"The Thunderer" is a march composed by John Philip Sousa in 1889. 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." It is also one of Sousa's most famous and is one of the more difficult compositions to perform.
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.". 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.
"The Thunderer" was the election theme for ABC News from 1968 to 1972. The song is also used in the Columbo episode Make Me a Perfect Murder, 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.
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