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Why the US national anthem is terrible - and perfect

Vox
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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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Joylandi

 

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
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Fikrlar 7 977
Vox
Vox 2 oy 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=
Toryu-Mau
Toryu-Mau 9 soat oldin
... So... Git Good? >):^?
General Amsel
General Amsel 8 kun oldin
+Sheratim because simply always complaining how something is racist doesn't do anything, we don't even sing the third verse so why complain about it? Its like complaining about how oh since some of the founding father had slaves that means even though the literally committed high treason against the British crown and proceeded to fight against the strongest army and navy in a the known world, nah since some of them had slaves that just throws that all to the side and doesn't matter.
Pure Donut
Pure Donut 15 kun oldin
Cut fergie some slack
Bakura 2400
Bakura 2400 20 kun oldin
Mrpoker1963 Gaming Ha that's a great joke. You should be a comedian.
Bakura 2400
Bakura 2400 20 kun oldin
_KendallRd0 They have ruined nothing the National Anthem is perfect.
Lenaya Sampson
Lenaya Sampson Soat oldin
#gaga
Selah River
Selah River 2 soat oldin
Eh. It's not that hard lol.
Nathan Domnelly
Nathan Domnelly 2 soat oldin
Its not that big a deal
Thor of the Discount Variety
For one, musicians learn some extremely complicated music, so those that forget it mid-performance aren't giving their full effort. Secondly, the anthem is written peotically and not brashly which embodies self-expression within the song itself. And thirdly... are those people who you had to try and sing the anthem just completely ignorant to it? I've known the lyrics since I was a child.
zenox 010
zenox 010 4 soat oldin
I don't know with the national anthem in other countries but in Indonesia, we can't make and/or sing a new tune or make a new arrangement on our national anthem
arae case
arae case 4 soat oldin
We don't need a new national anthem just because people are having trouble singing it.
Pokecrafter64
Pokecrafter64 4 soat oldin
Idk what people are talking about, it isn't that hard to sing.
Rin
Rin 5 soat oldin
Me, a band nerd: *sweats profusely*
The Black Knight
The Black Knight 5 soat oldin
Yeah and vox spreads anti american propaganda and doesn't support american values, what a coincidence
No channel Musician
No channel Musician 5 soat oldin
I’ve never been so proud to live in Portland. That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how I didn’t know about this before.
Someofficer
Someofficer 5 soat oldin
Hail Columbia
juhuu13579
juhuu13579 6 soat oldin
You stole this from Adam Neely. At least acknowledge his video if you won’t credit him.
michael frost
michael frost 6 soat oldin
Isn't the Portuguese national anthem like super groovy and stuff
Denizen
Denizen 6 soat oldin
Actually, the song is about how the flag never fell at Fort McHenry. It didn’t fall because Americans stood there and held it, despite every British ship in the harbor bombarding that exact position. When soldiers died, more replaced them. That’s why it talks about the flag still being there, because Americans lived their country so much they stood there and held it, and died so it would still stand. Source: uzvid.com/video/video-YaxGNQE5ZLA.html
SuperT
SuperT 7 soat oldin
How is it hard
xItzNat
xItzNat 7 soat oldin
We’re doing this in choir and I do the high note 📝
Timothy Lee Wietzke
Timothy Lee Wietzke 8 soat oldin
Heil dir im Siegerkranz Herrscher des Vaterlands! Heil Kaiser, dir!
UnrealProductions
UnrealProductions 8 soat oldin
Apparently a bunch of soyboy cucks who just got their citizenship now want to rewrite American history. Only Vox is full of anti-American libtards.
High admiral Sean
High admiral Sean 8 soat oldin
The French national anthem is super violent
luke
luke 9 soat oldin
The UK national anthem is the best! No debate 'God save the Queen'
Meme
Meme 10 soat oldin
In Soviet Russia Anthem Sings You
Sonagi Something
Sonagi Something 10 soat oldin
I used to be so proud of myself when I would practice the national anthem in my room when I was a little kid. I still am, years later. May god bless America!
