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Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 7:05 am
by whitbey
Donating blood the other day and the clock was available to count the 30 seconds to rub the antiseptic.
I suggested count to 30 while humming a Sousa march, like Stars and Stripes Forever.

She said why and who is Sousa?

In disbelief she listened to me count off 30 seconds while she looked at her phone.

I suggested she look up Sousa on her phone later.

:o

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 8:06 am
by BGuttman
While all us "olde fartes" know who Sousa was, today's Gen Xers and later often have no clue unless Sousa was part of a current Rock band

Using music as a timing mechanism is a lot older. Mannes and Godowsky, who were classical musicians as well as chemists, used familiar themes to time the many development stages of Kodachrome film back in the 1930s. Now you'll probably ask "What's Kodachrome" :(

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:56 am
by Bach5G
Raoul?

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:05 am
by DougHulme
Oh yea, I know Raoul... he's a well known flugel and trumpet player over here in the UK!!!!

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:28 am
by harrisonreed
In the grand scheme of things everyone on earth should know ... Sousa probably doesn't rank all that high on the list and it's a bit conceited to expect everyone to understand "wind band culture" and look down on people who don't. Far better to be kind, and be an ambassador for your interests and hobbies.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 12:44 pm
by Jimprindle
Just tell the uninformed that he is "The March King". Then try to explain what march music is. That should take up your waiting time at the Blood Bank.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 1:44 pm
by sungfw
The American Kmoch, of course. :clever:

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 2:57 pm
by Schlitz
harrisonreed wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:28 am
In the grand scheme of things everyone on earth should know ... Sousa probably doesn't rank all that high on the list and it's a bit conceited to expect everyone to understand "wind band culture" and look down on people who don't. Far better to be kind, and be an ambassador for your interests and hobbies.
Sousa in a pickup line? Please stop.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 5:14 pm
by Mikebmiller
FWIW, I once worked with a lady who had a friend who was married to Sousa's grandson.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 5:16 pm
by Bach5G
Who is Sousa?

Why does that sound like a title to an Ayn Rand novel?

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:50 pm
by Mikebmiller
Isn't he that nut job writer that Trump pardoned?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/us/p ... souza.html

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:56 pm
by Bach5G
Raul not Raoul. My error.


Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:07 pm
by Doubler
Bach5G wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 5:16 pm
Who is Sousa?

Why does that sound like a title to an Ayn Rand novel?
:good:

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 10:07 am
by Gary
All kidding aside, I once took a graduate course on wind music and musicians and, in cruising the library section (remember those days!?), I came across a bio of Sousa.

Now, I had already been a military musician for at least 15 years and had played, reluctantly after a redundant while, plenty of Sousa. Never was interested in the guy or his music.

But I got a Sousa bio and was surprised at the versatility and depth of the man. Really worth a good look.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 2:11 pm
by timothy42b
Sousa marches are commonly played by wind ensembles. (yes I know he had violins, we don't)

The role of a wind ensemble in US society is................................change of command ceremony for a general every three years. That's pretty much it. That, and to be a hobby for old farts like me.

Given that, there's very little reason for the average person to know who he is, unless maybe you're James Holzhauer.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 2:24 pm
by BGuttman
Sousa is as contemporary as Haydn or Bruckner. He didn't write anything for electric quartet (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, drums).

In his day many of the pieces we know him for were dance music. A dance called the One-Step that was popular a century ago. It was also popular as circus music at that time.

People who hear a Sousa march usually recognize it for what it is, but they don't often go seek that kind of music.

It's their loss.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 8:25 pm
by Doubler
Stars and Stripes Forever (1952) is a fun movie to watch. If you haven't seen it or haven't seen it lately, you might consider watching it or watching it again.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 9:51 pm
by Bach5G
Is that the film in which the Sousa character humiliates a trumpet player who is auditioning for his band?

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 10:19 am
by Gary
BGuttman wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 2:24 pm
Sousa is as contemporary as Haydn or Bruckner. He didn't write anything for electric quartet (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, drums).

In his day many of the pieces we know him for were dance music. A dance called the One-Step that was popular a century ago. It was also popular as circus music at that time.

People who hear a Sousa march usually recognize it for what it is, but they don't often go seek that kind of music.

It's their loss.
Sousa also wrote and directed operatic music.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 12:21 pm
by JohnL
Gary wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:19 am
Sousa also wrote and directed operatic music.
I know he wrote operettas (in the same general style as Gilbert and Sullivan); did he write any actual operas?

Several of his marches are based on themes originally composed for his operettas (El Capitan, The Free Lance, The Charlatan, The Bride Elect, etc.). Several of his operettas were very successful - long (for the time) Broadway runs and tours; I seem to recall one of his (El Capitan, maybe) was the first American operetta to have a successful run in London.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:27 pm
by Doubler
Bach5G wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:51 pm
Is that the film in which the Sousa character humiliates a trumpet player who is auditioning for his band?
I don't recall. I guess it's time to watch it again!

