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April 10, 2013

Want to Commit A Crime Against Government?
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 06:40 PM * 156 comments

Perhaps you have without knowing it.

Did you ever sing, sotto voce, “O say can you see?” whilst walking through the concourse of South Station, Boston? Did you ever rhythmically chant, “And where is that band who so vauntingly swore” in a Burger King in Woburn? Ever intone “Blest with victory and peace” while you were waiting in line to visit the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield? Well, ignorance of the law is no excuse, chum.

General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
(Chapters 263 through 280)
TITLE I CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
CHAPTER 264 CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENTS
Section 9 National anthem; manner of playing

Section 9. Whoever plays, sings or renders the “Star Spangled Banner” in any public place, theatre, motion picture hall, restaurant or café, or at any public entertainment, other than as a whole and separate composition or number, without embellishment or addition in the way of national or other melodies, or whoever plays, sings or renders the “Star Spangled Banner”, or any part thereof, as dance music, as an exit march or as a part of a medley of any kind, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.

Woo! Any movie that contains just a part of the national anthem is illegal; any theater chain that shows such a film is part of a criminal organization. If you and a chum get together and plan to sing just the first stanza you may be guilty of conspiracy, and that might be a felony that can get you hard time.

To help you discover whether a crime is in progress, here’s the full text of The Star Spangled Banner. Singing any less than all of it is a crime. Don’t do it!

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
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!

Comments on Want to Commit A Crime Against Government?:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Bad law.

What's the story? When was it passed? Did someone get hot under the collar after hearing Jimi Hendrix's version?

#2 ::: Oy ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:15 PM:

Oy.

American law consists not only of the bills passed by legislature and signed by governors, but also of those court decisions with respect to the same laws which establish binding precedent on how such laws are to be interpreted and applied. The statement of law quoted above is interesting, in an appalling kind of way, but it is incomplete in that relevant case law is not presented.

#3 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:27 PM:

Does this mean that all Red Sox home games start with the entire stadium singing all 4 verses?

#4 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:49 PM:

Massachusetts has are tons of unenforced and unenforceable laws on the books. For a potentially amusing trip through a little section of them, have a look at the Massachusetts Section 272 Purity Test.

#5 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:04 PM:

A fun trick of my uncle's is to ask people what the last word of the song is. Most people answer 'brave' because that's how the first verse ends. Some answer that they don't know because they know there's another verse but aren't familiar with it, or they have encountered a bullshit second verse, as we sang in show choir my senior year. A very few chirp, "Still brave!"

Maybe it's only a fun trick if you share our sense of humor.

#6 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:24 PM:

I have committed to memory more verses of "To Anacreon in Heaven"* than I have of "The Star Spangled Banner"**.

Teresa et al @ 1 et seq:
I have a Massachusetts Law Library card, I may actually be able to chase down the origin and case law on this (but not until I replace my dead car and have recovered from doing First Aid for the Marathon). The Law Librarians in Worcester are underutilized, and very helpful.

* I made a fair copy from a Rare Book in the Boston Public Library around 1974 or so for the NESFA Hymnal.

** This footnote exists solely so "The Star Spangled Banner" would have some stars after it. Seems fitting, yes?

#7 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:28 PM:

I believe that third verse, while part of Scott Key's poem, is not an official part of the National Anthem.

#8 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:34 PM:

Lighthill @4:
In the late 1960s, I attended a rally for a Dr. Adleman (sp?) in Boston. He was challenging the law forbidding Doctors to talk to unmarried women about Birth Control. My recollection (vague and unreliable), is that the rally was at Boston College, and one of the speakers was Father Robert Drinan S.J.

#9 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:39 PM:

I will be singing the anthem at my roller derby league's upcoming bout, Saturday the 13th. I expect to break the law most thoroughly (or would, I suppose, were I in Massachusetts and not in Colorado) by stopping after the first verse. Like you do. On the other hand, I have no plans to embellish it. At least, not on purpose.

I keep trying to memorize Anachreon In Heaven, but I can't seem to get the darn thing to scan. Maybe one of y'all can teach me how to sing it next time we're at the same World Con.

#10 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:45 PM:

Nicole, #9: If you're coming to San Antonio, bring the lyrics and I'll go over it with you. There are a couple of tricky spots.

#11 ::: Richard Hershberger ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 08:54 PM:

For a fun parlor game, consider the verb "watched" in the fourth line of the first stanza. What, if anything, is the object of this verb?

Nearly everyone reading this comment will snort in derision that this is trivially obvious. When y'all compare notes, however, you will find three or so different answers.

Feel free to disagree violently with one another. Then go to http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2881

#12 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 09:10 PM:

Before relying on this too much, I'd also want to get a legal opinion on whether "as a whole and separate composition" means the same in legalese as it's being interpreted here to mean one must do the entire piece, or whether it means as a whole-unto-itself composition -- i.e., not as a medley with other things.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 09:11 PM:

6
I thank you for that. (It's fun telling people that our national anthem goes better with beer.)

#14 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 09:25 PM:

PJ Evans @12 (It's fun telling people that our national anthem goes better with beer.) Actually, our national anthem goes better to the tune of The Ashgrove. (Try it. It works. And it has a nice soaring bit with the flag still being there....)

#15 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 10:05 PM:

Brooks Moses (11): I had wondered the same thing.

#16 ::: Ed G. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 11:01 PM:

Diatryma @ 5: And here I thought that every American knew the last words of the Anthem are, "Play ball!"

#18 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 11:51 PM:

Richard Hershberger @11:
For a fun parlor game, consider the verb "watched" in the fourth line of the first stanza. What, if anything, is the object of this verb?
Nearly everyone reading this comment will snort in derision that this is trivially obvious. When y'all compare notes, however, you will find three or so different answers.

My trivially obvious answer is "broad stripes and bright stars".

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 11:55 PM:

18
It does take some parsing, if you're not used to poetic rearranging of speech. (Probably goes better with Latin. And beer.)

#20 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:18 AM:

Nope. It's the ramparts.

True story: Stravinsky arranged the Star Spangled Banner. After the first performance of his arrangement, he was arrested.