Nothing Original
Nothing Original 10 soat oldin
Well it wouldn't be america
Harry Ward
Harry Ward 11 soat oldin
If you weren’t so rowdy you’d still have God Save The Queen. Brought it on yourselves
jacqueline f
jacqueline f 11 soat oldin
lmao i can sing this half whispering
Viktor
Viktor 12 soat oldin
i dont know, almost every anthem sounds so same to me without lyrics. USSR'S anthem is the best in my opinion, if you dont like the ideology, doesent matter the instrumental is so good.
TheColourYellow
TheColourYellow 13 soat oldin
Not a single mention of Hendrix? The most powerful? Most beautiful? The most world changing shocking display of protest art in history?
Aly Burr
Aly Burr 14 soat oldin
I used to think that America the beautiful was the national anthem
Aly Burr
Aly Burr 14 soat oldin
If I start at exactly the right point, and it's a good day for my voice, I can sing it fine
Austin Widmann
Austin Widmann 15 soat oldin
What this video doesn’t even address is how bad the phrasing comes across when you sing it. I sang the anthem at an MLB game and there’s a three second delay between what you sing and what echoes back to you. The way the phrases are constructed means you’re hearing the wrong note as you’re trying to hit the right one, which is one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done as a musician.
KristinEffect 17
KristinEffect 17 17 soat oldin
Atleast philippine anthem is easier (=w=)b
Chrice Chiu
Chrice Chiu 18 soat oldin
Here are a few more songs that require freakishly wide vocal spans. Roshin Yuukai: 15 notes Death of a Bachelor: 18 notes Take on me: 20 notes Opera II: 36 notes
SgtSmudge
SgtSmudge 18 soat oldin
Welsh National Anthem is best. Fight me, and my army of sheep.
dapivimu
dapivimu 23 soat oldin
I’m sorry but the Mexican anthem is easily in the top 5, it’s beautiful and strong. The French one too and a few others
Lisa Pilcher
Lisa Pilcher 23 soat oldin
Vox! Because it’s spooky season and nearing Halloween next month, can you make a video about why creepy/scary music sounds so scary or why certain instruments are used to make this kind of music (ex. theremin, harpsichord). Thanks!!
Patrick Skovgaard
Do you know how easy Jake Paul's Anthem is? It only has 3 notes in it and spans 9 semitones... D-A-B
NeonPulse
NeonPulse Kun oldin
The Star-Spangled Banner is one of the only national anthems that I like. I dunno why, I just like the sound of it.
Prussian Monarchist
La Marseillaise is terrible, it's just about surrendering, either the Star Spangled Banner or Hail Columbia, the only two songs I would settle for as our national anthem!
Virtuoso80
Virtuoso80 Kun oldin
3:40 That New York City vocal teacher just gave the worst definition of chest voice and head voice I've ever heard. He has no idea what dafuq he's talking about.
Gregory Handtson
if someone cant play that high on a horn then that's just the person playing the horn that IS NOT the song itself. heck, this song is not difficult to play i myself had to play this and it's easy if you know what you're doing.
David Abiyo
David Abiyo Kun oldin
My music teacher can sing it. We live in Canada.
Tyler Jenkins
Tyler Jenkins Kun oldin
There is nothing wrong with the US national anthem
PianoLegend42
PianoLegend42 Kun oldin
I don't think they see the real reason the National Anthem is bad. The lyrics are about the flag, not the country. Just listen to it.
Normy Haddad
Normy Haddad Kun oldin
It doesn't need to be hard, look at the russian anthem
Lukas Locklear
Lukas Locklear Kun oldin
I'm you don't know the meaning though and the history
TRB in Dallas
TRB in Dallas Kun oldin
Party in the USA is obviously the anthem we need
08Yasmin03
08Yasmin03 Kun oldin
the national anthem should be the baby shark song
BlakeDaDoc video games and stuff
People dont know the natonal anthem. So they are obvously not going to know how to sing it
Abigail
Abigail Kun oldin
Glad I'm also Mexican, and I can hit those notes XD
Casey Bolton
Casey Bolton Kun oldin
in toronto we sing oh canada every morning
Michael King
Michael King Kun oldin
Makes a good case and then dives into sjw bullshit...
