March (music)
A march, as a musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by a military band
Military band
A military band originally was a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music...

. In mood, marches range from the moving death march in Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's Götterdämmerung
is the last in Richard Wagner's cycle of four operas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen...

to the brisk military marches of John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King" or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J....

 and the martial hymns of the late 19th century. Examples of the varied use of the march can be found in Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

's Eroica Symphony
Symphony No. 3 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major , also known as the Eroica , is a landmark musical work marking the full arrival of the composer's "middle-period," a series of unprecedented large scale works of emotional depth and structural rigor.The symphony is widely regarded as a mature...

, in the Marches militaires
Three Marches militaires (Schubert)
The Three Marches Militaires, Op. 51, D. 733, are pieces in march form written for piano 4-hands by Franz Schubert.The first of the three is far more famous than the others...

 of Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

, in the Marche funèbre in Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

's Sonata in B flat minor, and in the Dead March in Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

's Saul
Saul (Handel)
Saul is an oratorio in three acts written by George Frideric Handel with a libretto by Charles Jennens. Taken from the 1st Book of Samuel, the story of Saul focuses on the first king of Israel’s relationship with his eventual successor, David; one which turns from admiration to envy and hatred,...

Marches can be written in any time signature
Time signature
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat....

, but the most common time signatures are 4/4, 2/2 (alla breve, although this may refer to 2 time up until the time of Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

, or cut time), 6/8, and 3/4; however, some modern marches are being written in 1/2 time.