Heritage Structure | Chapter 7 – Marches and calls

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  1. Anthems, marches, and calls are musical compositions which symbolize identity or initiate action. They are individually authorized and regulated to ensure that their meaning is clear to all.
  2. Other musical compositions such as hymns and popular songs are often associated with one particular unit or other organization through long use. Such connections are matters of custom, not regulation, and are not discussed further in this chapter.


  1. Anthems are designated by Government statute or regulation.
  2. ChMarches and calls are approved by National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ)/Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH). Requests to adopt or change a march or call shall be forwarded through normal channels.


  1. Regular Force professional brass-reed bands must obtain copies of all authorized marches.
  2. Other brass-reed bands must obtain copies of authorized marches:
    1. of their command; and
    2. that they could reasonably be expected to perform.
  3. ChCopies of those marches listed in Annexes A and B, which are not copyright protected, can be obtained from a Regular Force professional band or DHH Music.
  4. ChBands must be able to perform the prescribed music for Canadian anthems and salutes, and their unit marches without rehearsal.


  1. ChNational Anthem. The song "O Canada", both words and music, was designated as Canada's national anthem by Chapter 5 of the Statutes of Canada 1980-81-82-83, Volume 1. The authorized military band version is the arrangement in (F Major) by Major Ken Killingbeck published and available from DHH Music. The national anthem is not sung when played as part of a military salute, or on a parade other than a church parade (or remembrance/commemorative service or ceremony). Only the authorized version shall be played for military honours and salutes (see Chapter 13).
  2. Royal Anthem. The music of "God Save The Queen" is considered the royal anthem of Canada. "God Save The Queen" may be sung when used as the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or as a hymn or prayer. In the military context of a royal salute:
    1. Chthe royal anthem is played as the musical salute to the Sovereign or members of the Royal Family. At the behest of Her Majesty, the authorized military band version is the arrangement in G major by Lieutenant Colonel Basil H. Brown, published by Boosey and Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd;
    2. Chthe authorized pipe band version is "Mallorca"; and
    3. "God Save The Queen" is not sung when played as a military salute. (See Chapter 13 for further information on honours and salutes.)
  3. ChVice-Regal Salute. The Vice-regal salute is a musical salute to the Governor-General and to Lieutenant-Governor of a province. It is a musical arrangement of the first six bars of the royal anthem, "God Save The Queen", and the first and last four bars of the national anthem, "O Canada" as produced and distributed by DHH Music from the authorized arrangements identified in paragraphs 9 and 10. The authorized pipe band version is the second four bars of "Mallorca" with a dotted eighth note and sixteenth note anacrusis, and the first two bars of the national anthem. Only the authorized version shall be played for military honours and salutes to the Governor-General of Canada and to Lieutenant-Governors when within their sphere of jurisdiction (see Chapter 13).
  4. General Salute. This is a musical salute to flag/general officers and inspecting officers below flag/general officer rank. The authorized military band version is available on request from DHH Music. The authorized pipe band version is the first eight bars of "Loch Leven Castle" and for cadet pipe bands, the first and last two bars of "The Maple Leaf Forever". Only the authorized version shall be played for military honours and salutes (see Chapter 13).


  1. The national anthem shall be played to musically identify Canadian units and their allegiance on appropriate occasions at home and abroad. The royal anthem is normally not played, except as noted below.
  2. The royal anthem shall be played as a musical salute during the loyal toast in accordance with Chapter 12, Section 2.
  3. ChThe national and royal anthems and the Vice-Regal salute, as appropriate, shall be played as musical salutes to important personages in accordance Chapter 13.
  4. ChBands performing in a public entertainment shall play the national anthem (except in extenuating circumstances), and may also play the royal anthem if specifically requested by the official sponsors.
  5. "God Save The Queen" may be played as the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland when appropriate and when parading with British Forces.
  6. ChCF bands shall be in possession of the authorized march card containing the anthems and salutes detailed in paragraphs 9 to 12. Cards may be requested from DHH Music or a Regular Force band.
  7. Foreign National Anthems.
    1. Except as prescribed in sub-paragraph b, when two or more foreign national anthems are to be played, they shall be played in the United Nations order of precedence, that is, in English alphabetical order. Normally, except as prescribed in paragraph 20, the national anthem of the host country is played after all other anthems.
    2. When only the BENELUX countries – Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands – are involved, anthems shall be played in French alphabetical order.
    3. The protocol for playing foreign anthems during toasts at mess dinners is noted in Chapter 12, Section 2.
    4. ChCF bands play the foreign national anthem versions published by the United States Navy. These versions may be requested from DHH Music.
  8. Her Majesty's Canadian (HMC) Ships. When bands are present at the hoisting of colours on HMC Ships, they shall:
    1. in a Canadian port, play the national anthem;
    2. in the port of another country, play the national anthem immediately followed by the national anthem of the country in which the port is situated; and
    3. after the ceremony outlined in paragraphs a. or b. has taken place, play the national anthems of any foreign warships present as follows:
      1. for warships in which flag officers are present, in the order of seniority of the flag officers, and
      2. for warships in which flag officers are not present, in an order varied from day to day.
  9. Compliments. Military personnel in attendance when national anthems are played shall pay compliments as prescribed in A-PD-201-000/PT-000, CF Manual of Drill and Ceremonial, Chapter 1, Section 2. Sentries shall shoulder arms on hearing a national anthem unless in the vicinity of guards turned out to salute an important personage when they shall present arms in time with the guard.


