United States Army Ceremonial Band
Music Page

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Having once been an Army Bandsman, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to put some Army Band music on my website.  Copyright law prevents the free distribution of most of the music that I have on my recordings.  The Army Band has finally solved that problem for me.  The U.S. Army Band's official website, http://www.army.mil/armyband/ now has a "listening room".  And the copyright information on their home page states that all files displayed may be copied and disbursed freely unless otherwise noted. 

So, here is some U.S. Army Band music that you can download and enjoy.  You will need Windows Media Player or some other mp3 player installed on your computer in order to hear them.  Windows media player may be downloaded free from this site: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp

The U.S. Army Band is really made up of several groups including the Ceremonial Band, which plays for the President, State Funerals, other funerals at Arlington Cemetery when needed and is the Marching Band of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. 

?? What band, military or otherwise always marches first in any parade ??
?? Why ??
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.

Music    Morning Bugle Calls    Afternoon Calls    Parade Field Calls    Taps 

Ceremonial Band Music

  1. Salute to a New Beginning (a fanfare really)

  2. Jubilant (another fanfare used to begin concerts and other ceremonies)

  3. Bliss and "B" (as in BRASS)

  4. The Washington Post March

  5. The Rifle Regiment (a march)

  6. The Thunderer (a march)

  7. Architect of Victory (a march)

  8. The Stars and Stripes

  9. The Star Spangled Banner (when I was a bandsman only the U.S. Army Band was allowed to play this arrangement.)

  10. Army Blue ("Old soldiers never die, they just fade away, ..." a line from this song was used by Gen. McArthur when he addressed congress after being removed from command during the Korean War)

  11. The Army Goes Rolling Along (Official song of the U.S. Army.  This and many of the other tunes on this page are memorized by U.S. Army Bandsmen and Bandswomen worldwide.)

Bugle Calls with explanations

Bugle Calls were once used as a method of issuing commands over distances greater than what a human voice could be heard.  Today they are mostly ceremonial in nature.  Here are, grouped together as to use, some bugle calls an music.

The Morning Bugle Calls

  1. Reveille (The hated "Wake-up Call" played a 05 early A.M.)

  2. Attention (In this usage it is played immediately before the flag is raised in the morning.  EVERYONE on base, even civilians, are expected stop what they are doing and face the direction of the post flag.)

  3. To The Color (This is played while the post flag is being raised.)

Depending on the base they may fire a blank from a salute canon after the flag is fully raised.  This signals the end of the ceremony.  Interestingly, on nearby Fort Belvoir which is in an urban area of Fairfax County Virginia, they dispensed with this whole ceremony because neighbors complained of the noise when the calls were made and the canon fired.

Afternoon Calls

  1. Attention (This series usually starts around 1700 - 1705 hrs.  Stops all activity while the flag is lowered.)

  2. To The Color (Honors the flag as it is lowered at the end of the work day.)

  3. Retreat (Signals that all troops doing routine duties, not guards and such, may cease their labors.)

Parade Field Calls 

  1. Attention (Before a military parade the troops are usually massed on the field and then put a Parade Rest.  This call signals the troops to come to Attention in preparation of the parade starting.)

  2. Adjutant's Call (This call is used while the Adjutant, the field commander of the troops, does his Adjutants Walk (a very fast and very exaggerated long length pace) to receive his orders from the commander of the parade.  More or less it means, "Adjutant! Front and Center!"  He is then told by the commander of the parade, "Pass In Review!"  

    There are some other calls that are used during parades but I didn't find a public source for them.  One that is very traditional to the Army is Sound Off.  This is not really a bugle call but rather played by the entire brass section of the band.  Each member of the brass section plays, the 1, 5, 1, chords (you need to know a little music theory to understand that) of the song to be played next.  Then the band marches forward enough to clear all the troops, flags and officers, turns down the front of the line of troops while playing a march (usually the honored person gets to choose this march) marches to the end of the troops while playing , does an inversion maneuver and returns to its original position on the field.  As the band passes the reviewing stand the Drum Major gives the Honors signal and the band stops playing the march long enough to play Ruffles and Flourishes and the Generals march, or other honors depending on who's on the reviewing stand.  Ruffles and Flourishes and the Hail Columbia is included below. My understanding of Sound Off is that it dates back to the Scottish Pipe bands and is supposed to heighten the troops spirits before marching off to battle.

  3. Ruffles and Flourishes and Hail Columbia (Everyone has heard Ruffles and Flourishes and Hail to the Chief, which is played to honor the President of the United States.  Hail Columbia is the song that is played for the Vice-President of the United States.  In this usage it would be played as many as three times: Once when the Vice-President came on the reviewing stand, while the band passes the Reviewing stand when it troops the line during the Sound Off and then during the Pass in Review. )

  4. Ruffles and Flourishes and The General's March (This version, Two Ruffles and Flourishes and The General's March, is what is played to honor a Major (two star) General.)

Taps

"Bugler! Sound Taps!"

Today, Taps is played almost exclusively at funerals.  It was my understanding that it was written for this purpose.  However, I have read that at one time it was also played shortly after dark to signal the end of daylight.  The modern use is one we have all heard and is played while the flag that covers the deceased's coffin is folded.  

Personal Note: A number of years ago a lady friend of mine and I were touring Arlington Cemetery.  She knew that I had been a military musician and had some knowledge of the cemetery and military ceremony.  While visiting Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee, which sits in the middle of Arlington Cemetery, I noticed that the Ceremonial Band, a Caisson, troops and "Black Jack" (horse with boots backwards in his stirrups signifying a fallen warrior) were moving down a nearby street.  I asked her if she'd seen a military funeral and she answered no.  We walked to a nearby hill and watched.  During the playing of Taps she noticed that a second bugler was hidden behind a nearby tree and was playing along with the main bugler some of the time.  I explained that in some locations the trees deaden the natural echo effect and what he was doing was playing a "fake" echo.  When the the Rifle Squad fired the salute she almost jumped out of her shoes.  She was properly impressed with the gravity of the ceremony and the precision of the troops.  Today most of the men and women who served our country have a CD of taps played on a boom box, no firing squad and no pall bearers to fold the flag.  I feel this shows a lack of respect.  If you agree you might want to write your Congressman and Senators.  You can find email contacts for these people at these URLs: 

http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

All music on this page comes from the recording: 
The United States Army Band Presents
American Spirit
Capt. Timothy J. Holtan, Executive Producer
Master Sgt. Woodrow R. English, Bugler

This music is also posted on the United States Army Band's official website which includes concert schedules and lots of other neat stuff. Be sure and visit the U.S. Army Band website at:  http://www.army.mil/armyband/index.html 

ANSWER: The U.S. Army Band is always the first marching unit in any parade and is aligned directly after the first color guard. It marches before all other military, school, club or professional bands. This honor is granted because the U.S. Army is the oldest of the military services.

A big Thanks to the officers and men of the United States Army Band. 

All files used are in the public domain and are used with the knowledge and permission of the United States Army Band.