Saturday, January 07, 2012

Oh, Say Can You See?

Indiana Senator, Vaneta Becker (R), has proposed a bill that would impose a fine on anyone who deviates from singing The Star Spangled Banner as it was written.

As a liberal Democrat, pretty much any bill by a Republican makes me bristle. But as a musician, this Republican would get my vote. 

I get so weary of hearing performers ad-lib the melody and insert their own style into this piece. Newsflash to performers: This piece was not written to be used as a springboard for your own, freewheeling style. Use a bit of self-restraint and humility when performing this piece. The melody is difficult and impressive enough on its own.

We don’t need to hear you sing thirteen notes on the word, “brave.” 

Here’s Mariah Carey performing it. (She really goes all over the place toward the end.)

Yes, she’s talented and, yes, she’s got an impressive instrument. But, honey, use it on pieces that were meant to be improvised.

I think anyone who wants to perform this piece should be given the following test:

“Can you tell us what a ‘rampart’ is?”

“It’s, um, like, um, it’s like. . . .”

“Sorry! Next?”

In Becker’s bill, I’d go one step further regarding our national anthem: 
Change it altogether. 

In my opinion, a nation’s anthem should be free of texts about bombing, battles, and killing. Our nation has done way too much of that – we don’t need to emphasize it at every sporting event, especially every time an American athlete wins the gold at the Olympics. 

We should also change it because 99 percent of our population cannot sing it; few people have the requisite vocal range of an octave-and-a-half. 

And no one can remember the words, much less, knows what a “rampart” is.

Evidence by:

My solution?
Change the national anthem to something we all know and can sing. My solution is the theme to The Brady Bunch.

Seriously, can’t you just see it at the next Olympic Games? 

“Here’s the story 
Of a lovely lady 
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls. . .”

We all know the words and melody. We've heard this piece many more times than The Star Spangled Banner. 

Everyone from every country would join in singing our anthem! 
(You know they would.)

Such a scene would be so much better for our nation’s image than reminding everyone of our bombs bursting overhead.

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At 11:52 AM , Blogger William V. Madison said...

I hadn't heard about this, but I think the Indiana proposal is very good. What better way to celebrate our nation's greatness than by infringing on our freedom to sing the national anthem as we please?

That said, The Brady Bunch theme would surely do more than a couple years' worth of foreign aid to improve America's image abroad. The song is also less violent than "The Star-Spangled Banner" -- or the Marseillaise, for that matter.


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