  1. An authorized march is a musical composition or arrangement in march form that musically identifies a unit or other organization as approved by NDHQ/DHH. It may be in slow, quick or double time.
  2. Marches are not kept unique to a particular unit or other organization by regulation. However, since they are signature tunes, units or other organizations should consider other CF users. Courtesy letters to and agreement from these users are required before a request for authorization is forwarded through normal channels to Branch Advisors and NDHQ/DHH. In most cases, a separate march is more appropriate. As a guide, compositions that are technically impressive but fail to linger in the average listener's memory should be avoided. Often, folk or popular melodies are the best.
  3. ChBranch marches and calls shall apply to all functional units within each branch. Except for The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, armoured and infantry regiments, no other marches or calls will be authorized for functional units of the same branch, as this reduces the ability to use marches for musical identification.
  4. It is not the practice to authorize pipe band marches unless a unit or other organization has established a traditional right to use such a march.
  5. Only one march, in quick time, will be authorized for any unit.
  6. A second march, in slow time, is authorized only where a unit or other organization has established a traditional right to and continual usage of such a march.
  7. A second march, in double time, is authorized only for rifle regiments that traditionally march past in quick and double time on those ceremonial occasions where others march past in slow and quick time.
  8. The adoption of an additional march or marches may be authorized by NDHQ/DHH where a band is unable, because of its instrumentation, to play the march or marches specified. Such additional marches shall not supersede the primary march or marches authorized.
  9. Units and other organizations that already have additional marches authorized for special occasions, eg, mounted parades, may continue their use. Such multiple marches are no longer authorized for the reason noted in paragraph 24. Within regiments, separate battalion marches are no longer authorized for the same reason (see also paragraph 2).
  10. Authorized marches are listed in Annexes A and B.


  1. Authorized marches are played on occasions such as march pasts, when the Colours are marched on parade, at the end of concerts and on all other ceremonial occasions where the unit or other organization is to be identified.
  2. Marches often are, but need not be, played at mess dinners. For customary guidance, at routine dinners and dining-in nights, only the march of the unit or other organization concerned is played. Commonly, if representatives of other units or organizations are officially hosted at dinners, their marches are also played; private guests are not normally so honoured. See Chapter 12, Section 2, paragraph 7, for parallel comparison. Nothing in this guideline, however, prevents a parade of marches for all attendees. The host determines the protocol to be followed and notifies attendees, normally during the dinner.
  3. If the host decides to follow a mess dinner with a parade of marches, the president of the mess committtee shall ensure that the order of precedence in Chapter 1 is followed. Command marches will be played only when a flag/general officer of a command headquarters is a guest, or at command functions. Similarly, area and formation marches will be played only when a senior officer of the headquarters is an official guest, or at area or formation functions. Command, formation and branch marches eligible to be played in a number of positions in the sequence shall be played in the most senior position only. Marches of allied units or other organizations may be played in a position within the order of precedence as deemed appropriate by the host. If a parade of marches includes both organization (command, formation, unit) and branch marches, the current appointments of many individuals will allow them to identify with more than one, e.g., a navy logistics branch member now serving with a construction engineering unit and attending an Air Command mess dinner.
  • Ch34A. Instructions for the authorized shortened mess dinner version of a march can be found at A-PD-202-001/FP-000, CF Band Instructions.
  • Ch34B. If a band is unavailable to provide music support to the mess dinner, recordings of marches may be obtained from the audio visual research library (AVRL).


  1. ChA call is a musical composition normally played on a trumpet that:
    1. may be a regimental call that musically identifies a specific regiment, or other organization; or
    2. may be a routine call that musically announces or orders specific timings or actions (eg, Reveille, Alert, General Salute, Last Post).
  2. Regimental calls are unique to one unit or organization on the Canadian order of battle.
  3. Where a branch call is authorized, it applies to all functional units of that branch.
  4. ChAuthorized calls shall be adhered to without addition or alteration, either in sounding or application. Authorized calls are in A-PD-202-001/FP-000, CF Band Instructions, or in A-AD-267-000/AG-001 to 004, Lineages and Insignia of the CF.
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