"Ruffles and Flourishes"
It is a type of fanfare music usually performed on drums and bugles or other similar instruments. It is a short piece that is played before a ceremonial song (ex. Hail to the Chief) in honor of the Commander in Chief (U.S. President) or other high-ranking government and military official.
Significance (4 "Ruffles and Flourishes"):
The number of times "Ruffles and Flourishes" is played depends on the official rank of the person being honored. The highest ranked officials are honored with 4 "Ruffles and Flourishes," these include
- Former Presidents of the United States
- The President-elect
- The Vice President of the United States
- Four Star Generals
- Speaker of the House of Representatives
- Other senior civilian government officials (Congressmen, Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, Senators, etc.)
3 and 2 "Ruffles and Flourishes":
Those for whom "Ruffles and Flourishes" is played three times include:
- Three Star Generals
- Two Star Generals
- American Envoys/American Ambassadors
- American Ministers
Ceremonial Songs and Marches Played After:
Songs played after "Ruffles and Flourishes" include:
- "Star Spangled Banner" (for former Presidents and the President-elect)
- "Hail to the Chief" (for the President of the United States)
- "Hail Columbia" (for the Vice-President of the United States)
- "General's March" (for four, three, two and one star Generals)
- "Flag Officers March" (for four, three, two and one flag star officers)
- Last 32 measures (grandioso) of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (for senior civilian government officials)
When the U.S. President or other American officials visit a foreign country, "Ruffles and Flourishes" is played before that country's national anthem to honor their leaders, Chiefs of State or those belonging to the Royal family.
This short piece was added before "Hail to the Chief" during William McKinley's presidency.
Listen to "Ruffles and Flourishes"