QUIZ: Test your John Philip Sousa knowledge

July 03, 2014
1940 commemorative John Philip Sousa postage stamp
1940 commemorative John Philip Sousa postage stamp
U.S. Postal Service/public domain

Celebrate the Fourth of July weekend by taking this quiz about the music of the American March King, John Philip Sousa.

Sousa was born in Washington, D.C., in 1854. Gifted with perfect pitch, Sousa began studying music at the age of six. When he was 13, Sousa's father, John Antonio Sousa, enlisted John Philip in the U.S. Marine Corps as a musician apprentice, to keep the young boy from running away to join a circus band.

Following his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, John Philip Sousa learned to conduct by working in a pit orchesta at a theatre.

Sousa returned to the U.S. Marine Band in 1880 and led it until 1892, at which point he formed his own band. The Sousa Band, as it was called, toured from 1892 to 1931, performing at 15,623 concerts in the U.S. and around the world. During World War I, Sousa led the Navy Band at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago.

As a composer, Sousa wrote 136 marches. These were published by the Sam Fox Publishing Company, an imprint now held by Carl Fischer Music of New York, N.Y.

Although Sousa is renowned for composing marches, in 40 years of touring, the Sousa Band only marched in eight parades.

And here's a local connection: In 1927, Sousa visited the Minnesota State Fair, where he and his band debuted Sousa's "Minnesota March."

Are you in step with Sousa? Try our John Philip Sousa Quiz. When you're finished, feel free to share your score in the comments section below. Happy Fourth of July!