I know. Arrested? For an arrangement? Well, remember, people literally* went crazy when they heard his Le Sacre du Printemps. I've sung the arrangement in question; it's gorgeous by today's standards, but if you can't tolerate dissonance...you should stop listening to music, but never mind.

Also, he was not only a furriner, he was a Russian, and thus obviously planning to undermine our national character by sapping our precious bodily fluids corrupting our sacred National Anthem!!!

I've been admonished for saying "people are stupid," but certainly a lot of people have been really stupid a lot of times, and this was emphatically one of them.

*Yeah, I really mean literally. There's a RadioLab about it.

#21 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:27 AM:

jnh #8: My parents were at that rally. I remember it distinctly because it was the only time I ever heard them tell the babysitter what to do if they were arrested.

#22 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:44 AM:

#20 I know. Arrested? For an arrangement? Well, remember, people literally* went crazy when they heard his Le Sacre du Printemps. I've sung the arrangement in question; it's gorgeous by today's standards, but if you can't tolerate dissonance...you should stop listening to music, but never mind.

It was in Boston. 15 January 1944.

And it was under the cited law (though he wasn't arrested -- he was let off with a warning -- the police confiscated the score).

#24 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:59 AM:

Anacreon being the source for the tune, how do you distinguish a legal medley of drinking songs from an illegal use of the National Anthem?

#25 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 01:07 AM:

Hmm. The arrangement I sang was an a capella choral setting.

#27 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 01:14 AM:

Jim @23

There doesn't seem to be anything strange about Stravinsky's arrangement, not to my ears. Did they get him because it was part of a larger work, rather than standing alone?

I am now wondering if P.D.Q. Bach did a Boston version of his 1812 Overture. Is it as yet undiscovered? There are brave Americans singing a patriotic song in response to the arrival of a group of drunken British soldiers, also singing, to despoil the town.

I gather that it is musically confusing, but the Boston version is much shorter.

#28 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 02:01 AM:

Xopher @20: Agree that it's the ramparts, because that's the only reading where all the bits actually make grammatical sense. (And I note that I should pass this along to my friend who likes diagramming sentences!)

#29 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 03:09 AM:

I recently read a story by Arthur C Clarke about a star-mangled spanner.

#30 ::: k8 ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 03:28 AM:

(Massachusetts residents might not want to read this comment, just to be safe. You definitely shouldn't read it out loud, and for the love of Bob, don't sing it!)


Dave Bell @ 27: There are differences, although I'm not musically trained enough to really explain them. The most obvious is probably the rhythm change on 'what so proudly we hailed' line; instead of what-so-proooooudly we hailed, it's more of a what-so proud. ly. we hailed. (The same thing happens on 'o'er the ramparts we watched.') He leaves the melodic line intact, but the harmonies get... a bit weird, and all the more so for being fairly close to the original.

I was in marching/pep/concert band throughout high school and college, and thus played the National Anthem over and over and over again for sporting events and ceremonies and the like, so the differences stick out pretty obviously to me. But if I hadn't, I imagine I'd listen to that and go "...wait, what's different?"


(And no, I am not currently in Massachusetts, although I am temporarily returned to Indiana, where we've been known to make up our own hairbrained laws from time to time--see our most recent 'LET'S ARM THE SCHOOLS!' ridiculousness.)

#31 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 03:46 AM:

Serge @29: And Blish's _Cities in Flight_, collectively, is clearly star-Spenglered banter.

--Dave, though it's four for Four, it's triple treble trouble

#32 ::: Eunoia ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 03:52 AM:

Wow, that's anacreontic!

#33 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 05:26 AM:

The following pages of fanfic are probably also not legal in Massachusetts, in that case (mainly because one of the characters has authentication codes chosen from the lyric in question):

"Badgerverse" part 6, Chapter 4.

If you don't live in Massachusetts, I can thoroughly recommend the whole series. If you do, skip chapter 4 of part 6. *grin*

#34 ::: MNiM ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 06:42 AM:

I wish I could decide what my favourite comment in this thread is. It's comedy gold.

But I think Lawrence @#21 is winning: My parents were at that rally. I remember it distinctly because it was the only time I ever heard them tell the babysitter what to do if they were arrested.

I'm going to be giggling all day.

#35 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:40 AM:

Roseanne Barr is, clearly, not allowed to sing in the Bay State.

#36 ::: Richard Hershberger ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:40 AM:

Chris: "My trivially obvious answer is "broad stripes and bright stars"."

Xopher: "Nope. It's the ramparts."

Brooks: "Agree that it's the ramparts, because that's the only reading where all the bits actually make grammatical sense."

And so it begins... We haven't yet covered all the candidates. Note also the possibilities that "watch" is being used intransitively, or that the sentence is ungrammatical word salad.

#37 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:04 AM:

It's worth noting that the phrase "Star-Spangled Banner" occurs as a part of the song, at this line:

"Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave"

Accordingly, anyone using the phrase, "Star-Spangled Banner," but using only that part of the song, is thereby rendering a part of the song, not as a whole.

Accordingly, the law which prohibits rendering "the Star-Spangled Banner" other than as a whole, is itself guilty of rendering the "Star-Spangled Banner," other than as a whole.

#38 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:11 AM:

Richard Hershberger @36: It's not my natural reading (which would be "ramparts") but I guess if you tilt your head to one side it could be the perilous fight which is being watched?

#39 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:35 AM:

A couple years ago my dad and I went to a baseball game, and the Anthem singer absolutely melted down during the ramparts line.* She had a quite nice voice, and was doing a solid, workmanlike performance up till that point, but all of a sudden the poor woman just lost the thread of the song and couldn't get it back. I don't know what happened to distract her, but the second half of the stanza was wrong in about every possible way. It must have been awful--if it had been me I'd have been very lucky to get off the field before crying so hard people in the nosebleeds could see it.

*: I agree that the ramparts are what's being watched, by the way.

#40 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:47 AM:

I thought the ramparts were being watched o'er.

#41 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:50 AM:

Reflecting more on self-banning legislation, now I want to set the whole piece of legislation to the melody:

Whosoever shall play, or render or sing,
our naaational anthem, "the Star-Spangled Banner,"
other than as a whole, a-and separate piece,
in a caaaafe or hall, or facility public....

