The Star Spangled Banner

The Star Spangled Banner

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The Star Spangled Banner

The Star Spangled Banner

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In the "Report on 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' 'Hail Columbia,' 'America,' 'Yankee Doodle'" (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1909), the chapter on "The Star-Spangled Banner" began with an account of the origin of Francis Scott Key's poem. This was followed by a brief summary of the European and American history of the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven," to which "The Star- Spangled Banner" is sung, by a comparative investigation of extant manuscripts of Key's poem, and finally by a survey of the different versions of the melody as now in use. For this revised and enlarged edition of the chapter a division into two independent sections was found to be more logical and convenient, one on "To Anacreon in Heaven," the other on "The Star-Spangled Banner" proper.

As a prelude to this chapter it is not necessary, but it may not be inadvisable to state, in view of certain tendencies to the contrary in the matter of "The Star-Spangled Banner," that research in musical history, in common with every other kind of historical research, aims solely at the orderly establishment of facts and the logical interpretation of available facts. Such facts or the conclusions from such facts may not always be welcome, but the historian is or should be a seeker after historical truth, often enough stranger and more "romantic" than fiction. He should never allow possible preferences of his compatriots or his personal idiosyncrasies to obscure his historical vision.

For instance, every patriotic American would rejoice, with the author of this "Report," if it could be shown by documentary or other unimpeachable evidence that "The Star-Spangled Banner," both in words and music, was of American origin. If that can not be shown, then every patriotic American will be sensible enough not to betray irritation of his patriotic pride because the music of our "Star-Spangled Banner" had its origin in some "monarchical" country of Europe, whether that be Turkey, Russia, Germany, France . . .

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