“American Patrol” (subtitled “Introducing the Red, White, and Blue”) is the best-known piece by Frank White (F.W.) Meacham (1856–1909), an arranger and composer associated with Tin Pan Alley, the home of New York City-based songwriters and music publishers who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century.
“American Patrol” incorporates both original musical themes by Meacham and melodies from patriotic songs of the era such as “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” and “Dixie.” The “patrol” format was popular in the latter 19th century, and was intended to represent a military band approaching, passing, and fading into the distance. It typically included an introduction played pianissimo or piano, in imitation of bugle calls or drums, then themes played progressively louder until a recapitulation of the first theme(s), gradually dying away and finishing softly, as the march began.
Published for piano in 1885 and for wind band in 1891, “American Patrol” became and remained popular through World War I, and enjoyed renewed popularity during the WWII era thanks to a swing arrangement for Glenn Miller's band by Jerry Gray.
This video is a demo of the sheet music available from Con Spirito Music. Visit conspiritomusic.com.