#42 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:56 AM:

David DeLaney @ 31... triple treble trouble

A couple of weeks ago, David Gerrold posted about the chord instruments out there, and the difficulty of choosing one over the other, and called it the Trouble with Trebles.

#43 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 09:20 AM:

Richard Hershberger @11:

The object is not specifically listed, except as the answer to the question posed by the phrase:
"Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts were so gallantly streaming?"

My answer: "Star Spangled Banner"


p.s. This post has been optically prepared to be invisible to any person residing within the confines of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

#44 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 10:26 AM:

Definitely the ramparts. No question.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:00 AM:

They were watching over the ramparts.
Disassembling and reassembling into grammatical form:
we watched
o'er the ramparts
[implied object goes here]
whose broad stripes and bright stars
were so gallantly streaming
thru the perilous fight

#46 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:14 AM:

I'm going for the 'perilous fight' as the object of 'watched.' Those four lines remind me of a very casual conversation --

"Oh, you know that dress we saw yesterday? (Lines 1+2)

That striped one, that looked like the Project Runway (Line 3, sort of)

winner we watched at Mom's, and we all said we hated?" (Line 4)

In this example, it was Project Runway that was watched, not the dress, and the show was watched at Mom's -- and I'd argue that in the SSB, it was the fight that was watched from the ramparts. Where the flag was.

#47 ::: zanzjan ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:24 AM:

Oh noes! I just sang along as I was reading, and I am IN Massachusetts. Jim, you've doomed me!

I can only hope, given my melodic talents, that no one realized I was singing and just assumed I got my tongue stuck in a power stapler instead.

#48 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:50 AM:

re 45: It's "fight", the fight we watched o'er the ramparts.

#49 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:02 PM:

This is just to say

I have watched
the flag
that was o'er
the ramparts

and which
you were probably
seeing
through peril

Forgive me
it was the rockets
so red
and glaring.

#50 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:13 PM:

[hats off, gentlemen]

This is only to say, I have eaten the plums,
from within the ice-box, which you prob'ly were saving.
So delicious were they! Please forgive me, my chums,
So sweet, and so cold, opportune to my craving.

#51 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:19 PM:

...And the light-bulb in there, in your own Frigidaire,
Gave proof in the dawn that the plums were not there!
O say, can the fruit bowl in icebox not save
Your breakfast-bound plums from the teeth of a knave?

#52 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Has anyone else seen the documentary "Screaming Men," about Mieskuoro Huutajat, the Finnish Screaming Male Choir? They don't sing. They scream. Well, shout. Same thing. What they are especially known for shouting is the national anthem of wherever they are performing. Apparently a LOT of places have laws about their national anthem and the performing thereof which are very similar to the Massachusetts law.

I don't want to spoil the movie, but there's a fascinating bit in it about their performance in (I think) Iceland, which has a similar law.

The documentary is strongly recommended. Juan and I loved it.

#53 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:22 PM:

Nice, Jim! Do we have a Fluorospherean Songbook yet?

#54 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:38 PM:

As far as I know, my dear departed dad was never in Massachusets. That's good, since he could have been arrested for "Then conquer we must, we will do it er bust".

On a good day I can hit all the notes.

#55 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 01:05 PM:

I’d never noticed before, but the first half of the second verse seems somewhat Lovecraftian.

#56 ::: Dan Boone ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 01:26 PM:

I had not literally hooted and howled with laughter whilst reading blog comments in quite some time, ere I encountered #50 & #51.

Perhaps it helps that within my mind, I was hearing those verses sung in the mellow tones (baritones? I iz muzikal idjit) the Berkeley pub-singers who perform as Oak, Ash, & Thorn use in their oh-so-serious rendition of To Anacreon.

#57 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Imagine if Mr. Key had been writing his filk fifty years later: It might well have been to the tune of John Brown's Body. Fifty years beyond that, the Modern Major-General. I suppose we should be glad he picked Anacreon in Heaven.

#58 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 02:17 PM:

elise @ 52: I haven't seen the documentary, but I have heard their awesome deconstruction of the Star-Spangled Banner.

I like how it ends with "that the flag was still there". The gist of the song in just six words.

#59 ::: Jenna K. Moran ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 02:28 PM:

Can you sing a bit of the Star-Spangled Banner as dance music in order to reduce your liability if you were otherwise going to be punished for something with a fine of more than one hundred dollars?

#60 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 04:07 PM:

Xopher, #20 & Jim, #23: That is a nice arrangement! Very rich and majestic, with one or two unexpected chords and some smoothing-out of the meter. It doesn't grab me in the same way as Vaughn Williams' take on the Doxology, but there's certainly nothing wrong with it.

Serge, #29: That's Niven, not Clarke.

oldster, #41 & #50: You win the Internets for today.

#61 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 04:36 PM:

Lee @60,

I'm going to side with Serge, and say Clarke. It's a long time since I read the story, true, but still pretty confident.

It takes someone with Clarke's sort of cultural heritage to come up with the name given to the British ship in the story.

J Homes.

#62 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 04:49 PM:

It's Clarke. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_Tide

Larry Niven wrote Neutron Star.

#63 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 04:51 PM:

Never mind the object, what about the meaning? In "O’er the ramparts we watched", I had always assumed that the "we" of the song had been watching the ramparts in the sense of looking at them from a distance. Now, actually thinking about the words for the first time*, I find it makes more sense for "watched" to mean "stood watch on", even though that's a usage I've not seen elsewhere. The Shorter OED gives:

8: Guard against attack; provide with guards or watchmen; serve as a guard to.

This is marked as obsolete since the early 19th century, which would be about right. Does this sound plausible?

* As a UKian, I didn't have them drummed into me at an early age.

#64 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 05:43 PM:

63
It helps to know that Key was, at the time, on a British ship, watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry. So: looking at the ramparts and the flag over them. (Hence, also the rockets' red glare and the bombs bursting in air, illuminating said flag.)

#65 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 05:46 PM:

HelenS, #62: Ah, thank you. I stand corrected, and that probably was indeed the source of my confusion.

#66 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 06:32 PM:

Lee @60--

Much obliged for the compliments. What I liked best about #50 was that it prompted Jim's #51, which capped it and outdid it.

