Is the American National Anthem ugly?

Yukigo Kurosaki 2011/12/26 15:11:30
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Most people know the story of the Star Spangled Banner as being the defense of Fort McHenry, as witnessed by Francis Scott Key, but is it still relevant? It's written about a bombardment of a fort, and somewhat symbolic of the American spirit and tenacity. Yet, most other countries tend to reference what they love about their country, not tell a story of a besieged fort.

And then, there's a matter of its sound in the first place. The Star Spangled Banner covers one and a half full octaves, making it very difficult for someone who isn't trained to sing it (which is kind of a point of a patriotic song.) Most other countries (especially in Europe) have a strong musical background (Du Gamla, Du Fria, the national anthem of Sweden, includes an acoustic guitar background!) And then, there's its perversion by pop stars...

So, the final question is, is the Star Spangled Banner an ugly song?
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  • Wanda5245 - Citizen Activis... 2011/12/26 16:37:23
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    It is more than just a song about the bombardment of a fort. It is about the survival of a country against great odds.

    As it says in the song so long as our flag still stands, we will remain a free and proud country. It is more than just words; it is symbolic of the spirit of Americans. Our flag has been burned and spit on. Our national anthem has been perverted by some in song; but we will survive these trials and prevail because our spirit will not be destroyed by such.

    The song is beautiful to me because I know the meaning behind the words - SO LONG

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  • Redneck 2012/02/14 06:04:12
    American freedom was won with no other than the killing of those who wanted to keep freedom from us and being killed by the same. We're not canada, australia or most other countries who were given their freedom. The British Empire attacked us twice, once to deny us freedom and again to take it away. They finally gave up after the war of 1812, though considered siding with the confederacy during the civil war. Everything we have, someone had to kill someone else to give us. I know, some people just don't have the stomach for that and would rather pay taxes to some king far away that consider us nothing more than cannon fodder. Hey, sounds like we may be getting back to that. Hmph.
  • Arse-Whole 2012/01/15 20:15:17
    I hate to be the cynic but life is ugly. Human behavior is horrible. People left to their primal desires create chaos and social disorder. America, through the wars it has fought and the tyrants it has defeated has created the most free, just and perfect society in human history. The anthem simply reminds us of that. All you self hating Americans make me sick.
  • CHUCK 2012/01/12 01:26:59
  • D S 2012/01/07 03:05:16
    D S
    The words are great. The music/song, not so much. Woodie Guthrie,"This Land is Your Land" IMO would be a Much better choice. A Lot more CW sound than I prefer in music but would serve as a great National Anthem.
    or a more upbeat version and even kids can sing this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?...
    Now some might say that what we have now is perfect and not to be messed with. I guess my biggest issue is that "No One" can sing it. Although their was this one young lady... : http://www.youtube.com/watch?... She brought the house down.
  • PEEPL 2012/01/02 23:51:23
    It's a wonderfully dramatic song. Though it shouldn't be sung by just any untrained American Idol contestant. But perhaps that makes it special in a way.
  • Lagdh 2011/12/31 17:43:24
    Yes and no. I love the instrumental version, but they always have someone Sing it horribly at games. Of course it is of no comparison to the Ukrainian and German anthem.
  • Yukigo ... Lagdh 2011/12/31 17:54:30
    Yukigo Kurosaki
    There you go, a competent poster. Have you ever heard Norway's Anthem? It's pretty damn cool
  • Lagdh Yukigo ... 2011/12/31 18:17:44
    Yes I agree all the way ja vi elsker dette land!
  • Yukigo ... Lagdh 2011/12/31 19:26:53
    Yukigo Kurosaki
    More than I can say for this country. >>
  • Doc 2011/12/27 22:08:20
    Not at all.
  • Pug For Huck 2011/12/27 19:09:57 (edited)
    Pug For Huck
    It is relevant as we will defend our nation in like manner now and in the future. The fort represents standing strong in defense against all odds. It can even stand in defiance if inane, asinine, pointless, ugly question regarding it's veracity and ridiculous and irrelevant questioning of it's tenor.

    But should we really expect a confused adolescent to understand?
  • LisaSmith 2011/12/27 18:29:07
    It is so beautiful that it brings a tear to my eye.
  • Seonag 2011/12/27 14:05:52
    I'll 'ditto' Wanda5245!
  • Z 2011/12/27 09:57:10
    Here is the clear misunderstanding you have. "It's written about a bombardment of a fort, and somewhat symbolic of the American spirit and tenacity. Yet, most other countries tend to reference what they love about their country, not tell a story of a besieged fort."

    You said in it what it is exactly. That story about "a besieged fort" is really about how a small, weak and under-matched set of colonies managed to fight, their incredible ambition to survive and to succeed, against the world super power not once but twice. That is what we love about this country. Our ability to fight against all odds, our ambition, our belief that no matter what, we can do anything we set our minds to. This song oozes that essence of what makes America great. It bleeds American exceptionalism and exudes that precious idea that is that liberty is worth dieing for.
  • SoD 2011/12/27 07:09:54
    I weep just a little whenever I hear it.
  • jtjustice 2011/12/27 02:26:27
    It is only ugly to those who hate this country...
  • **StarzAbove** 2011/12/26 23:53:23
    It's a very beautiful song. Very emotional.
  • FAWKES'... **Starz... 2011/12/27 17:22:52
    lol Its a British Drinking Song.

