Why the US national anthem is terrible - and perfect

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Vox's Estelle Caswell and Joss Fong debate "The Star Spangled Banner"
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When Francis Scott Key attached his poem about the War of 1812 to a popular British song called "To Anacreon in Heaven," he kicked off over 200 years of painfully bad singing by patriotic Americans. The Star Spangled Banner became the official national anthem of the United States in 1931, but it had been used by the Army and Navy for decades before that and was popular from the start. One big problem? The melody wasn't exactly written for the masses, but for trained soloists.
Commentators pointed out early on that it was exceedingly difficult for most people to sing, suggesting that "America the Beautiful" might be a better alternative. Critics have noted that the music requires a uniquely wide vocal range, it's full of tricky intervals, and the lyrics are confusing and uninspiring.
But if you look at the national anthem as a sport, where we get to watch performers at the top of their game tackle the gauntlet that is the Star Spangled Banner, you may come to appreciate it. In this video, we debate whether the difficulty of the Star Spangled Banner is a feature or a bug for a national anthem.
Further reading:
Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem www.amazon.com/Star-Spangled-Banner-Unlikely-Americas-National/dp/1421415186
Star Spangled Music: starspangledmusic.org/
Slate: Proudly Hailed www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2014/07/the_star_spangled_banner_four_reasons_it_shouldn_t_be_the_national_anthem.html
Emily Cope: medium.com/@emilybcope/music-to-what-extent-does-the-star-spangled-banner-illustrate-how-melody-and-rhythm-influence-the-aff2c78853ed
Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com
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4-Iyl, 2018

vox.comvoxexplainnational anthemstar spangled banneramerican national anthemwhy the national anthem is so hard to singnational anthem voxjuly 4thearwormvox national anthemworst national anthemsbest national anthemsfrancis scott keynational anthem debatejoss fongestelle caswell



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Mening pleylistlarim
Keyinroq ko‘rish
Fikrlar 6 591
Vox 18 kun oldin
If you want to learn more about the anthem, check out this site: starspangledmusic.org/blog/ They're obsessed with the Star Spangled Banner and have tons of interesting facts and videos. This book by Marc Ferris is also really interesting www.amazon.com/Star-Spangled-Banner-Unlikely-Americas-National/dp/1421415186/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Brittany Huff
Brittany Huff 5 soat oldin
Vox ui
Wealllovemerylstreep !
Vox Fergie 💀💀💀💀💀
James B
James B 7 kun oldin
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee 9 kun oldin
Vox i
CubeOfBeef I inquired upon thou
Credit Adam neely
LiL Ounce
LiL Ounce 2 soat oldin
Pakistani anthem is where it's at
Julenium 2 soat oldin
When the music theory expert is tone death or something because she sang it completely out of tune LOL
Beebo is Baebo
Beebo is Baebo 2 soat oldin
darude sandstorm should be our national anthem
firelizard2 3 soat oldin
I needed to pause the video and make this request: Can you have Matt Farnsworth on to explain things with musical theater examples more often?
Puffy Panda
Puffy Panda 3 soat oldin
Why is everyone acting like its so hard to sing the National Anthem? It's not that hard....
Maria Clara Bessa
Maria Clara Bessa 4 soat oldin
i'm not even american but i'm here
Juicem 5 soat oldin
I’m right by the place where they wrote it right now :|
Lauren Ellis
Lauren Ellis 6 soat oldin
Don’t change the Star-Spangled Banner Do you want to be a part of the of the British colony the Star-Spangled Banner is the greatest song ever because we got on the and 1776 do you America to be removedDon’t remove the stars bangle banner What a new national anthem no that that that i’m not subscribingWhat to your ChannelStar-Spangled Banner please don’t remove our national anthem the Star-Spangled Banner please don’t do new national anthemWho’s American revolution the battle of 1812 Mexican American war Civil War Spanish American Worldwar one World War Two Korean War Vietnam war war of Afghanistan Iraq Wars Syrian warDo you want to get rid of the Star-Spangled Banner go for a new national anthem just keep the Star-Spangled Banner please could you please don’t say you need to you need new Nationalanthem don’t get rid of the Star-Spangled Banner ☹️🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁Don’t get rid of the Star-Spangled Banner
Busa Bro
Busa Bro 8 soat oldin
xd 8 soat oldin
Adam Neely
Jacoby Stephens
Jacoby Stephens 8 soat oldin
Carl Lewis had me dying 😂
Planeflyer66 8 soat oldin
The national anthem of the United States is one of the most recognizable songs in the world. You can just hear the first three notes and instantly know what it is. This song may be difficult to sing, but it is full of history. Francis Scott Key wrote this amazing piece of music whilst in battle at Ft. McHenry. I would think we would want that to be the story of the national anthem instead of an American inside of their house eating chips and watching South Park. To add on to this argument, I think that we should keep our national anthem because it is unique. You may know the French national anthem instantly, but it sounds like every other national anthem. So, shut up, lady.