Sometimes you take more pleasure from an assist that leads to someone else's goal, than from a goal you make yourself.

#67 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:50 PM:

John Williams and Keith Lockhart are criminal masterminds, because every July 4th Pops Concert has a singalong with just the first verse.

#68 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:01 PM:

k8 @30: If you pay attention to the bass under the second line, it's playing the first line of the melody. I expect that's why the rhythm has been changed, to make the first two lines match. There are similar things happening later, but I couldn't pick out exactly what.

@49, @50 and @51: brilliant!

#69 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 09:55 PM:

oldster @66: re the pleasure that is in the assist, yes! That's one of the deep joys in singing harmony.

#70 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 10:15 PM:

oldster and Jim, I also award you the internets.

#71 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 10:28 PM:

Jim Macdonald @23: WARNING: Do not click on this link in Massachusetts.

Reminds me of another great old song:

Oh, you can't chop your papa up in Massachusetts --
And then get dressed and go out for a walk,
No, you can't chop your papa up in Massachusetts,
Massachusetts is a far cry from New York!

And btw, those who complain about the "violence" in "The Star-Spangled Banner" should take a look at the lyrics of "La Marseillaise" some time -- especially the part about how the tyrant's soldiers are going to cut the throats of Frenchmen's wives and children.

#72 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:01 PM:

Is this where I explain that "Maryland, My Maryland" is my favoritist state song EVER because of lines like

Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore

and

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb
Huzza! She spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! She burns! She'll come! She'll come!

TMI, if you ask me.

#73 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:30 PM:

I just happened, today, to hear a totally awesome version of "The Star Spangled Banner" -- I guess? It's definitely the tune of Anacreon in Heaven -- by René Marie, whom I had not previously heard of (something which this version lead me to correct). Anyway, she does an arrangement where she sings the lyrics of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" -- often referred to as the Black National Anthem (which Marie mentions in her discussions of the song) to the music of The Star Spangled Anacreon in Heaven's Banner.

It's fabulous.

She'd been doing it for some time before she did so at a public ceremony in 2008, and caused an uproar.

A news story about this event, which contains links to both a youtube of the actual controversial event, and a streaming version of the album version of the arrangement, is here:

http://www.npr.org/2009/07/03/106257394/poetic-license-raises-a-star-spangled-debate

Whether the news story interests you or not, check out the music.

I just guess it's a good thing she didn't sing her arrangement in Massachusetts.

Incidentally, she also has done (separately, on a different album) a very powerful medley of "Dixie" and "Strange Fruit".

Oh, and does everyone know that Francis Scott Key was a slaveholder? Marie mentions it, and I'd never known that before (to my embarrassment).

#74 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:55 PM:

On further reflection and analysis, it may well be the ramparts that we watched, with the broad stripes and bright stars gallantly streaming o'er them.

#75 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 01:11 AM:

Personally, I think the US national anthem should have been either Yankee Doodle or America the Beautiful.

#76 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 01:28 AM:

The Onion has a few apocryphal and TOTALLY BADASS verses of the National Anthem...
"...and we beat them with chains/burned their bodies in flames..."

http://www.theonion.com/video/restoration-of-star-spangled-banner-uncovers-horri,17691/

#77 ::: k8 ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:04 AM:

Tatterbots @68: Oooh. This would be a fun one to play, or to at least see the fun things happening in the score.

#78 ::: laura ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:17 AM:

#11: I would like to propose that they are peering over the ramparts to watch "the broad stripes and bright stars" which are belonging to "what so proudly we hailed," which = the star spangled banner :)

#79 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 03:24 AM:

Jim@#75: I've always been partial to "My Country, 'tis of Thee". I like to think there's some alternate universe where the US and all the Commonwealth nations use the same tune for a national anthem, much simplifying the job of playing at Olympic medal ceremonies.

#80 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 06:43 AM:

Teresa @17:

Just got around to listening to the Anacreontic original.

Interesting that it differs (to my inexpert ear) at one point from the melody as now generally received.
The third quarter-note of the third full measure--i.e. corresponding to "-ly" of "early", "-ril-" of "perilous"--was originally a half-step lower, and sounds like it is part of a major chord.
As sung in the anthem, it's a half-step higher, and sounds more minor, and accordingly more tense and unresolved. Perilous!

Might be an interesting lesson in how to turn a drinking song into a fighting song, at least for ears trained in Western harmonics.

#81 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 06:47 AM:

whoops!

I should have said the "-lous" of "perilous", not the "-ril-".

#82 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 08:53 AM:

Tehanu @ #71, I myself have long been grateful that when Key cribbed "their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution" from "La Marseillaise" he at least stopped short of "sang impur".

#83 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:28 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ 75: Personally, I think the US national anthem should have been either Yankee Doodle or America the Beautiful.

I'd vote for 'This Land is Your Land" with all the lyrics!

#84 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:29 AM:

re 80: What happened at that change is that the alteration "fixes" a harmonic "mistake" in the original tune. Someone figured out that the music wants to make a brief modulation between keys (I to vi to V, for the music theory nerds, at least in the most commonly heard arrangement); but to make the last key change, the chord before the last note needs to be its dominant, which is why that note needs to be sharped. Left natural, the chord it wants to arrive at is back to the tonic, which is not what the usual pattern would be: it's the middle of the musical sentence, so it needs to be some other chord which makes you want to head back to the tonic at the end of the sentence ("gleam-ing").

#85 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:41 AM:

C. Wingate @84--

Interesting--I am not music theory nerd, and so don't follow all of the intricacies, but I think I get the point.

I like your putting it in terms of a "musical sentence". I said the change made it more "tense and unresolved", but that could also be expressed by saying that in the old version, the sentence seemed to end there already, at the half-way point. (I.e., if we are used to taking the tonic as a signal of an end-point). By pushing the note a half-step up, it tells our ears "this phrase isn't done yet! Hang on for the second half!"

#86 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:58 AM:

I'll second "America the Beautiful" even though "Star Spangled Banner" falls inside my range. (At least it does if it's the Ohio State Marching Band arrangement.)

My favorite verse:

"Oh beautiful for patriots dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears --
America, America,
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in Law."

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Jim Macdonald #75: As long as it isn't "My Country 'Tis of Thee".

