I was looking at the sheet music for the Star Spangled Banner arranged for the U.S. Marine Band, and I saw that each instrument has an Opt. S.D. in the beginning.

Opt. S.D.

What does it mean?

1 Answer 1


"Optional Snare Drum"

What you're seeing is a cue for an optional instrument. The Star-Spangled Banner may begin with or without snare drum.

  • 2
    I guess it's a roll, looking at the tremolo note. Just like the U.K. National Anthem. On those dots, it looks like a 2 beat rather than an unmeasured roll, but it's probably optional, as it says. Optional instrument, or optional beats.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 17:35
  • 1
    @Tim Actually measured / unmeasured has nothing to do with beat length, but rather whether or not the percussionist's hands are subdividing the roll rhythmically, or non-rhythmically. Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 4:27
  • 3
    It's more likely to be a military roll at the start, just a long sustained sound.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 7:59

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