Michael King
Michael King Kun oldin
It's a British drinking song
Lucky_ramen
Lucky_ramen Kun oldin
I know it by heart. Is that strange?
jjjjjjjjjj11ify
jjjjjjjjjj11ify Kun oldin
The national anthem of my country says we are a fragile flower that worships its god and dies. Trust me, we have it way worse.
TomatoToes 12
TomatoToes 12 Kun oldin
I can sing it fine 🤷🏻‍♀️
Gabriel Cringemore
Took an Adam Neely video and made it worse haha
Pinkamena Polska
Well I'm from Poland and we sing our anthem like... a lot becouse we have many national events (1 september, 11 november, 3 may...). I think It's good that we can sing our anthem becouse you can join everyone in something that's binding us together in that moment. I don't know it's something special that any "special moments" or "funny fails" can replace. Did you ever thought about a thousands of people singing together a song that represents all the things they and their ancestors did for their country and sometimes died for their country? It's something truly powerfull.
Mat S
Mat S Kun oldin
USA.... making everything unnecessarily complicated since 1776!
Cynthia Moraes
Cynthia Moraes Kun oldin
If you think that this is hard, try singing the Uruguay anthem...
chester panda
chester panda Kun oldin
Nice to see VOX is covering important issues... It’s a business, so whatever their audience eats up, and I guess we can’t listen to the Nat’l Anthem at the start of NFL games on TV anymore.
0 Finger Death Punch
alright, you absolutely forget to mention Jimi Hendrix.
Alexander Lele
Alexander Lele Kun oldin
the best anthem is the soviet anthem
Garrett Leong
Garrett Leong Kun oldin
The most powerful national anthem on the planet is Ukraines. But my favourite one is "O Flower of Scottland" which is also very beautiful in itw own right.
Zac Blac
Zac Blac Kun oldin
‘Australia all in time rejoice, for we are young and free With gold and soil and wealth for toil, our home is gurt by sea’ That’s a national anthem
JB The minecraft hunter
Thank goodness our anthem in the Philippines
Chloe Jayde
Chloe Jayde Kun oldin
I like my australian Anthem
Aleya MC
Aleya MC 2 kun oldin
IT WAS NOT ON WHAT THE ACTUAL FUDGE....
omgitsharrypotato!
omgitsharrypotato! 2 kun oldin
Battle hymn of the republic is a better song but due to its heavy religious undertones i understand why its not the anthem
Jeffrey Applegate
Jeffrey Applegate 2 kun oldin
Shame on Vox for including the bit about Whitney Houston lipping to a pre recorded National Anthem. That remains unproven and needs to stop being repeated as though it is the official truth. It's been repeated for so long and buy some new people that everybody assumes that it must be true, but if you have proof of some sort that she actually lip synced to a pre recorded track at the Super Bowl, Please share it as I have yet to hear or see anything that this defamation.
Jeffrey Applegate
Jeffrey Applegate 6 soat oldin
The superbowl sound engineer never publucally commented ln the anthem and certainly didnt ssy it was prerecorded. Cite your sources if you have any!
willgtl
willgtl 6 soat oldin
When both the sound engineer and the pre-game activities coordinator say the mic was off and they played a pre-recorded version, I'll tend to believe them over Houston's publicist who basically said "We think it was live." Oh, and there's Houston's own spokesman who said "This is not a Milli Vanilli thing; she sang, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events." There's no shame in it being pre-recorded. She still sang it, just in a studio. And according to the pre-game activities coordinator, it was done in a single take.
eblu
eblu 2 kun oldin
But what are we going to replace it with
MfPotatoeater99
MfPotatoeater99 2 kun oldin
our national anthem is garbage compared to every other countries' anthems
Simple Carolina
Simple Carolina 2 kun oldin
Jesus if I am in 9th grade and can remember all the lyrics then adults can too, not saying I can sing it good but atleast I can remember it.