Though, to be fair, "The Yankee's Return to Camp" started out as an anti-American song before being picked up by the American rebels in the Revolutionary War. It contains lines like

And there was Cap'n Washington, with gentlefolk about him,
So 'tarnal rich, so 'tarnal proud, he will not ride without 'em.

#88 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 12:26 PM:

Cally Soukup #72: You like an anthem of Confederate revanchism that condemns Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant?

#89 ::: MNiM ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:18 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @#88 -- Er... That was not how I read that comment. That 'favorite' seemed to me to be ironic/dark humor.

(My sincere apologies if I'm White Knighting, but this has been a very fun thread for me, and not entirely for noble reasons. I've definitely used the phrase "my favorite" as shorthand for "because it's so unbelievably absurd", and it looks to me like that's what Cally Soukup @#72 was going for.)

#90 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:23 PM:

Fragano #87

What's the problem with "My Country 'Tis of Thee"?

#91 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:26 PM:

Fragano@88: I'm not a mind-reader, but I would suspect that the attraction of "Maryland, My Maryland" is the sheer over-the-top nature of the lyrics. Once you've spurned the Northern scum and had patriotic gore flowing in Baltimore's streets, condemning Lincoln as a tyrant is pretty much the inevitable next step.

At least it isn't "Your State's Name Here".

(I think it's an unwritten rule that state and national anthems should have either embarrassing lyrics or unsingable tunes. Some, like TSSB, manage to have both.)

#92 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:44 PM:

Fragano @88

What MNiM and Debra Doyle said. It's so over-the-top AWFUL that it's hilarious. On those occasions (rare, but they happen) when people are talking about the state they grew up in, live in, whatever, and the talk turns to state fossils (Illinois has the BEST, and this time I mean it unironically, state fossil!) and birds and flowers and such, I bring up the text of "Maryland, My Maryland" and watch peoples eyes get REALLY big when they read it. Sometimes they laugh so hard they have to sit down.

I certainly don't endorse any of the political sentiments expressed in "Maryland, My Maryland", especially the glee over Lincoln's assassination. After all, I come from the "Land of Lincoln". (Also the "Sucker State", but oh, well....)

#93 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:50 PM:

Debra @91

As for state songs being embarrassing or unsingable, I have to disagree. Illinois' state song (the only one I have memorized, well, the first verse anyway), is both singable and insipid. Unless it gets up to racier antics in the later verses, but as far as I remember, the later verses are just a bunch of "yay us" about being on the right side of the Civil War. (Conveniently glossing over how much of downstate Illinois was more Southern than not.)

#94 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:50 PM:

#83: I'd vote for 'This Land is Your Land" with all the lyrics!

Seconded.

#95 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 02:53 PM:

Debra Doyle @91

(Thought of an ohnosecond after posting the previous) And isn't "Home on the Range" somebody's state song? <googles> Ahh, yes, Kansas.

Still, as a general rule I suppose it's not bad. Especially if you add "insipid" to the list.

#96 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 03:05 PM:

Jim, #75: I would definitely support changing the national anthem to "America the Beautiful". It's much easier to sing, and doesn't celebrate a war.

janetl, #83: So would I, but I think there might be at least a chance of passing a change to "America the Beautiful". Which there would certainly not be for "This Land Is Your Land".

#97 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Fragano @87 -- in relation to Washington, I was amused on reading a Revolutionary War diary that used to be in our family the entry which said (quoting from memory) "Was invited to dine with his Excellency General Washington. Also went, and had a very grable meal and a plenty of vittals." (spelling of vittals and capitalization not remembered -- but the salutation is correct, and "a very grable" also. It took me weeks to realize that was "a very agreeable" with "very" becoming an infix.) That they referred to him as "his Excellency" is an interesting thing.

The same diary included (near that in time, which would have been early 1777) -- "Went on the Grand March today and saw a Lt. Col Malkum's division drummed out of the Army never to return for committing sodomme." Another word that took me a while to translate. Regularized spelling is such a wonderful invention!

#98 ::: Kullervo ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Many, many statutes (including very probably this one) have no case law interpreting them whatsoever.

In fact, my guess would be that the vast majority of statutes (total state and federal nationwide) have not ever been treated in case law.

However, if this law were to be treated by a court, there is a legal principle that would probably be applied (and to most other "zany old laws"): desuetude.

#99 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 05:30 PM:

Cally, the remarkable awfulness of the lyrics of "Maryland, My Maryland" are right up there, aren't they? Possibly in a category with the first half of the third verse of "Once To Every Man and Nation," whose lyrics oft (well, OK, several times) have Teresa and I sung of a tipsy evening:

By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever with the cross that turns not back

Burning martyrs, gore-flecked streets of Baltimore, that kind of thing.

Though that hymn verse does have an awesome second half:

New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.

My state didn't have their own special state song, so they adopted the one from the university the state grew up around. (The University of Minnesota was founded seven years before statehood. This has made for some interesting dances at the legislature, but that's a different set of appalling verses and insipid choruses.)

#100 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 06:14 PM:

elise, "Once to Every Man and Nation" was my father's favorite hymn, chiefly due to the emphatic (and theologically suspect) "once".

We managed not to sing it at his funeral.

(Incidentally, the Episcopal Hymnal 1940 has "By the light of burning martyrs / Jesus' bleeding feet I track.")

I will, however, put the tune (Ebenezer, aka Ton-y-Botel) up against any other hymn tune; and the last verse, purple though it be, makes me tear up:

Though the cause of evil prosper, / Yet 'tis truth alone is strong; / Though her portion be the scaffold, / And upon the throne be wrong, / Yet that scaffold sways the future, / And, behind the dim unknown, / Standeth God within the shadow / Keeping watch above his own.

#101 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 06:28 PM:

This coming Sunday I'll have to look up "Once to Every Man and Nation" in the hymnal of the church at which I ring handbells, to find out which of the apparently several different versions that are out there they have (if any). Did you know that in the original poem it was "By the light of burning heretics, Christ's bleeding feet we track"? I didn't. Frankly, I'm not expecting great things; this is the same church that got rid of "O sing all ye citizens of heaven above" in Oh Come All Ye Faithful, and turned it into something so insipid (and not-quite-scanning) I can't even remember the exact words.

