The Thunderer


Composer: Sousa, John Philip
Arranger: R. Stevens
Ensemble: S/AATB Saxophone Quartet
Format: Quartet Score (4 pp). S/AATB Sax parts
Length: 2.5 minutes (all sections, all repeats)
Difficulty: Grade 3-3.5 (Moderate – Moderately Difficult)

The Thunderer (1889)

John Philip Sousa (1854 – 1932)

S/AATB Saxophone Quartet

The Thunderer by Sousa, arranged for saxophone quartet S/AATB. This is a march written by John Philip Sousa in 1889. It is one of his most famous and often played marches. The Thunderer is a standard march played by all American military bands.

The Thunderer march follows the standard form (IAABBCDCDC) used in many of Sousa’s other marches. Counter melodies are introduced on each repeat and the trio section is more lyrical. This arrangement of The Thunderer is arranged for S/AATB saxophone quartet and is in the original key. The Soprano, Alto, & Tenor saxes each get a turn at a melody or counter melody and the Bari sax drives the whole piece with the bass part.

  • The range for each saxophone part is shown below.
  • The audio samples above are of the beginning and end of the march.
  • Registered users can download a full length sample score and complete audio file of The Thunderer from the ‘Samples’ tab.

The Thunderer, by John Philip Sousa for S/AATB Saxophone Quartet

About the Composer

A Washington, D.C. native and legendary bandmaster, John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) wrote a dozen operettas, six full-length operas, and over 100 marches, earning the title “March King”.  He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at an early age and went on to become the conductor of the President’s Own United States Marine Band at age 26.  In 1892 he formed “Sousa and his Band”, which toured the United States and the world under his directorship for the next forty years to great acclaim.  Not only was Sousa’s band hugely popular, but it also exposed audiences all over the world to the latest, cutting-edge music, bringing excerpts of Wagner’s Parsifal to New York a decade before the Metropolitan Opera staged it, and introducing ragtime to Europe, helping to spark many a composer’s interest in American music.


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