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The Natiotional Music of America. 201
Durang. Here is a detailed statement of
this fairy story: *
" The tune which has helped so much to make it famous also had an interesting selection. Two brothers, Charles and Ferdinand Durang, were actors at the Holliday Street Theatre in Baltimore, but were also soldiers. A copy of Francis Key's poem came to them in camp; it was read aloud to a company of soldiers, among whom were the Durang brothers. All were inspired by the pathetic eloquence of the song, and Ferdinand Durang at once put his wits to work to find a tune for it. [! ! !] Hunting up a volume of flute music which was in one of the tents, he impatiently whistled snatches of tune after tune, just as they caught his quick eye. One, called • Anacreon in Heaven' struck his fancy and riveted his attention. Note after note fell from his puckered lips,2 until, with a leap and a shout, he exclaimed : ' Boys ! I've hit it!' And fitting the tune to the words, there rang out for the first time the song of « The Star-spangled Banner.' How the men shouted and clapped ! for there never was a wedding
1 This nonsense is unfortunately repeated in very many quarters, as, for example, Taney's preface to Vol. I. of Key's Songs, Banks's " Immortal Songs of Camp and Field," John T. Ford in Baltimore American, etc., etc.
2 It seems impossible that a musician should need to try over a song which every one in the camp had sung over and over with different words.