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The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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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.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III