Composers

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Marches can be written in any time signature, but the most common time signatures are 4/4, 2/2 (alla breve, although this may refer to 2 time up until the time of Johannes Brahms, or cut time), 6/8, and 3/4; however, some modern marches are being written in 1/2 time. The modern march tempo hovers around 120 beats to the minute (the standard Napoleonic march tempo); however, many funeral marches conform to the Roman standard of 60 beats to the minute.

Circus marches are faster than a normal military march, often 130 to 150 beats/minute. They are sometimes referred to as "Screamers."

Although screamers tend to follow the march form, many times they are abbreviated, and additions, such as a quick cornet call introduction to a new melody, are included. The average screamer can last a minute to three and a half minutes.

Screamers are a very demanding type of music, due to their extremely fast and advanced rhythms, especially the low-brass parts. Double and even triple tonguing is often required in order to play these rhythms. The trio in The Melody Shop is a good example of this.

Many screamers have two prominent melodies playing at once. Although this is not unusual in a march, screamers tend to go further with this. The low-brass section can be playing a long, stately melody, while the woodwinds can be moving along with a phrase of 16th notes, or vice versa.

Due to the circumstances in which screamers are played, dynamics tend to stay at a level forte. Unlike some military marches, piano is rarely used.

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