The Thunderer

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"The Thunderer" is a march composed by John Philip Sousa in 1889.[1] The origin of the name is not officially known, though it is speculated that it gets its name from the "pyrotechnic [effects] of the drum and bugle in [the] score."[2] It is also one of Sousa's most famous and is one of the more difficult compositions to perform.[2]

The music[edit]

The piece is in much the same manner as most of Sousa's music; however, it is one of his first "distinctly American-sounding marches.".[2] The march follows the standard form (IAABBCDCDC) that is used in many of his other works. As is common, his themes are contrasting. During the repeat of the B section, Sousa introduces new countermelodic ideas. The trio is songlike. There is a ritardando leading into the repeat of the final theme, segueing to the piece's conclusion.[2]


"The Thunderer" was the election theme for ABC News from 1968 to 1972.[citation needed] The song is also used in the Columbo episode Make Me a Perfect Murder,[citation needed] as well as being the main theme from the movie Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. The song is also used in Regimental Reviews at the United States Coast Guard Academy.


  1. ^ "The Works of John Philip Sousa". John Philip Sousa - American Conductor, Composer & Patriot. Dallas Wind Symphony. Archived from the original on September 8, 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Thunderer, march for band". Retrieved November 21, 2008.