TripNBallsGaming (Under construction)
The only people who can't sing the national anthem are people who can't sing. Even with maybe 6 months in choir is enough to nail it every time with next to no effort. Hell, probably even 6 weeks. It's really not that hard. Granted I'd still be happier if our national anthem was America, F*** Yeah from Team America World Police. That would be funnier and show the world that the US has a sense of humour.
Sharpy 9 soat oldin
God save our gracious Queen Long live our noble Queen God save the Queen
Skeet 9 soat oldin
I guess vox is full of commies
68corvette08 9 soat oldin
Stop wanting to change our National Anthem and our values. And, why complain about it? It's a part of our history, and it's wonderful.
alissa williams
alissa williams 9 soat oldin
Ummm I’m 11 and I sing it perfectly...
It’s Taylor
It’s Taylor 10 soat oldin
In my elementary school we had to sing it from 1st grade to 6th grade to prepare us to sing it on national television, so that’s why I can sing it and I memorized the lyrics 😂
Thomas Wall
Thomas Wall 10 soat oldin
Can we all just agree that whenever Lillian Garcia sings star spangled banner it is amazing.
Helen Peters
Helen Peters 10 soat oldin
I've wondered why US needs just one person to sing the anthem. The best thing about a national anthem is everyone sing along.
Dóri Zsély
Dóri Zsély 12 soat oldin
Have you ever heard the Hungarian anthem? It is almost as bad as the American
I am the Senate
I am the Senate 14 soat oldin
We can’t change the anthem that’s our history
Peter Nwokoye
Peter Nwokoye 15 soat oldin
it's super hard to sing the anthem, especially for guys. I just sing the parts that i can and hum the rest.
KP바비 KJ 15 soat oldin
I'm not even American why am I here
Jackinators Let's Play-Oase
1:24 "Musical Theory Expert" is unable to sing the right notes and even fails to play an octave on her piano.
Spindicate 16 soat oldin
you might be the best video journalist on UZvid
Soteria 17 soat oldin
angelica hale did it best uzvid.com/video/video-j3mpRP5bJ80.html
Scorch 17 soat oldin
the soviet anthem is the *best* anthem. actually though it is. the us anthem is the shittiest piece of music ive ever heard honestly
South DancerAussie
South DancerAussie 19 soat oldin
Thank god im Australian and our national anthem is so easy
Ferdhaus Ismael
Ferdhaus Ismael 20 soat oldin
Im not even Amurican :3
N00bManiac7 20 soat oldin
This hasn't really changed my opinion of the American anthem (not that great, but too iconically America to change), buy it has made me appreciate and respect how much control over their own bodies singers' have to have.
Tifa Azahra
Tifa Azahra 21 soat oldin
The instruments can play it better.
Andy LikesBlue
Andy LikesBlue 22 soat oldin
Okay. I'm happy about our national anthem. (Lupang Hinirang from Philippines)
Spike rides a Bike
Spike rides a Bike 23 soat oldin
Probably is just mad she can’t play an instrument real well
AA12 Fordays
AA12 Fordays Kun oldin
*only the purist of the Americans are allowed to sing it well*
Dunderhead Kun oldin
Fake ass Americans don’t even know the lyrics
Trebin Jenkis
Trebin Jenkis Kun oldin
The national anthem should be Power and the Glory by Phil Ochs
Deadrift Kun oldin
ddavid122 Kun oldin
So you guys also publish Adam Neely videos?? Hmm.