#102 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 07:16 PM:

"Avenge the patriotic gore / that flecked the streets of Baltimore." I want to see John Waters stage that—if he hasn't already.

For those who might not know it, the Maryland state song is even more surreal because it is sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum ("O Christmas Tree").

#103 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 07:20 PM:

I am only familiar with Ton-y-Botel¹ with modernist Christian lyrics beginning "Lord of Light², whose name outshining...."

¹ Why would someone give this tune the alternate name of Ebenezer anyway? It sounds Welsh, and it is credited to someone named Williams.

² I am certain that no one else in the congregation thought of Aldones.

#104 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 08:11 PM:

"Burning heretics", yikes. Wikipedia gives this text for the poem "The Present Crisis", from which the hymn is excerpted piecemeal.

#105 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 09:06 PM:

Lily: Yikes, indeed. I'm not sure just why, but "burning heretics" sounds ever so much worse than "burning martyrs". Perhaps because of the implication that we're the ones committing the atrocities, and not the ones suffering them?

#106 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Cally: Exactly. Burning martyrs is bad enough, but at least "we" didn't burn them!

#107 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:26 PM:

Lila: Ah! "Jesus' bleeding feet" is in the version I know, but when I went to look it up online it had "Christ's" and I figured my memory was faulty. Glad to hear it wasn't.

And that last verse gets me that way too!

(You love Welsh hymn tunes too? Cool! Maybe we can try a little harmonizing sometime.)

#108 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:36 PM:

elise: That would be delightful!

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 12:15 AM:

elise, #99: Chalk up another one for metric similarity, in this case hymnal-meter. Being unfamiliar with the specific hymn you cite here, my brain has thrown up the tune to "Once In David's Royal City," to which it scans perfectly.

Allan, #103: *snerk* re your second footnote.

Cally, #105: Yes. Although I suppose the "burning heretics" could still be martyrs from their own POV, that word change turns it from a celebration of faith into a celebration of torture.

#110 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 10:37 AM:

re 99/100: When the 1982 hymnal revision was being discussed, "Once to Every Man and Nation" was invariably mentioned as the example of a text that wasn't going to to be making the cut due to its theological problems. Unfortunately the attempts to salvage the tune by writing a new hymn for it have been, how shall I say it, infelicitous.

#111 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 11:41 AM:

California's state song is an utterly insipid and forgettable piece of stupid titled "I Love You California."

I'd bet if you asked most people in the state to name the state song, two-thirds would say "Huh?" and the rest would assure you that it is "California Here I Come."

#112 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 02:58 PM:

I didn't even know that Quebec had a provincial song until today: "Ô Canada ! mon pays, mes amours". The lyrics are not warlike at all - nothing about blood, gore or tyrants.

French lyrics, if anyone likes.

#113 ::: Woe! Cheryl is gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 03:01 PM:

One begins to be vexed with spammers, that they need to make things more difficult for the rest of us.

[In this case an exclamation point with a leading space. The Mad-lib style spam frequently has punctuation and spacing issues. -- Doric I. Remis, Duty Gnome]

#114 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 03:49 PM:

Washington State's Official Folk Song is "Roll On, Columbia," which is great. The Official Song is "Washington, My Home." It is just as sappy as the title suggests. In 1984-1985 there was a push to get it changed to "Louie, Louie," unfortunately the author was still around to warble it at the House, where Rep. Bob Baisch D-Aberdeen said on the floor of the House that making it the state song would be "like making Marijuana our state plant." According to the Spokesman-Review, "the House on Friday adopted a resolution saying her song reflects the state's diversity, energy and history and should be retained."

I cannot track any further information on Rep. Biasch, and so do not know if he survived until 2012. If not, I like to think that Washington Initiative 502 is the reason why. He brings to mind Mark Twain's comment about a publisher who stole huge quantities from him and who died: Twain said “I feel only compassion for him and if I could send him a fan I would." This shows how much better a person Twain is than I am: Biasch would get no fan from me. "Washington My Home" is mucilage for the ears.

The alternate lyrics that NPR came up with for "Maryland, My Maryland" are pretty good. Not as good as the alternate Washington State lyrics that Richard Barry wrote for the "Louie, Louie" push in 1985, but pretty good nevertheless.

#115 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 03:54 PM:

In case you have problems finding the alternate Maryland lyrics, here's the last part of it:

"Our nights are dark, our days are fair,
We're right next door to Delaware.
Our song before was full of gore,
But then the Union won the war.

We're sorry if we made you mad.
It was the only song we had.
O Maryland! O Maryland!
O Maryland! O Maryland!"

--Larry Massett

#116 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 04:39 PM:

I once, in a fit of obsessive curiosity, played every national anthem I could find (helped out by the official USN anthem site and a fellow on YouTube who is equally obsessive about recording them. My basic theory about a national anthem is that above all it needs to have a very strong music hook so that everyone recognizes it by the first comma at worst, better still in the first two or three bars. It would also help if the general tenor of the tune had something to do with your cultural heritage, though there's no shame (see under "Estonia") in stealing someone else's close by. Based on this I make the following observations:

1. Spanish-speaking countries almost without exception have impressively dull tunes. Scandinavia didn't do much better.

2. Bangladesh and Nepal have the weirdest anthems.

3. South-central African countries generally have very singable anthems, and if they can't come up with one, there's always "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", the "God Save the Queen" of Africa.

4. If you are in a German-speaking country, the appropriate approach is to send off to Salzburg for the tune.

5. Japan and Israel are easy to pick out of a line up; South Korea has an excellent tune which only very vaguely suggests where it's from.

6. The Wilhelmus shows that the words aren't too terribly important ("The king of Spain
I have always honoured"?).

7. Poland has a national mazurka??

8. Malawi easily wins the musical excellence per median personal income prize.

9. Mongolia has an awesome official national anthem video (cute kids version).

#117 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 06:41 PM:

Michigan, My Michigan (to the tune of O, Tannenbaum) is not the official state song. A pity. There are three sets of lyrics, and the second set has my favorite line: Thy noble sons have bit the dust.

#118 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 09:37 PM:

California's state song is an utterly insipid and forgettable piece of stupid titled "I Love You California."

