"D7"(ABc f2e)|"G"d3 "Edim"g3|"D/A"f3 "A7"e3|
"D"d3d2d|"C"(eze {f}e^de)|"B7"f3 f3|"Em"g2g "Am/C"{b}aga|"B"b3b2b|
"Am/C"{b}azg ezc|"G/D"B3 G3|"D7"A3 F3|1 "G"G3G2d:|2 "G"G3G2z||

Twenty-four comments

Jack, I posted this one for you. I couldn’t find the ABC’s for the Mission Impossible theme or Star Wars…..LOL…….

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Yep… a slide… we only play the first two parts, (like the Montys do,) and we play it in Gmaj. The first time we played it was at a fancy dress set dance that fell on Halloween night, and we put it at the end of a set of 3 slides. No one seemed to notice at first, but we were getting some peculiar looks from a couple of the dancers. At the end of the tune, right in time with the last step of the dance -- we all made a big rassberry instead of playing the last note… they all fell over each other laughing… it was great! A couple of them were still wondering what happened.

Just goes to prove it must all sound the same. Star Wars theme will have to be next. Our piper sometimes plays that when he’s in a silly mood.

A few weeks ago myself & my music buddies (at one’s apartment), we were trying to figure out how to play Freebird…..of course this was late in the night after serious tune playing, many ice cold dogs, & a bottle of Jamesons that kept getting passed around….that was fun!

I once heard a harp player do Stairway to Heaven at a wedding…..can I post that????? No, I’ve done enough damage posting the Monty tune….lol……

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Yeah - it cracks me up when our piper does Star Wars. The looks on peoples faces - you can just see them thinking “I know this tune. Now where do I know this one from?”

Posted by .

No no, Joyce, great post, we love it. I really think you should have classified it as a slide though 😉

I’ve just been doing a bit of research on the net and found out that the Liberty Bell March appears in manuscripts as early as the 12th century….BC! It’s a musical coelocanth.

I always thought it was composed by John Philip Sousa whose connection with Irish Traditional Dance Music has so far eluded me.

Mark, 12c BC manuscripts? Wow! Tell us more, what was that internet source? As far as I am aware the earliest known music manuscripts are a handful of fragmentary Greek musical scores dating mostly from the Hellenistic period or later. I heard one played on an organ at a Millennium concert early in 2000.

Mark - I did post it as a slide, but for some reason Jeremy changed it.

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I hope everyone realizes the posting of this tune is a

Posted by .

*grin* To make it crystal clear, if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, this is the theme from the old Monty Python show.

Miles, I didn’t believe it for one moment, but I did wonder if there was some strange website out there putting out this spurious nonsense.
Btw, there is a people in a remote part of Afghanistan or thereabouts who are thought to be descended from soldiers of the army of Alexander the Great. Even now, they have dances and music believed to have come down from those times. There was a programme about them on British TV a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t record it … (damn!)

Miles, You’ve got the name wrong.
It’s actually John Philips O’Usa. So as you can see there is definitely an Irish-American connection.


Different time signature?

I’ve just been re-watching all the old Monty Python shows on DVD, (enjoying the theme) and someone near me also has a well-produced midi ringtone of the Liberty Bell March. I noticed that the ringtone sounded too “martial” compared to the Python theme and wondered why.

My theory so far, after listening again carefully to both, is that the ringtone is in strict 6/8 time, with a strong emphasis on the first beat of each measure, but the original Python theme lets every second measure have a weaker downbeat, giving a more 12/8 feel to it. It sounds more rolling and lyrical compared to the “march-time” feel of the ringtone.

Any comments on this by real musicians or those who know what they’re talking about?

I like that distinction between real musicians and those who know what they’re talking about.

Vive la difference!

Oops -- didn’t mean to draw that distinction! I was trying to be charmingly self-deprecating, not to insult all the musicians in the world! Please reword that to:

Any comments on this O Wise Ones?

Retrosteve - is that retro as in pedalling furiously backwards?

too late - those words are spreading out like ripples on a pond.

I think you’re probably right about the 6/8 12/8 thing. Just a little different intonation can make a big difference to the whole impression of a tune.

We have a guy who occasionally comes to our session who likes to “muck about” with tunes, and play the same tune as a jig, a reel, a hornpipe etc etc (sometimes even in 5/4). It’s momentarily musicologically interesting if it doesn’t happen more than once a year, but we still have to sit on Denis the bodhran player, who hates it with a passion rarely seen in sessions.

I wonder if the Pythons took an existing commercially-available recording, or recorded their own?

I wonder if the conductor for their version deliberately modified the feel and time, or just liked it that way, or if that’s the way Sousa intended it.

I wonder if, due to the popularity of the Monty Python version, the 12/8 sounding version has become the standard now. (Perhaps without the “squish” at the end…)

Some of us can read dots …. We seem to have gone into “6.20 Twostep” for the 3rd part.
There is a 3rd and 4th part (I couldn’t do the 4th part off the top of my head without writing it down) but off the top of my head (without checking it - corrections gratefully ignored), the C part should be along the lines of

|:E3 ^E3|^F3 G3|e2^d e2^d|(e3 e3)|
E3 ^E3|^F3 G3|f2e f2e|(f3 f2)e|
d3^c3|d2G ^F2G|e3^d3|e3G ^F2G|
1B3 d3|c3 A3|G2A F2G|E2F D2^D:|
2A3 f3|e3 d3|c2G A AGE|(C3 C)|]

Yet again another transcription…

Along with “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, I transcribed this a few years back for an Independence Day (4th of July) gig we played. This is what I came up with:

T: The Liberty Bell March
T: (transposed)
C: John Philip Sousa
C: arr by David Yates
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: G
(g2fe2_e | d2_dc2B) | .A.B.c B2A | D2 z z2 d |: “G”BzB B^AB | gzd dzB | \
“D7”c2c c2d | e3-e2c | AzA A^GA | fze ezc | “G”BzB Bzc | d3-d2d | \
BzB B^AB | bzg gzd | “A”^cza aza | a3-a2g | “D/A”(kfza a^ga) | “A7”(keza a^ga) |\
“D”kdz“A7”^c “D”kdz“A7”^c |1 “D”d3 d3 :|2 “D”d3 “D7”k=c3 |: “G”(B^AB e2d | B3 G3) |\
“C”(E3 “D7”A3 | “G”G3-G2)G | “D7”(ABc f2e) | “G”d3 “Edim”g3 | “D/A”f3 “A7”e3 |\
“D”d3-d2d | “C”(eze {f}e^de) | “B7”f3 f3 | “Em”g2g “Am/C”{b}aga | “B”b3-b2b |\
“Am/C”{b}azg ezc | “G/D”B3 G3 | “D7”A3 F3 |1 “G”G3-G2d :|2 “G”G3-G2z |]

The Liberty Bell March

This tune is on Track 7 of Vol 6 of Matt Cunningham’s Dance Music of Ireland series, where it is used for the Military Two-Step set dance. In his tune book of the dots for all the tunes on his Dance Music of Ireland CDs it is referred to as “Liberty Belle”, but it should be noted that it is the only tune in the book where he doesn’t publish the dots - for copyright reasons. Now Sousa died in 1932, and Cunningham’s tune book (the edition I have) was published in 1999, within the 70 years post mortem copyright period. Perhaps we can hope that the next edition of the tune book will include the dots for his version of “Liberty Belle”.

The Liberty Bell March

I should perhaps add that Matt Cunningham in his tune book gives the composer’s name for a tune whenever he can.