Music, monarchy and irony

29 01 2017

If readers somehow managed to join the “huge” numbers that watched Donald Trump’s inauguration, they might have heard the United States Marine Corps Band play “The Liberty Bell” march. They did the same at the inaugurations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush (twice) and 2013 and Barack Obama.

This is the music:

Does that ring a bell (Liberty or otherwise?):

And if that rigs a bell, what about this?

We must thank a reader for the lead that made this post. That reader was prompted by our post that included resonances with Fawlty Towers.

The composer of the march was John Philip Sousa. He is said by Wikipedia to have composed it for an unfinished operetta The Devil’s Deputy. That seems appropriate for the second clip and probably for the inaugurations too. The Monty Python use is said to be ironic:

Terry Gilliam, the only American member of the troupe, decided to use the theme. He has said the piece was chosen because the troupe thought it could not be associated with the program’s content, and that the first bell strike and the subsequent melody gave the impression of getting “straight down to business.” It was also chosen because it was in the public domain and free from royalties, as there was no budget for theme music copyrights.

We wonder how it came to be used for the royal news? Perhaps the lack of royalties too? We doubt it was irony as the royal house is unable to recognize that.


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