I am not a musician, theorist, or composer, so I don't have a lot of musical vocabulary at my disposal. But there's a certain kind of music in films about American bravery and freedom: I can recognize it instantly, but I can't articulate what it is or how it works. Examples include:

What is this musical style, and why is it associated with American patriotism?


If you listen closely, behind the heroic-sounding brass instruments there are sneaky snare drums. These are all military marches, just played much slower and super poignant-like.

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
The most important instruments are various drums (especially snare drum), horns, fife or woodwind instruments and brass instruments


Here is one that is not so slow, and thus more recognizable as a march.

I can think of two reasons why these marches might feel patriotic to you. First, a lot of national anthems are marches, including the Star-Spangled Banner. Second, if you are US American, you probably associate marches with the revolutionary war, a period that is at the foundation of your patriotism.

  • Welcome to the site, Alvaro, and thanks for a great answer. I added some details on the genre to flesh it out just a little more. You might also add a note on what makes this specifically "American" as specified in the original question. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Apr 9 '18 at 15:23

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