Sounds Like The Star Spangled Banner

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brianberlin
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Sounds Like The Star Spangled Banner

Post by brianberlin » Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:54 pm

I know The Star Spangled Banner is unplayable on the pipes. So when I began work on an acceptable alternative, I kept 3 points in mind.

1. The tune MUST give the general impression and feel of the Star Spangled Banner

2. If people want to sing along, it must accompany them well.

3. Most importantly, it must be melodically pleasing in it's own right.

So I worked up the attached tune: "Sounds Like The Star Spangled Banner". It's got the general feel of the original song and with the exception of two notes ("that our flag was still there") it accompanies singing along quite nicely.

Give this a play through and tell me if you think it has merit as a substitute for the Star Spangled Banner. Any constructive criticism is welcome.
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david n. siegel
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Location: Israel (The Galilee)

Post by david n. siegel » Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:43 am

That B to a held E in the several places, eg the end of the first line, jars me a little. Otherwise, it does move well enough. I'd think about making a medley of whatever patriotic tunes nearly all Americans might know, and working it into that. In a medley, the caricature effect wouldn't be a factor, as phrases and variations could be part of the artistry.

But, as somebody from a country with an anthem that is absolutely impossible on the pipes (Ha-Tiqva), I have none-the-less seen versions of our anthem for pipes on the net. It makes people here laugh, or, mostly, they just don't recognize it at all.

My point being, if you play your variation without announcing it as such, might not many listeners be a bit confused? When my pipe band played last year for a US Marine Ball at the US Embassy here in Israel, the US anthem was introduced with a simple "Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the national anthem." No way you could get an Emcee to say, "please rise for an adaptation of ... "

How would you use this?

I still say put it in a really nice thought-out medley (and work in a phrase from "Hail to the Chief," given its Scottish roots). It could be really effective in such a medley, and we might be interested in learning it the pipe band here for events we do with the US Embassy here now and again.

It is fun to play around with notes and melodies--being creative is great for any musician.

-David.

dubblin_o_shea
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Post by dubblin_o_shea » Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:49 am

I personally like the tune. I like it for how it sounds. If this tune really goes well accompanyment wise with people singing the Star Spangled Banner than that is the only time I would play it publicly. I really like how Measure 6 and 7 sound. That's a very neat sound ! The reason why I would suggest not playing it publicly is because people in earshot may think that you are trying to play the Star Spangled Banner and it sounds bad. I say this because the tune sounds very simmilar to the S.S.B. enough that people will recognise the fact that you are trying to play it. When you take any very well known tune / song and change it from the way everyone knows it then people most likely think what I mentioned above. A lot of people out there that have very little to no musical knowledge will oversee the fact that you are trying to be creative.

irishpipermilw
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Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Post by irishpipermilw » Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:59 am

Can you post this tune? I would like to learn it.

brianberlin
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Post by brianberlin » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:04 pm

david n. siegel wrote:My point being, if you play your variation without announcing it as such, might not many listeners be a bit confused? When my pipe band played last year for a US Marine Ball at the US Embassy here in Israel, the US anthem was introduced with a simple "Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the national anthem." No way you could get an Emcee to say, "please rise for an adaptation of ... "

How would you use this?
I use it solo and with the band whenever the US National Anthem is called for (and it is announced as such). It sounds close enough. I've never had any negative feedback on this arrangement. It just sounds like the US National Anthem on bagpipes.

david n. siegel
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 6:37 am
Location: Israel (The Galilee)

Post by david n. siegel » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:43 am

Well, I guess I'd have to leave to Americans to decide if this melody works or not. It follows the notes in some phrases, but not in others. Just when a certain note is expected, the audience gets something else.

The people of many nations can be very attentive about something so symbolically important as their national anthem. Americans hear theirs much more frequently than is the custom in many other countries, so I would assume that they know the notes well, at least intuitively.

Those who do know the SSB well might think they are hearing mistakes, or worse, a parody. Audiences tend to be polite, and often thank those who participate in ceremonies because they put the time in and volunteered. That is a hard circumstance from which to draw a purely musical critique. But to each his own.

brianberlin
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Post by brianberlin » Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:58 pm

I take your point.
And to add another point, the melody of the Star Spangled Banner is beyond he singable range of most people. So most people who sing it, also adapt the melody to their own vocal range. Even sung solo by professionals - one will hear a vast variety of melodic interpretations.

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