Norbert H
Norbert H 2 kun oldin
I feel like the lack of stepwise motion in favor of jumps suggests that the tune was meant to be played on instruments rather than sung (leaps like that are much more common in instrumental music, often larger too). Of course a national anthem without lyrics is a bit redundant (not to say that instrumental versions now are bad, but people know the lyrics even when they aren’t being sung). God Bless America would make a good anthem.
Mutant Enderman
Mutant Enderman 2 kun oldin
God d*mn it John Smith!
Esteban Maldonado
Esteban Maldonado 2 kun oldin
I do not feel comfortable when I hear a national anthem sung as a pop song.
Tc
Tc 2 kun oldin
I can sing the national anthem without dying. am I weird?
Maelat Habib
Maelat Habib 2 kun oldin
Who else here can sing all the notes? 🙋‍♀️
ronny raygunz
ronny raygunz 2 kun oldin
wah, it's too haarrd, wah, slaveowners, shaddap!
Mattispher
Mattispher 2 kun oldin
IT WASN’T WRITTEN BY A SLAVE AND HAS NOTHING ABOUT SLAVERY IN THE LYRICS
Mattispher
Mattispher 2 kun oldin
DO NOT SAY THAT OR YOU WILL GET NUKED!!!
HUNNID K BEATZ
HUNNID K BEATZ 2 kun oldin
Our national anthem is AWESOME!! I don’t care what you say!! Nobody’s telling you you have to sing it! There’s nothing wrong with it! If you can’t play it on an instrument or sing it, learn it! Or don’t! Don’t blame the anthem for you lack of skill!
Kamilar135
Kamilar135 2 kun oldin
Wtf you must have never been in a choir to believe that 12 notes is a lot...
Sharon Titus
Sharon Titus 2 kun oldin
Yes because if something is difficult it’s not worth attempting.
CyprusHot
CyprusHot 2 kun oldin
Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are untouchable. Everyone else are tragic.
African MusicGenuis
C'mon, I've known the words to that anthem since I was like ten, never having been to the US. The peeps in this video trying so hard are killing me man!
African MusicGenuis
Whitney Houston, 'nuff said.
Ella Exterkamp
Ella Exterkamp 2 kun oldin
Its called mixing your voice to reach low and high notes. Anyone who takes music lessons should be able to reach all of the notes. Its mostly about range
Rop2
Rop2 2 kun oldin
It‘s easy for me to sing.
1 D 1 0 T 5
1 D 1 0 T 5 2 kun oldin
Oof sorry fergie :/
Sharkfowl
Sharkfowl 3 kun oldin
Vox hates America
Sanitäter
Sanitäter 3 kun oldin
Australia's one is almost as annoying.
Amberlynn Stowers
Amberlynn Stowers 3 kun oldin
Ugh, Whitney. I was typing “I have goosebumps” when she said “I have goosebumps”.
Rifqi Main Gitar
Rifqi Main Gitar 3 kun oldin
You know, Indonesia's national anthem also has a 12 note range and also has an octave progression in the first word of the song, but we sing it in every event no problem. I think the reason why most American can't sing it is the culture. From what I see, you treat the anthem as something to be listened when someone's singing it while we treat our anthem as something to be sung along together no matter you can sing or not because apparently hundreds or thousands people singing together can make the song sounds good even though not all of us can sing properly
Kimberly O'Neill
Kimberly O'Neill 3 kun oldin
Sadly, I do not like the Whitney Houston version.
Doc Philip
Doc Philip 3 kun oldin
Shut up vox
contemplativegirl21
I still get chills hearing Whitney's version. What a phenomenal talent she was.
the pimp dady of himlich county
The big inspiring idea is that one fort held out against the strongest empire in the world. The point of the Star Spangled Banner is that there is still hope to win the war against their far superior foe. I personally love the anthem and as an american i think it's one of the best ones, but everyone's intitled to their own opinion so i dunno
Th33Khann
Th33Khann 3 kun oldin
vox rlly doesnt understand music, im in highschool and our choir sings music that changes 2 or more octives and my band plays music that jumps 3 octives
Angel Mendoza
Angel Mendoza 3 kun oldin
The song isnt about how it sounds, it's about what it represents 🇺🇸
Keyingisi