Orpheus Kun oldin
Admittedly that’s kind of a gross over simplification of the story of the Banner. The main centerpiece of the story is the U.S. flag atop the fort, which despite having been directly shot tens of times by the British as an intentional act of attempted demoralization, stayed up strong, only boosting the morale of the U.S, leading to victory. The story I always heard was that when morning came, and the battle boats returned to the fort, they found a massive pyramid of dead bodies all clutching the flag, their last moments spent holding it up, preventing it from falling, and preventing the British from demoralizing the U.S. As soon as the guy holding the flag died from British cannons, a new guy would volunteer to climb the pile and keep holding it up, sacrificing himself in the name of his country and his flag. We could have chosen no better story to represent our nation, in my opinion.
[ ? ]
[ ? ] Kun oldin
That's actually quite a poor excuse for retaining this anthem. 'America The Beautiful' for me is shorter and more beautiful. But I'm not US citizen so I can't judge.
Fuduper Kun oldin
I know the words by heart.... this video makes me wonder if people are just retarded because the lesson we were given on the start spangled banner and it’s history was in the second grade..... YYYYIKES 😂😂😂
shrillbert Kun oldin
I'd much rather have "This Land is Your Land" as our national anthem. It's a narrower vocal range,, the lyrics fir the tune better,vand it actually glorifies the country it represents, which is what an anthem is supposed to do in the first place.
Burger Jason
Burger Jason Kun oldin
Idk about y’all but I think it sounds good
Some Cheese
Some Cheese Kun oldin
U gotta go low
GreyGear Kun oldin
ussr is the best
asianboyrobert Kun oldin
Just blast Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner
legoman7041 Kun oldin
People shouldn't dislike creative takes on the Star Spangled Banner. We should dislike poorly executed creative takes on the Star Spangled Banner because if you don't have something nice to sing you shouldn't sing at all.
A Girl Who Writes Also A Meme Expert
I can sing and play it on my clarinet perfectly
ZennerPlaysCPR Kun oldin
I could talk about the actual video, but instead I'm gonna question why you're using Skype in 2018.
Umitalia nyan
Umitalia nyan Kun oldin
I can sing it but it almost is uncomfortable
Space Zelda
Space Zelda Kun oldin
The arrangement my school choir did of the anthem spanned two octaves for the soprano parts
Tesla Kun oldin
José Feliciano and Marvin Gaye were before a different crowed. So ungíais for Feliciano
Tesla Kun oldin
National anthem should be accesible to sing for EVERYBODY
Tesla Kun oldin
I’m Mexico you sing the national anthem every single day at 6:00 am when the flag is posted in the downtown
Aaron Long
Aaron Long Kun oldin
Why shouldn't our anthem be challenging? It makes it more dramatic, more interesting to listen to. God Save the Queen sounds *dreary*. La la Marseillaise is repetitive. The Star Spangled Banner is a sweeping, soaring, majestic thing, even if it is a bit awkward for the amateur. Ballet is hard to bring off too, but nobody would suggest that it would be better if you made it easier to perform. Our anthem is a song with proclaims who we are as a people, and it is better to have a song that's ambitious, difficult, and glorious, than one which merely lowers its expectations to meet the mediocre capabilities of the layperson.
Xenon Kun oldin
Adam Neely already did a video on this exact thing.
novelfroge 80
novelfroge 80 Kun oldin
Watch Adam neely's video on this
noor meryem
noor meryem Kun oldin
the French anthem promotes discrimination and hate towards people that aren't French or of a similar European counterpart. At one point in the chorus the words "qu'un sang impure abreuve nos sillons" are said. Those words describe how if the blood that's spilled (in battle or war) isn't "pure" then it should be fed to the French pigs. i know this is irrelevant. just wanted to seem smart for once.
Thomas fan 1945
Thomas fan 1945 Kun oldin
O’ Canada is so much better. It’s short and easy to sing.
Chien Vu Nhat
Chien Vu Nhat Kun oldin
La Marseilleise is great but has Vox ever heard USSR anthem. That's a masterpiece. I don't want to compare US anthem here. It's gonna be a joke.
Josie Thornton
Josie Thornton Kun oldin
In Australia we sing the national anthem every week 😐🇦🇺
Shriya P
Shriya P Kun oldin
I think the difficulty makes our national anthem better.
DonJuanMarco Kun oldin
Nothing beats Whitney!
