Click to enlargeBattle Hymn (drum and bugle corps)

The words written by Julia Ward Howe to William Steffe's tune became the de facto anthem of the Union side during the American Civil War.

One of the most famous arrangements of Battle Hymn is the choral arrangement by Peter J. Wilhousky. In the early 1960s, Don Angelica scored a version of Battle Hymn for The Troopers, a DCI drum and bugle corps out of Casper, Wyoming, that was based on Wilhousky's arrangement.

In 1968, Mike Duffy, a famous corps arranger and horn line coach who is in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, extensively reworked that score, moving the refrain to a new key and writing a very exciting transition into it, including a unique waterfall feature. The Troopers won the VFW National Championship in 1970 with his arrangement in their show. Around 1973, Knute Holian, also of the Troopers, made some additional changes, and the Troopers continued to use that version from time to time up into the early 1980s.

This version borrows heavily and directly from the Holian revision, with a few adjustments backward to the Duffy version and some all-new material. The drum parts are totally original and bear no resemblance to anything done by the Troopers.

Battle Hymn begins in concert F, and concludes in concert D, and is enharmonic with our version for classic corps using G bugles, so it is possible to perform this along with alumni players using G bugles.

While the entire arrangement was updated for a modern corps using Bb and F instruments, we decided to present the parts pages in the style of the corps from the 1970s, that is to say all instruments of a type on a page together, so all of our parts pages have two staffs on them.

Parts included are:

Trumpet 1 and Trumpet 2 & 3
F Mellophone 1 and F Mellophone 2
Baritone 1 & 2 and Baritone 3
Euphonium and Tuba
Timbolis (set of five) and Cymbal/Snare/Bass Drum

Note: All of the brass parts include divisi sections.

There are no mallet or other tuned percussion parts included.

Corps practice carefully distinguishes between baritone, being closely related to cornet and french horn and having a narrower conical bore, and euphonium, being closely related to flugel horn and tuba and having a more open conical bore. If this piece were to be performed by the brass section of a marching band or some such, it is recommended that all baritones and euphoniums play the euphonium part and the baritone parts be played by the trombones. All baritone and euphonium parts in this arrangement are presented in bass clef concert key only.

Very suitable for a parade piece, or for field marching in a Civil War- or patriotic-themed show.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).

BATTLE HYMN arranged for modern drum and bugle corps by Tom Kirkland comes in a pdf file of 317K, including a seventeen page score, four two-page parts, one three-page part, and a license page, twenty-nine pages in all. Performance time should be about 1:40.

The majority of our sheet music pieces use electronically-produced demos on the item pages. We would much prefer to use actual recordings, so if you email us a digital recording or link to an online video and we end up using it as a demo on our site (fully credited), we will send you a coupon code good for US$25 toward your next purchase from our site.

Many of our sheet music licenses state that the purchaser does not have the right to record the work. We have modified our policy on this, and unless the license page states that you must obtain permission from a party other than to record the work, we will allow a small number (less than 50) of copies of an audio or video recording of a live performance to be made and distributed and/or posted to a free web site for viewing/listening, so long as, the composer, arranger, and lyricist are credited.


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Last update: 24 APR 2023