Tune of the Day: American Patrol
This popular march was originally written by Frank W. Meacham in 1885 for piano. It was then arranged for wind band and published by Carl Fischer in 1891. While the original piano piece was in D major, the band version was in E-flat.
The march incorporates melodies from other patriotic American songs of the era, such as “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” and “Dixie”. The “patrol” format was popular in the second half of the 19th century, and a number of compositions are so entitled "Turkish Patrol", "Ethiopian Patrol", "Welsh Patrol", "Arab Patrol", and many more. The format was intended to represent a military band approaching, passing, and fading into the distance. It usually involved an introduction played pianissimo, imitating bugle calls or drums, then a theme played a little bit louder, then another very loud theme, then a return to the first theme gradually dying away and finishing pp, ppp, or even pppp.
The march was used for patriotic purposes during World War I and then again in World War II, when it was revived as a jitterbug march by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.