I'd bet if you asked most people in the state to name the state song, two-thirds would say "Huh?" and the rest would assure you that it is "California Here I Come."

Texas has the same problem. Everybody thinks that the state song is "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You", and it's not -- "The Eyes of Texas" is the alma mater of the University of Texas at Austin. (I have no brief for UT, mind you. I attended the University of Arkansas back when UT and the UofA were both football powerhouses in the Southwest Conference, the way that God intended. Sic transit gloria and all that.)

The state song is "Texas, Our Texas," and I don't think anybody in the state actually knows either the tune or the lyrics.

#119 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 09:54 PM:

118
Or they think it's 'The Yellow Rose of Texas'. (Which, if they did research on it, would surprise a lot of them.)

#120 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 09:54 PM:

I don't even know how I found it on Youtube, but it turns out that the national anthem of the Soviet Union is fitting music by which to edit a deeply mediocre undergraduate manuscript. You know it's bad when you need to grab a new pen two pages in...

#121 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 10:00 PM:

Colorado solved the forgotten state song problem by making "Rocky Mountain High" (No, I'm not kidding) the co-state song along with the much older and not terribly memorable "Where the Columbines Grow". I think Colorado is the only state, so far, to take a piece of music written by a late 20th Century pop star and make it official state song.

#122 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 10:05 PM:

This is one of the few occasions on which I can feel smug about living in Georgia.

#123 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 10:20 PM:

Debra, #118: If you'd asked me, I'd have guessed "The Yellow Rose of Texas". But then, I'm not a Texan, I just live here.

Mishalak, #121: Kansas and Alabama both adopted the logos of the respective groups on their license plates (at least for a while), but I don't think either of them went so far as to designate an Official State Band.

#124 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 11:48 PM:

Doyle, 118: Band members know the tune, at least. SO BORING OMG. I always get stuck after the second line ("so wonderful so great") because I keep going "really, Texas? REALLY?"

#125 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 11:56 PM:

Debra @118: Mumble years ago I could sing it. (7th grade Texas history). These days all I remember is two lines.

Texas, our Texas, all hail the mighty state
Texas, our Texas, [something something] great

I'd definitely recognize the tune though.

PJ @119: Snerk! They didn't teach us about that in 7th grade; they just said the general was napping.

#126 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 06:55 AM:

Cally Soukup @92: Illinois has the BEST, and this time I mean it unironically, state fossil!

Respectfully, I beg to differ; I mean, look at your Tully Monster and compare it to our Sea Scorpion.

I'll give you, though, that the Tully Monster looks like something that might crawl up your nose and probably guest-starred in some episode or other of The X-Files.

Still, Tully Monster? Isn't that the name of one of the muppets?

#127 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 09:35 AM:

Rob Rusick and Cally: In late grade school I made a stuffed Tully monster for my mother to bring to a Mazon Creek fundraiser. She and everyone else was utterly in awe; it had a poseable front-tentacle with actual tooth-shapes made out of stiff plastic and everything.

I wonder if she still has it ... I suppose I could make another. I just need a nylon stocking, some stuffing, a coathanger, and some time. :->

And for the record, it's named after Mr. Tully. Though the Monster part was probably influenced.

For fossils named after their discoverers, my recent favorite is Vectidragon daisymorrisae; she was 4 when she found it and now there's a children's book about it WHICH I MUST OWN.

#128 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 09:35 AM:

Probably for excessive enthusiasm or a bunged link.

#129 ::: Lowell Gilbert ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Yo; Macdonald, you carpetbagger: there *is* no Burger King in Woburn, MA.

Also, while no expert in legal terminology, I am suspicious of interpreting "whole and separate composition or number" to exclude performances of a single verse.

#130 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 03:52 PM:

NZ's national anthem is an indifferent late-Victorian hymn, which would have been unobjectionable back when most people in the country were Anglicans. It's been improved in modern practice by singing the just first verse, twice, once in a language that most people don't understand.

And has anyone mentioned "We can rule you wholesale", the Ankh-Morpork anthem, where the second verse, recognising that no-one ever knows the words, actually consists mostly of "hnur hnur hnur"?

#131 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 10:24 PM:

Not the state fossil, but my (then 7-year-old) son went as an opabinia for Halloween two years ago.

Five eyes, feeding snorkel, gill flaps ...the works. It's about 7 feet long.

Nobody recognized it on sight, of course. Though there were one or two who said "...awesome" when he identified it as an opabinia.

The most common guesses were "bug" and "elephant", which were both far enough off base to be kind of surreal.

#132 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 10:25 PM:

Rob Rusick: Your state fossil has it easy, what with all that armor plating. OUR state fossil has almost no hard parts at all! AND has been found only in Illinois! So neener neener! <makes Tully Monster hand gesture>

#133 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 11:06 PM:

Cally @ 132, <makes Tully Monster hand gesture>

<blink blink> Ok, when I see you tomorrow you're going to have to demonstrate that one to me....

(I have a blown glass Tully Monster. Neener neener...)

#134 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 11:07 PM:

Cally @ 132, <makes Tully Monster hand gesture>

<blink blink> Ok, when I see you tomorrow you're going to have to demonstrate that one to me....

(I have a blown glass Tully Monster. Neener neener...)

#135 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 11:07 PM:

Sorry for the double post; not sure how that happened.

#136 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 12:02 AM:

So, is TSSB considered unsingable because of the intervals/jumps in the melody, because of the accidentals discussed up-thread, because an octave and a half is unnaturally wide, or because it's easy start it too high and then get surprised?

(The answer can certainly be "All of the above.")

Saturday went well. I brought a pitch-pipe along and picked a key that kept it about a note and a half inside the extremes of my reliable range at both ends, and I managed to get past the scary silence at the beginning ("What if I don't manage to start singing? What if I just stand here, unable to make a sound?) by repeating mentally "800 of my closest friends. 800 of my closest friends. And they'll applaud no matter what because that's What's Done. And THEN they'll be 800 of my closest friends." Also, the announcer is very good at helping you figure out where to hold the mike. Important if you don't want to see people flinch when you get to the high note. Everyone cheered at the point where people cheer, the visiting team stomped their skates at the part where derby players stomp their skates, and I refrained from saying "Play ball!" when it was done.

