Battle Hymn of the Republic ♫ arranged by Rich Willey


There’s a whole lot of history behind the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and it’s still a fun tune to play after all these years.

Here’s a fresh take on this battlefield-proven melody that has been a part of America’s folk tradition for close to 200 years!


The historic old melody Battle Hymn of the Republic  ♫ arranged by Rich Willey for your “trad jazz” ensemble is fun to play and is well-received by audiences. There is so much history in this great old tune (see Wikipedia reference below).

This arrangement starts with a slow march feel before breaking into an upbeat excursion that leads your audience to pure joyfulness. The four-part harmonies are more modern than they would have been in 1862 to say the least, but are pleasing to the ears of the average listener.

This flexible arrangement is 85 written measures long and includes a rollicking two-chorus soli section for the four main horns. Intermediate level of difficulty, any good high school-level group ought to be able to pull this off with no problem.

Parts come as a PDF that you’ll be able to download immediately upon submission of your order.

★ Playable by Brass Quintet: Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2, French Horn 3, Trombone 4, Tuba 5, add drums (optional).
★ Playable by “Trad Jazz” Band: Trumpet 1, Trumpet or Clarinet 2, Alto or Tenor Sax 3, Trombone or Tenor Sax 4 and Tuba 5. Add drums and banjo or piano using chords symbols and roadmaps from Tuba part.

Written solos for any of our charts may be special ordered at a reasonable cost. Email us through our contact page with any and all inquiries.

Here’s Rich in his digital recording studio with Russ Wilson on drums with Henry Westmoreland and Rich on tuba:

From Wikipedia:

“John Brown’s Body”  (originally known as “John Brown’s Song” ) is a United States marching song about the abolitionist John Brown. The song was popular in the Union during the American Civil War. The tune arose out of the folk hymn tradition of the American camp meeting movement of the late 18th and early 19th century. According to an 1890 account, the original John Brown lyrics were a collective effort by a group of Union soldiers who were referring both to the famous John Brown and also, humorously, to a Sergeant John Brown of their own battalion. Various other authors have published additional verses or claimed credit for originating the John Brown lyrics and tune.

The “flavor of coarseness, possibly of irreverence” led many of the era to feel uncomfortable with the earliest “John Brown” lyrics. This in turn led to the creation of many variant versions of the text that aspired to a higher literary quality. The most famous of these is Julia Ward Howe’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,”  which was written when a friend suggested, “Why do you not write some good words for that stirring tune?”



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