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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?

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_(music)

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 Apr 9 '18 at 15:23

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