Semper Fidelis

march by John Philip Sousa

"Semper Fidelis" is the official march of the United States Marine Corps. It was written by John Philip Sousa in 1888. The words Semper Fidelis mean "Always Faithful" in Latin.

"Semper Fidelis"
Semper fidelis sousa 2.jpg
Sheet music cover, 1888
Published1888 (1888)
GenreAmerican march
Composer(s)John Philip Sousa

Sousa became conductor of the United States Marine Corps band in 1880. He had some success with his earliest works like "The Gladiator" (1886), but his first big hit with the public was "Semper Fidelis".

This march is sometimes thought to be the prototype for American marches. Until "Semper Fidelis", American marches had taken European marches as their models. It was "the first musical composition to receive the official recognition of the United States government."[1] "Semper Fidelis" is the only march authorized for a service by Congress. The USMC uses it for the Pass in Review during Change of Command Ceremonies, as well as Public Parades. It was played along the parade route for Bill Clinton's second inauguration.[2] The march has an AaBbCcDd form. Its meter is 6/8. Other marches by Sousa are "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The Washington Post".


  1. Woodstra 2000, p. 1296.
  2. Simmons, pp. 64, 342.


  • Simmons, Edwin H. 1974. The United States Marines: A History. Naval Institute Press.
  • Woodstra, Christopher, et. al. 2000. All Music Guide to Classical Music Backbeat Books.