Thursday, June 18, 2015


"One is hardly sensible of fatigue while he marches to music."
AUTHOR: Thomas Carlyle

"The movementin music sparks the adrenaline"


"The President's Own"
United States Marine Band

"The Liberty Bell" is an American military
march composed by famous bandmaster
John Philip Sousa in 1893 and is
considered by many to be one of his
finest works. It is often associated with
the British comedy television show, Monty
Python's Flying Circus (1969–74) which
played an excerpt over its opening titles.

The first few episodes of the show were
created on a very tight budget so choosing
a theme song for the show was a challenge
due to copyright laws. Show producers
found a recording of Sousa's Liberty Bell
March that was in the public domain with no
copyright fees. Thus, they felt they had found
a fitting theme song that cleverly catched the
absurdity of Monty Python’s signature brand
of comedy. The show’s off-kilter antics
immediately made it immensely popular
both in Britain and in the US.
Originally "The Liberty Bell" was written for
"The Devil's Deputy," at the request of the
celebrated comedian Francis Wilson. Sousa
asked $1,500 for the work but Wilson offered
$1,000. When they could not come to an
agreement, Sousa withdrew with his
partially completed manuscript which
included a lively march.
Shortly afterwards, in 1893, Sousa and one
of the band's managers, George Hinton,
attended the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

As they watched the spectacle "America," in
which a huge backdrop depicting the Liberty Bell
was lowered, Hinton suggested, to a deeply
moved Sousa,"The Liberty Bell" as the title of
Sousa's recently completed march that was not
used in the withdrawn operetta. By coincidence,
the next morning Sousa received a letter from his
wife in which she told how their son had marched
in his first parade in Philadelphia; a parade
honoring the return of the Liberty Bell which had
been on tour. Sousa agreed to the title.
He sold "The Liberty Bell" to the John Church 
Company (his new publisher in 1893) for
publication, and it was an immediate success
netting Sousa the immense sum of $40,000 in
fees. Under his previous publisher's contract the
composer received $35 outright per composition
with no royalties but with the switch he became
a more astute businessman receiving very
substantial financial rewards with their association.
The march has subsequently been arranged for
every possible instrumental combination from a
full symphony orchestra to piano duet. More than
a century later it is still one of the most
often-played of all marches.
The very introduction of this march is novel
(virtually no two of Sousa's introductions
even slightly resemble each other) in its
downward chromatic spiral and full stop.
In a jovial 6/8 time, the two skittish opening
themes are linked by a common triplet figure.
The soaring trio, more relaxed, is based on
an ascending scale, while the grandiloquent
breakstrain makes very effective use of rests.
The last two sections are punctuated by
chimes, providing an evocation
of the great bell itself.
If you want some fun and
get a history lesson too?
You want the Liberty Bell to ring
You got to pull the rope.
You want to make it go "ring a ding"
You got to have some hope
You want the Liberty bell to sing
You got to pull the cord
So ring a little bit more than you can afford
(you can afford)

You're wondering what this song is all about
You've never been closer now to finding out
So lean a little bit nearer now, and listen my dear
I'll tell you what you really need to hear
Maybe you think I want to pull your chain?
[That really could only mean that I'm insane}
But that wouldn't be the way your trust to gain.
So come a little bit closer, now, and open your ear.
I'll tell you what I think you need to hear.
Grab that rope and give the thing a pull
Emotions then will make your eyes feel full
You may not think that you'll be on the brink
Of making noise you'll hear forever
Ringing in your ears; you better
Grab that cord and give the thing a jerk
Cause if you don't that bell ain't gonna work
It may be cracked, but when the clapper's whacked
The sound will give your mouth the urge to cheer!
The Liberty Bell (The Liberty bell)
The Liberty Bell (The Liberty Bell)
The Liberty Bell,
The Liberty Bell, it's in Pennsylvania
(The one that's in)
The Liberty Bell (The Liberty bell)
The Liberty Bell (The Liberty Bell)
The Liberty Bell,
The Liberty Bell that's in Philadelphia
(The one that's in)
They're keeping it in Convention Hall
You'll see it's hanging right inside the Mall
You better get your a__ in gear
and make some music we can hear
So grab a hold and give the rope a tug
And then you'll want to give yourself a hug
It feels so good to do the things you should
You'll never want to hear the ring of
Any other ringin' thing
I bet you'll want to ring the Bell again
It sounds just like the one they call Big Ben
So give a yank, you'll have yourself to thank
You'll feel so good you'll do it twice and then
You'll never stop. (Stop!)


