Saturday, April 29, 2006

Oh Say Can You Sing...?

A lot of folks have their underwear wedged in uncomfortable places regarding the national anthem being sung in Spanish. This discussion reminds me of a discussion that came up in a college music theory class. Some songs are hard to sing; they may be very chromatic, or have extremes in range. The Star Spangled Banner has a lot of range. I can't sing it unless it starts very low... lower than most people are comfortable to sing.

If we're gonna make changes or enact legislation to "protect" the national anthem, let's change the national anthem to something singable, like America, the Beautiful, and actually have the word "America" in it! Has anyone ever realized that The Star Spangled Banner doesn't mention the word "America?" It could be about any country.

Plus... the tune of our present national anthem is set to the tune To Anacreon in Heaven - a British tune and theme song first sung by some wealthy British esoteric society who met to celebrate music, food and drink (in short - it was just another drinking song). The range on the song is incredible... it may well be that it was written by drunks because it was the only state that most people could be in to have the courage to sing it proudly. [grin]

America the Beautiful, on the other hand, is set to the tune Materna, written by Samuel A. Ward, an American composer. It's a lot easier to sing, and fewer people screw it up when singing it.

If someone was crazy enough to write the National Anthem in Spanish, I say let them sing it and more power to them. At least I wouldn't know it when someone gets the words mixed up.



Anonymous said...

When I was a lad in first grade (1969!) we recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning followed by a sqeaky rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee". Little did I know then I was plagiarizing England's most popular tune!


John said...

I prefer the Star Spangled Banner. I can't hear it without tearing up. America the Beautiful is rather bland, both in tune and content.

TN Rambler said...

Though I disagree with calling America the Beautiful bland, I'll take bland any day over the SSB.

Good article.


Michael said...

Just about any one of them can cause me to well up, especially when the flag is raised high and fluttering in a gentle breeze. Its heady symbolism, and in remembrance of the Source of our blessings, is powerful.