I've often heard of people talking about "prussian marches" or "british marches" in the context of a style of march. It seems that they could tell just by hearing a march as to what tradition it's from and what's the appropriate style of marching would be. Are there noticeable and identifiable distinctions between the marches of various nations and if yes, how can one tell?

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    Have you seen that the Wikipedia entry on March (music) has a section about National Styles in march music? This looks like a good start.
    – Arsak
    Mar 5, 2019 at 21:33
  • I didn‘t know about this link and I‘m surprised how my comparision of the styles is confirmed by this comments. And yes, I forgot to mention the great countermelodies in the English marches and the genius Bass Solos! Mar 6, 2019 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


This answer will be quite opinion based. But I am pretty sure that the prussian marches are influenced by the instrument setting:

They use rather trumpets, woodwind instruments,french horns, baritones and the result is a thinner sound, paired with simpler harmonies remaining in the main chords tonic, dominant, subdominant, with fanfares (trumpets), trillers (clarinets, flutes) and horn fifths.

Thats my impression and memories that I have from the few prussian marches we used to play in military service,

while in the british marches using cornets, tenor horns, euphoniums, rarely woodwind instrument the sound is rounder, softer, less military like, based on more interesting harmonies, in a less military way and sound.

Marches are not my favorite music, but there are a dozen Salvation Army marches of Eric Ball, Ray Steadman-Allen, Erik Leidzen, Dean Goffin, Eric Silfverberg, Donald Osgood, Leslie Condon, Wilfred Heaton etc. for which I would lay my hand in the fire that they are fantastic music, smart, intelligent, tuneful, while the German or also traditional Swiss marches (influenced by the prussian) are really simple, sorry, not to say primitive.

I forgot to mention the great countermelodies in the English marches and the genius Bass Solos!

As an example of a very special festival march I allow myself to post one of my favorites:

(please don‘t watch the conductor! I never dance around like him!)

  • (If you want I can post you a list of some really good british marches.) Mar 5, 2019 at 19:53
  • yes, that would be great! If you know anything about austrian marches, can you also compare those to the prussian ones? Mar 5, 2019 at 19:57
  • No, I never played some of them. Mar 5, 2019 at 20:06
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    Extra credit for anyone who can find a march with an odd-count meter (3/4, 5/4,...) Mar 6, 2019 at 14:55
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    @CarlWitthoft - Does Schumann's "Marche des Davidsbündler contre les Philistins" at the end of his Carnaval count?
    – Dekkadeci
    Mar 6, 2019 at 16:28

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