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In music a march is a piece of music with a strong marching rhythm. Marches are often written especially so that soldiers can march to them. Other marches may not be intended for marching, but they still have a strong, regular beat so that people could, if they wanted to, march to the music. Marches are usually 2/4 time (One - two - one - two - left - right - left- right) or 4/4 (the same as two bars (measures)) although other time signatures are possible.
Marches can be slow marches or quick marches. A slow march may be a funeral march.
John Philip Sousa was a composer whose marches became extremely popular (e.g. Colonel Bogey's March).
In classical music many composers wrote marches which are not intended to be marched to, but still give the mood of a march. Some famous examples of funeral marches include the second movement of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, the Marche funèbre (Funeral March) in Chopin's Piano Sonata in B flat minor, and the Dead March in Handel's oratorio Saul.
Music composed for marching uses instruments that soldiers play in marching bands, such as brass instruments, woodwind instruments including fife, snare drum and bass drum. Composers writing marches in classical music may imitate the sound of military bands by using these instruments.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie