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148 The National Music of America.
" As a patriotic song for the people at large, as a national hymn, the * Star-spangled Banner' was found to be almost useless. The range of the air, an octave and a half, places it out of the compass of ordinary voices ; and no change that has been made in it has succeeded in obviating this paramount objection, without depriving the music of that characteristic spirit which is given by its quick ascent through such an extended range of notes.1
" The words, too, are altogether unfitted for a national hymn. They are almost entirely descriptive, and of a particular event. . . . The lines are also too long and the rhyme too involved for a truly patriotic song. They tax the memory; they should aid it.
" The rhythm, too, is complicated, and often harsh and vague. ... In fact, only the choral lines of this song have brought it into general favour.
"' And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.'
" But even in regard to this, who cannot but wish that the spangles could be taken out, and a good, honest flag be substituted for the banner ?
"' The Star-spangled Banner,' though for these reasons so utterly inadequate to the requirements of a national hymn that the people stood mute while in some instances it was sung by a single voice, or in
* This came from its original use as a drinking song.