Karl King's Music

Karl King's best-known composition has to be Barnum and Bailey's Favorite. This march has the power to conjure up the whole magnificent scene of the old tent circus -- all the aromas, all the sounds, all the sights, and, of course, the circus band. King wrote this march for the thirty-two-piece Barnum and Bailey Circus Band in 1913 at the request of the director. King was twenty-two at the time and was preparing to join the band as a euphonium player. The euphonium can be heard in a rousing countermelody. His use of the word 'favorite' in the title proved quite appropriate, as a 1980 international music survey ranked this march fourth in the top 140 marches.


Complete listing of Karl King compositions (listed by title, showing date and publisher)

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T- U - V - W - X - Y - Z


listing of Karl King compositions sold in march size books

Sales Brochures issued by K. L. King Music House

Recordings of Karl King's music


The Big Cage

The Purple Pageant

The Trombone King

Emblem of Freedom
MP3s of Karl King Marches
most from the U.S Air Force Band's march page
Barnum and Bailey's Favorite
The Big Cage Aces of the Air Cyrus the Great
Invictus Voice of America Sarasota
The Melody Shop #1 New Frontiers The Melody Shop #2
Royal Scotch Highlanders Pride of the Illini
Free World <-7th & 8th Bands-> General Lee

The Goldman Band

Cyrus the Great Garland Entree Henderson Field
Written in 1943, Henderson Field is named after the airfield on Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands).  In 1942, World War II was well underway.  Allied reconnaissance revealed Japanese constructing an airfield on the island of Guadalcanal.  The location would provide a strategic location of control for the Japanese.  U.S. forces began planning an invasion of the island known as Operation Watchtower.  The invasion took place August 7, 1942.  Within two weeks the Americans had secured the airfield.  It was named Henderson Field after Major Lofton Henderson, a Marine pilot killed at the battle of Midway in June 1942.

Publishing House ledger - click to enlarge

Here is a page in Mr. King's own handwriting from the the K. L. King Music House ledger showing the printing statistics of two of Karl's marches. The right hand pane shows the $3.00 January 5, 1935, copyright fee for The Big Cage Galop.  It shows that the original plates were engraved by the Rayner Dalheim Company of Chicago at a cost of $48.  The plates were also stored there. The ledger shows the first printing was of 500 copies in 12/28/36 at a cost of $42.50.  By the time of the 7th edition of 500 copies were printed, the total was 3250 copies.

The left pane shows the details for the Lt. Commander March
which was engraved by the Otto Zimmerman Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.


This is the Arcade Building at 1012 Second Avenue in Fort Dodge. The front door opens to a wide common hallway with a huge skylight.  The east (or right) side of the building was divided into three rooms; Karl King Music House was in the back while Ruth used the front two rooms for her Ruth King Music Shoppe.  Instrument displays once filled the front window.  Don Peterson had his photography business in the west half of the building.  Several well known photos of Karl King have the imprint Don Peterson, Ft. Dodge IA.

Duane Olson reports that while the building has now fallen into disrepair, that it was a quality building with a handsome brick exterier which has been covered with a "modern" facade.



Karl King melodies used in songs arranged by others

Melody a la King

March of Time Indiana, Our Indiana
click to enlarge

Karl King at his composing desk
See the manuscript pens which Karl King used when he composed.
View the book which Karl King studied to learn music theory.


Publishing Companies used by Karl King
C. L. Barnhouse Co.
Oskaloosa, Iowa
J. E. Agnew
Des Moines, Iowa
(using pen name Carl Lawrence)
Fillmore Brothers Inc.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Karl L. King Music House
Fort Dodge, Iowa
R. F. Seitz
Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
William E. Strassner
Canton, Ohio
Volkwein Brothers Inc.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Rubank Inc.
Chicago, Illinois

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