U.S. Marine Band – The Young Republic
Lesson 2:
"Liberty Bell March"
By John Philip Sousa
and "Chimes of Liberty"
By Edwin Franko Goldman
Grades 4 – 6
1. Students will learn about the significance of the Liberty Bell in American history.
2. Students will recognize when music changes from one section to another, and keep
a steady beat using a variety of sound sources to indicate those changes.
3. Students will identify and compare the music and lives of two American composers.
Standard 2:
Performing on instruments, alone and with
others, a varied repertoire of music.
Standard 6:
Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
Standard 9:
Understanding music in relation to history and culture.
1. Liberty for All: A Musical Journey
CD-ROM featuring the U.S. Marine Band
2. A picture of the Liberty Bell
3. Screen Projector for visuals
4. Audio Device
5. Liberty Bell flash cards for form sections:
"Introduction" "A" "B" "C" "bridge"
(copy and cut apart template
to make into student sets;
also create large copies for teacher)
6. Side-by-Side comparison
chart of Sousa and Goldman
(make a display or hand-out)
7. White Board
1. Show a picture of the Liberty Bell and ask
students to name it, if they can, and inform
them of its significance in American history
2. Play  "Liberty Bell March."
As the music is playing, display the
Liberty Bell flash card pictures to
designate FORM sections:
(while music is playing, students add steady
beat using various body percussion or 4
different groups of unpitched percussion to
indicate changes in sections of the music)
3. Ask students to recall the form;
write it on the board as they call out the sections.
4. Discuss the concept of musical tributes;
Sousa was not the only composer to
write music honoring the Liberty Bell.
5. Begin the Liberty for All CD-ROM;
listen to Introduction; click on Young Republic
section, listen to Overview (plot the dates of
the songs' publications on the worksheet after
reading the overview); click on Song History
and read about Goldman's "Chimes of Liberty"
and Sousa's "Liberty Bell March."
6. Compare Sousa and Goldman and their two
marches using the Side-by-Side chart**:
birth/ death dates, instruments played, styles of music
composed, places they lived, reasons for having
written music about the Liberty Bell.
Lead a discussion to analyze similarities
and differences between the two composers:
Could they have known each other?
Note that Goldman
succeeded Sousa
an organization that Goldman himself founded
(therefore, he probably appointed Sousa
as the first Honorary Life President!)
American Bandmaster's Association  Founders
American Bandmaster's Association

7. Distribute individual flash cards

to students for use while listening.
Click on Era Music (when using CD
Rom) and listen to "Chimes of Liberty."
Ask students to hold up the appropriate
card to indicate which section
of the music they are hearing
(remind them to listen for places when
the music sounds alike or different).
As they hold them up, write the form
they are showing on the board beneath
the form of "Liberty Bell March"
[it will again be:

8. Compare the form of "Chimes of Liberty"
with that of "Liberty Bell March"
[students should verbalize that they are exactly the
same, although the music sounded different]
Ask if they can identify differences:
rhythm, melody, tonecolors used.
Ask students the following question:
Which composer honored the other by
using the other one's form structure?
Ask students what clue from the Side-by-Side
chart they used to arrive at their conclusion.
[Goldman honored Sousa; his tribute to the Liberty
Bell was published 5 years after Sousa's death].
9. Listen again to "Chimes of Liberty"
and add the same percussion sounds
as in procedure Step 2 above.
**Note: An alternative to simply giving students the Side-by-Side information
would be to have them research the information for themselves. In that case,
Step 6 and part of Step 8 would be delayed for a follow-up lesson which might
also include listening to and analyzing other marches by Sousa which are built
on the same form structure ("Stars and Stripes Forever" for example,
found on track 13 of the Liberty For All CD-ROM).
1. For Liberty Bell photos and additional historical information:
2. Additional information on John Philip Sousa:
3. Additional information on Edwin Franko Goldman:
4. Comparing "Stars and Stripes Forever" to "The Chimes of Liberty"
a. The Percussion Section in the Concert Hall:
b. What I'm Listening to:
"Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The Chimes of Liberty":
c. The Golden Age of the American March:

The majority of this standards-based lesson plan was created by
MENC member Marya Katz, 
National Board Certified Teacher 2002,
Early/Middle Childhood Music;
Kipps Elementary School, Blacksburg, VA.