The National Music of America - online book

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

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