  • **Starz... FAWKES'... 2011/12/27 17:56:50
    Maybe in England but not here in the states.
  • FAWKES'... **Starz... 2011/12/27 18:29:29
    Yes here in the states also. Where do you think the melody came from?

    in defence of fort mchenry original print
  • **Starz... FAWKES'... 2011/12/27 18:30:41 (edited)
    Francis Scott Key

    francis scott key national anthem
  • FAWKES'... **Starz... 2011/12/27 21:48:51
    Notice the instructions for "Tune" in the first printing of the 'song.'
  • **Starz... FAWKES'... 2011/12/27 21:53:33
    It doesn't matter to me. My original statement stands. It's a very beautiful and emotional song to me.
  • D S FAWKES'... 2012/01/07 03:20:23
    D S
    That's blasphemy, next you'll tell us that "Barney - I Love You song" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?... is stolen from,
    "Knick Knack Paddy Wack" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?...
    I won't have it...
  • FAWKES'... D S 2012/01/07 04:29:19 (edited)
    What's blasphemy? Francis Scott Key's instructions to sing "Defence of Fort HcHenry" to the tune of "Anacreon in Heaven" the drinking song? Not knowing its history is blasphemy.

    More history for the ignorant: The Star Spangled Banner was officially translated into Spanish and placed on file with the Library of Congress as "La Bandera de Estrellas" in 1919 - 14 years before it became the National Anthem.
  • D S FAWKES'... 2012/01/07 05:04:37
    D S
    Dude, lighten up! It was a joke. Did you not notice I "Raved" (stupid term) your comment. I with you. Did you get past the word "Blasphemy"?
    Sorry I got you so upset.
  • FAWKES'... D S 2012/01/07 05:09:19
    Sorry the reply was more for the Conservative Derps to read. The last part was for the "Nuestro Himno" crybabies.
  • Kate 2011/12/26 23:22:14 (edited)
    I live on the Canadian border in northern NY and at most of the events that I attend both the US Anthem and the Canadian anthem are sung. BOTH bring tears to my eyes.
  • Yukigo Kurosaki 2011/12/26 21:37:08
    Yukigo Kurosaki
    A clarification to all the people who appear to be stalwardly against me. I'm not saying that the song, lyrically, is a bad song, by all means it isn't, it's poetic and a good show of what America used to be/is. I just think that sonically, the song isn't very pleasing... I enjoy the national anthems of Europe, songs that can get in your head and get you humming along to it... the national anthem of America just doesn't seem to know where it's going on a sonic level. It's down, its up, it's all over. To me, it's just ugly. I'll leave the politics of why I don't really like the country out of this. I didn't ask this question for political sake (though everything on this site eventually gets taken politically, it's almost a rule.)
  • SoD Yukigo ... 2011/12/27 19:00:24
    I think your age and where you live might both play a big role in why you don't like this country.
  • FAWKES'... Yukigo ... 2012/01/07 04:45:23 (edited)
    The reason for the sonic level being "It's down, its up, it's all over" is intentional and has really simple explanation. The melody is actually a drinking song called "Anacreon In Heaven" The Anacreontic Song's melody was specifically written to be "all over the place" because people would sing it while drunk. Listening to them try to sing the range of the melody added extra humor.

  • JonDeniro 2011/12/26 20:02:28
    "It's written about a bombardment of a fort, and somewhat symbolic of the American spirit and tenacity."

    Wrong. It is written about the flag that flew above the fort, and how it inspired the men there to continue to fight. It is entirely symbolic of the perhaps uniquely American belief that freedom is worth fighting for, and even dying for if need be.

    "Yet, most other countries tend to reference what they love about their country, not tell a story of a besieged fort."

    The Star Spangled Banner does reference what we Americans love about our country. Freedom...and those who sacrificed all to secure it.

    The reason it is not a musical marvel is because the lyrics were originally written as a poem. People started singing this poem to the music of a popular tavern song of the era.

    As for the purported more ear pleasing national anthems (especially in Europe), you might consider that the only reason they are allowed to be sung today, is because of the very American spirit embodied in the Star Spangled Banner.

    It may not be pleasing to your ears, but it is beautiful.
  • Link JonDeniro 2011/12/27 12:53:25
    Bingo! Good reply!
  • FAWKES' NOOSE ~ ΔTX 2011/12/26 18:03:15 (edited)
    Unsung verse:

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
    A home and a country, should leave us no more?
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    The Star Spangled Banner did not become the National Anthem until 1933, signed into law by, you guessed it, a Republican. The founding fathers of this country did not choose The Star Spangled Banner as the National Anthem. This was the National Anthem of the Founding Fathers:

  • D S FAWKES'... 2012/01/07 03:25:05
    D S
    "Bango", Better Reply!
  • Resizstance 2011/12/26 17:49:58
    It is a beautiful and inspirational song about a beautiful and inspirational country that was not afraid to fight an "Ugly" world, bent on the domination of the human spirit.
  • Dagon 2011/12/26 17:37:40
  • BlueMax372 2011/12/26 17:25:11
    It seems to me that many of those who perceive it as ugly are merely following a TRULY ugly leftist agenda.
  • Shigyrl but outspoken on my... 2011/12/26 17:08:28
    Shigyrl but outspoken on my future
    Only in a parallel universe would a well written song be considered ugly if you don't have the pipes to sing it. This song does sing to what is loved most about this nation. No matter how much you knock us around. We have the courage and strength of character to stand and fight.
  • Gracie - Proud Conservative 2011/12/26 17:06:31
    Gracie - Proud Conservative
    No, it's a beautiful song with historic relevance. Really, why do people constantly compare us to other countries, especially Europe? Who cares about the national anthems from other countries?

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