Have you ever noticed that our national anthem is a question? This piece is performed at countless concerts, sporting events, and gatherings each year and yet, nobody ever expects an answer to the question: “O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” I believe that it is time to put this piece into a musical context that expresses the question and (typically unstated) answer within Francis Scott Key’s poem.
This new arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner will contain a minor statement of the first verse, followed by a major statement of the third verse. With the recent protests of the National Anthem, I fear that the minor verse might be viewed as offensive or disrespectful. My intention is actually the opposite. I have a deep, patriotic love for our country and I believe that this creative approach will encourage people to think about the lyrics to our national anthem. As with anything that is repeated ad nauseam, words can lose their meaning. It is time to accept that we perform our national anthem as a question and acknowledge Francis Scott Key’s glorious response:
“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust!’
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
What are your thoughts about a minor interpretation of The Star-Spangled Banner? Comment below and keep your eyes open for further posts on the progress of this arrangement!