march, in music, composition intended to accompany marching. The only constant characteristics of a march are duple meter and a fairly simple rhythmic design. In mood, marches range from the moving death march in Wagner's Götterdämmerung to the brisk military marches of John Philip Sousa and the martial hymns of the late 19th cent. Examples of the varied use of the march can be found in Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, in the marches militaires of Schubert, in the marche funèbre in Chopin's Sonata in B flat minor, and in the Dead March in Handel's Saul.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.