100% Accu-RAT
100% Accu-RAT Kun oldin
better than ours
Dan Kun oldin
Stolen from Adam neely
Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson Kun oldin
Still Dont know a line of the American national anthem but Dont worry im english
Hell Yee
Hell Yee 2 kun oldin
Bro we sing the national anthem every time we have whole-school meetings, which is once like every month or month of a half. It's terrible, barely anyone sings it because we freaking can't because it's so weird and we can't even remember the words. They just play the song while everyone else mumbles
JansTheRush - YT Surfer
We sing our national anthem *every day* at school. So you can imagine singing this everyday and widening your vocal range.
Mitsuki ___
Mitsuki ___ 2 kun oldin
Am i the only non american idiot who clicked on this video?
Blue Newt
Blue Newt 2 kun oldin
Oh boo hoo
Blue Newt
Blue Newt 2 kun oldin
It is extremely easy
Mac Ter
Mac Ter 2 kun oldin
We need to change the anthem because some people can’t sing it
Not Mr T
Not Mr T 2 kun oldin
I’m reading this in base clef
Natalie the musical lover
I like the anthem
Ice Family Show
Ice Family Show 2 kun oldin
6:18 umm.. what language was that 😂 🤣
#relateableoldman 👴🏻
This is honestly like the easiest song I’ve ever sung. It’s not hard if you aren’t completely musically inept and can put it into a range that fits your voice.
Dr Kid
Dr Kid 2 kun oldin
BASS.... 🎼A-dam Nee-ly de-serves cre-diiiiiiiiit
Samuel D'Atri
Samuel D'Atri 2 kun oldin
Oh no, we’re complaining about the distance between the notes, so sad. (It’s not really hard this is such an exaggeration)
Dexter Clift
Dexter Clift 2 kun oldin
No one can beat Titus burgess singing it
Adam Brown
Adam Brown 2 kun oldin
Their snoots droupped
Parmeet Singh
Parmeet Singh 2 kun oldin
Ya but all the other countries make fun....
SübZer00 2 kun oldin
Why the * insert any nation here* national anthem is terrible - and perfect - a perfectly terrible video - by Vox
Tiago Foz
Tiago Foz 2 kun oldin
Where's Hendrix performance at woodstock
Arturo Garrido
Arturo Garrido 2 kun oldin
If you think your national anthem has to be hard to sing because it should be as hard as the sports you are so wrong lmao, so your anthem is for sports? Damn
Ishan Sinha
Ishan Sinha 2 kun oldin
It sounds intimidating thoughh
Alice Dubois
Alice Dubois 2 kun oldin
This video is stolen from Adam Neely. I thought that you guys are a retributable channel! I guess not... Stealing is stealing guys. OWN UP!!
Darius Barnes
Darius Barnes 2 kun oldin
It is perfect
Ethan DyTioco
Ethan DyTioco 2 kun oldin
Adam Neely >
Daniel Playz_YT
Daniel Playz_YT 2 kun oldin
I guess I'm not normal
Adrian_ Zombturtle
Adrian_ Zombturtle 2 kun oldin
But it hurts to listen to people mess up the song
Randomperson Smith
Randomperson Smith 2 kun oldin
TheGreatShogun 2 kun oldin
Of course Liberals wpuld have no knowledge of or respect for the anthem... You Leftists are a sad bunch.
Roiva 3 kun oldin
Plagiarized by Adam Neely! Uncool.
Peter Huson
Peter Huson 3 kun oldin
My country ‘tis of thee is easier to remember
Diego- Kiwi
Diego- Kiwi 3 kun oldin
We need new lyrics
Lil Slightly Bigger Nugget
Is it just me but I don’t find this hard. I think the hardest part about it is the lyrics. I think it’s really long but idk I’m not American
Mizz FlaireBeauty
Mizz FlaireBeauty 3 kun oldin
"Always thought our national anthem was ridiculous. Half of the anthem is about the flag not getting ruined in a war. The lyrics are not as invigorating as other countries. It’s just off and bland. The Star Spangled Banner tune came from a drinking song. Which is probably why the notes don't particular work well with the new words."
Jaden Shimp
Jaden Shimp 3 kun oldin
On top of messing up the history a bit and misinterpreting lyrics, you stole the video from Adam Neely