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204 The National Music of America.
Mr. Edes was desired so to print it at the top of the ballad. Its solemn melody and expressive notes seem naturally allied to the poetry, and speak emphatically of the musical taste and judgment of Mr. Key. Ferdinand Durang mounted an old rush-bottomed chair and sang this admirable song for the first time in our Union, the chorus of each verse being reechoed by those present with infinite harmony of voices. It was sung several times that morning."
The italics in the sentence are our own. The above is probably a true account of the events connected with the attaching of music to words. That the company could join in the chorus was natural, for the melody chosen was by no means a stranger to any of them, but that Durang first thought of combining the words with their present melody is entirely apocryphal; that honour belongs to Key.1
When the origin of the melody of "The
1 The flag which caused Mr. Key such a frenzy of enthusiasm is still in existence, and a full account of it is given in Preble's "History of the Flag of the United States," p. 732.