Sheet Music: King Cotton

TitleKing Cotton
ComposerJohn Philip Sousa (1854–1932)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyE-flat major
RangeC4–Ab6
Time signature6/8
Tempo120 BPM
Performance time2:45
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (86 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (1.3 MB)
Date added2021-08-15
Last updated2021-08-15
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Sunday 15 August 2021

Tune of the Day: King Cotton

by John Philip Sousa, transcribed for solo flute

One of the perennial Sousa favorites, “King Cotton” was originally composed for the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895. The expression “King Cotton” refers to the historically high importance of cotton as a cash crop in the southern United States.

In The Works of John Philip Sousa (1984), music historian Paul E. Bierley writes:

Sousa and his band had great drawing power at fairs and expositions and were much sought after. But officials of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta attempted to cancel their three-week contract with the Sousa Band because of serious financial difficulties. At Sousa's insistence they honored their contract, and at the first concert they became aware of their shortsightedness. Atlanta newspapers carried rave reviews of the band’s performances. [...] The Sousa Band did indeed bring the exposition “out of the red,” and the same officials who had tried to cancel Sousa’s engagement pleaded with him to extend it.

Thanks to Elan for suggesting this piece!