A Conversation for The British National Anthem

British National Anthem

Post 1


This is mostly for the "musicologists" out there I suppose...
I'm not pro-American or pro-British or pro-anybody really - I'm British born and bred but always had a thing for America, and lived out there for 9 years. It's been said (by Brits) that the British Anthem is very dirge-like, possibly because it's largely linear and using a scale, staying within a range of seven notes. By comparison, the Star Spangled Banner opens with an arpeggio from tonic to upper tonic, covering 10 notes, the mood more optimistic and confident in its we-can-do-anything swagger over the greater range.
Now I know there's a lot of anti-American stuff going on and I agree with some of it but I think a lot of it comes from sheltered Brits who are prejudiced (more than ever before) to begin with.

British National Anthem

Post 2


You'll think this post an awfully long time coming, but I just began to visit this morning.

I'm not a musicologist nor music historian, but as I recall, Francis Scott Key's words were set to an old drinking song.

And if it were an old drinking song, at that time it most likely was an old English drinking song. So England probably gets the credit.

But I'm interested to note that some Americans ("United Statesians" is so clumsy) object to our national anthem on the very ground that it sounds more like a drinking song than an anthem. The feeling is that a national anthem should SOUND like an anthem, and be worshipful in nature. Perhaps this is one reason there is such fondness for "America," or "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," even though it is set to the music of your national anthem. And also "God Bless America," the third song serving "the only country with three national anthems."

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