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:56 am
by brtnats
I’m really glad you posted this. 600 kids at my school will know who Sousa is now, because you reminded me that sometimes we take our “common” knowledge for granted. I really mean it: Thank you.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:15 pm
by Doubler
Bach5G wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:51 pm
Is that the film in which the Sousa character humiliates a trumpet player who is auditioning for his band?
I watched Stars and Stripes Forever last night; I still enjoy it as a very pleasant movie. "Humiliates" might not be the best description for the interaction between Sousa and the auditioning cornet player. There was a point to be made and a portrayal to be expanded in that scene.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:00 pm
by Kingfan
Since 2011, Make Music Chicago has pioneered the “Sousapalooza” – an invitation for hundreds of brass, wind, and percussion players to come together and sightread the music of The March King, John Philip Sousa. It has spread to Anchorage, Fullerton, Iowa City, Hartford, Wichita, and Salem. I'm really happy to hear about the first Sousapalooza in Cleveland, Ohio this year on June 21. Yes, I'm going!
http://www.makemusicday.org/national-pr ... sapalooza/

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:57 am
by Mikebmiller
timothy42b wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 2:11 pm

The role of a wind ensemble in US society is................................change of command ceremony for a general every three years. That's pretty much it. That, and to be a hobby for old farts like me.
The role of our wind band is to be the warm up act for the 3rd rate country singer that the local radio station brings in for the annual July 4th shin dig. We get our biggest audience of the year for that gig.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:42 am
by BGuttman
Marching bands add a lot to a parade. Try marching with a bunch of electronics in tow. Not as easy.

Also, we have adopted wind ensembles in our school systems. Unfortunately, most of the kids who play in them put the horn in the closet (or sell it on Ebay) as soon as school is over.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:05 am
by timothy42b
BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:42 am


Also, we have adopted wind ensembles in our school systems. Unfortunately, most of the kids who play in them put the horn in the closet (or sell it on Ebay) as soon as school is over.
When I was in high school, they were trying to revamp gym classes away from traditional organized sports teams into "life sports."

The rationale was that later on in life you might not be able to find 10 other people to form a competitive football team, so you should be teaching golf, tennis, bowling, darts etc., sports where one person could find an outlet to have fun.

And we play in wind ensembles that require 45 people of just the right instrument mix. ESPN NEVER covers our concerts, unlike every sport there is. And nobody but our relatives willingly listen. Hmmmm.........

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:38 am
by elmsandr
BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:42 am
Marching bands add a lot to a parade. Try marching with a bunch of electronics in tow. Not as easy.

Also, we have adopted wind ensembles in our school systems. Unfortunately, most of the kids who play in them put the horn in the closet (or sell it on Ebay) as soon as school is over.
You are dating yourself in this thread, Bruce. All parades have bands (or just recordings) on trailers playing music. Not hard at all to get a small generator that makes almost no noise and power the band for a trip through all but the biggest of cities.

Also from above, there are actually people concerned that not enough young people are taking up guitar and just skipping to sampling and mixing music. Live music is adapting. Keeping the old traditions and instruments alive is still a fairly new thing for humans, relatively.

Cheers,
Andy

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:42 pm
by dxhall
I’ve seen similar claims about the death of other instruments. Remember a hit song from 1981 called “Tainted Love”? It was the first serious popular hit that used only synths, and no real musical instruments. There were many claims after that song hit the charts that “real guitar is dead,” “real drums are dead”, etc.

What’s dying, I think, is not one particular instrument or another — it’s the once-common interest in making music oneself. I’m a long time guitar guy who took up the trombone late in life in the study of old jazz. I tell people (only those who ask - I never volunteer) that I practice the trombone every day and they think I’m nuts.

To get a real life sense of this, go to the musical instruments section of your local craigslist and look for pianos for sale. There are usually decent pianos on my local list that are offered for free - with no takers. Yet not that long ago, every middle class household had a piano or pump organ in the living room.

What deep conclusion about human nature do I draw from this? I don’t know. But the need to not be involved in the world around us is slowly taking over western culture. Makes you want to buy a self-driving car, doesn’t it?

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:39 pm
by SirJohn
Electric guitar has been in a prolonged sales slump for a while. Acoustic guitar made up some of the difference due to the neo folk popularity (which is beginning to show signs of fading), but definitely the trend to all sampling has hurt the traditional rock/pop instruments. Modern hip-hop and R&B which is primarily all sampling, drum tracks, and autotuned vocals has displaced rock and pop as the most dominant genre in popular music right now. The 80s move away from guitar driven music gave way to a resurgence in the 90s of the guitar. Rock today as a genre has basically been devalued to just being called dad music. It will be interesting to see if there is a rebound again. Point is that popular music is always evolving and every style will eventually become dated and niche music. Sousa was popular music in his day, but now Sousa and the wind band are niche areas, mostly kept alive by school music programs. That doesn't mean we give up on it, but we do need to acknowledge that there is a battle to stay relevant.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:11 pm
by JohnL
dxhall wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:42 pm
To get a real life sense of this, go to the musical instruments section of your local craigslist and look for pianos for sale. There are usually decent pianos on my local list that are offered for free - with no takers. Yet not that long ago, every middle class household had a piano or pump organ in the living room.
Pianos are a somewhat special case. Electronic keyboards have pretty much taken over the bottom end of the home market, and digital pianos have made a serious dent in the the mid-range. Of course, buying an acoustic piano off of Craigslist is a crap shoot, anyway. Even if it looks nice, it may have been neglected to the point that putting it back in good working order will be cost-prohibitive - if it possible at all.

At least around here, a lot of the free or near free pianos are spinets. Between the drop action (which makes piano techs hate the very sight of them) and acoustic compromises necessary to make them that small, they should probably just be left to fade away.

Re: Who is Sousa?

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:51 am
by mrpillow
The saving grace of free Craigslist pianos is that they make excellent sacrifices for cities and other organizations to install in public spaces and outdoors. I suppose also converting them into trendy up cycled furniture. Other than that, 90% of the free CL pianos will serve you far worse than a low-end digital piano for actually playing piano.