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Zeitgeist John Philip Sousa Artists do not create in a vacuum They reflect their times or at the very least are affected by the lives they lead which are also influenced by the public sphere The term for this reflection is Zeitgeist It literally means spirit of the times John Philip Sousa and his works can be classified under this term of Zeitgeist Most of Sousas music was composed during a period known as the gilded age This period is known for its gross materialism and blatant political corruption in the United States However Sousas music does not seem to reflect this corruption but rather it reflects a way to deal with the corruption and mishaps of the times John Philip Sousa also known as the March King was born on November 61854 in Washington DC near the marine barracks where his father Antonio was a musician in the marine band He received his grammar school education in Washington and for several of his school years enrolled in a private conservatory of music operated by John Esputa Jr There he studied piano and most of the orchestral instruments but his main passion was the violin He became very good at the violin and at age 13 he was almost persuaded to join a circus band As a young boy the martial music of army bands in the streets of Washington during and immediately following the Civil War had a profound effect on him When he was not yet fourteen he enlisted in the Marine Corps and succeeded in becoming a member of the marine band This is where he picked up a liking for marches After being discharged from the Marine Corps Sousa toured with several traveling theater orchestras and in 1876 moved to Philadelphia There he worked as an arranger composer and proofreader for publishing houses
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