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The National Music of America. 205
Star-spangled Banner" is taken into consideration, many of its defects for choral singing will become self-evident. Its large compass, its constant skipping, the exhilarating upward rush of melody in its opening phrase, its tour de force (an old vocal trick, this) in the final phrase, are all admirable adjuncts of a good bacchanalian ditty, but tend to appal the laity in a chorus which calls for great masses of voices. One author1 has stated that —
" It commences on a key so low that all may join in it. It has unity of idea. The melodic parts most naturally succeed each other, and, if I may so speak, are logically conjoined and bound together. It consists of solo, duett, and chorus, and thus in unity presents variety. It is bold, warlike, and majestic; stirring the profoundest emotions of the soul, and echoing through its deepest chambers something of the prospective grandeur of a mighty Nation tramping toward the loftiest heights of intellectual dominion."
But one may doubt whether the English convivial companions who sang it at the
1 Elias Nason, " Our National Song," p. 49.