Then it was over, and I got to skate around the venue wearing an "ASK ME ABOUT ROLLER DERBY" T-shirt, answering questions for those new to the sport. There were many questions to answer, and now I am hoarse from shouting to be heard. The home team won, the visiting team partied with us afterwards, it was a good night.

#137 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 12:05 AM:

thomas @ 130: And has anyone mentioned "We can rule you wholesale", the Ankh-Morpork anthem, where the second verse, recognising that no-one ever knows the words, actually consists mostly of "hnur hnur hnur"?

Pratchett got that one almost spot-on. All he was missing was the vindaloo.

#138 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 12:58 AM:

Nicole, #136: I would say mostly your third and fourth reasons. Plus, a lot of people have an octave and a half range -- but it's not all the same octave and a half, so it's extremely easy in a singing-along situation to pick a key that lots of people won't be able to follow.

(One of the ways Julia Ecklar used to discourage people from parodying her songs was to use her full range. She was operatically trained. I can sing "Shapes of Shadow"... barely, and only if I start on a note that's going to put the drop at the end of the second line right down into my basement.)

#139 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 04:27 AM:

Stephen @73: I went and looked, and this appears to be her Dixie/Strange Fruit medley, yes? Good, yes.

I must cast my vote with laura@78, and will repunctuate to clarify:

Whose broad stripes and bright stars
(through the perilous fight)
- o'er the ramparts - we watched...
Were so gallantly streaming!

The 'watched' seems to actually be in a subordinate clause, if I have that term right, governing when and where they were watched, but the main action of the sentence is that they were gallantly streaming. And it ties back into the previous sentence's "What".

Lori@86 - Mine is a different one:

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
across the wilderness!
America, America,
God mend thine ev'ry flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
thy liberty in law!

(The alabaster-cities verse actually goes back to the original ending, crown thy good with brotherhood. It also seems to be The Other Verse That Gets Included in versions that don't have all the verses.)

Tracie@117: The Case Song Book (from before it was Case Western Reserve University; I was librarian for the Case Men's Glee Club for several years, and they had (still have, I hope) files dating back decades) has a song set to O Tannenbaum whose chorus goes

S-C-I, E-N-C-E
Ever let our motto be
O Science, thou art dear to me
He chooses well who follows thee!

I tend to, rather than finding other tunes a set of words can be sung to, find other songs that can be sung -against- a given tune, sometimes completely by accident. I don't have combos memorized really, but one example is Imagine against Watching the Wheels Go Round. Unplanned harmonies.

And somewhere (well, I -know- where, it's from the 1993 Association of International [Barbershop] Champions' Show) ... okay, it IS on youtube, but from 2006 ... is a mashup of the American and Canadian national anthems that y'all might enjoy! (Actual mashup starts about 2:47 in.) One of those quartets was A*cou*stix, I don't recall the other now.

--Dave

#140 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 07:12 AM:

Madame Butterfly has a number of little excerpts from the Star Spangled Banner, used to indicate the American naval officer character. Don't remember any stories about tenors playing Pinkerton being arrested . . .

#141 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 12:50 PM:

Nicole @136: I agree with Lee on number 3 and 4.

Also every singer has what's known as a "break" which is where they shift from "chest voice" to "head voice." This often gives untrained singers trouble, and can produce some odd sounding transitions. TSSP tends to make this glaringly apparent.

My non-warmed-up range is two octaves (which is why TSSP is easy -- for depending on the key, I can sing with/over/under the accompaniment), and I can reach three octaves when I've been doing regular voice training.

If you want to hear a voice that will blow your mind -- try to find any recording of Yma Sumac. That lady had a FIVE octave range...sigh.

#142 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 12:54 PM:

The Tully Monster is a suggested contemporary lake monster, at least according to book The Great Orm of Loch Ness.

#143 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 01:03 PM:

Also every singer has what's known as a "break" which is where they shift from "chest voice" to "head voice." This often gives untrained singers trouble, and can produce some odd sounding transitions. TSSP tends to make this glaringly apparent.

I am fortunate in that my range is broken up such that I can sing the whole melody in head voice.

#144 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 01:35 PM:

"The Red Flag": nice tune; shame about the words.*

*unattributed quote from TV Tropes.

#145 ::: JanetM ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 05:17 PM:

It would appear that Tennessee has not one, not two, but nine state songs:

My Homeland, Tennessee (1925)
When It's Iris Time in Tennessee (1935)
My Tennessee (1955 as "the official public school song")
Tennessee Waltz (1965)
Rocky Top (1982)
Tennessee (1992)
The Pride of Tennessee (1996)
A Tennessee Bicentennial Rap: 1796-1996 (1996)
Tennessee (2012)

I have not the courage to listen to that last one.

#146 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 06:37 PM:

Also every singer has what's known as a "break" which is where they shift from "chest voice" to "head voice." This often gives untrained singers trouble, and can produce some odd sounding transitions. TSSP tends to make this glaringly apparent.

Oh, that makes perfect sense. It probably helps that I've had practice bringing the "head voice" lower into my range (Sweet Adelines baritone; they don't want us singing louder than the leads, heaven knows why; don't they realize the baritone part is the real melody?) so I can exercise a bit of choice over where to flip over from chest to head, and make the transition smoother. The jumps in the melody of TSSB probably also help to make the gear shift less jolting if the singer can make the jump smoothly without glissing through the intervening notes.

Oddly, shifting gears gives me more trouble during certain karaoke selections than it does for stuff like this.

#147 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 09:13 PM:

Elliott Mason @127: In late grade school I made a stuffed Tully monster [..].

So you made a Tully monster muppet. Cool!

As an aside, curious if my enthusiastic accolade will skirt the curse which falls upon similar thank you's.

#148 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 09:14 PM:

Apparently so.

#149 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 09:16 PM:

re 145: It's "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" to a C&W romantic ballad tune and without the deeply non-PC dialect.

And BYW:

We're sticking with this awful song,
to annoy Vir-gin-i-a.
The politics, they are quite wrong,
to annoy Vir-gin-i-a.
Yes, we've rejected, all along,
The yowling of that rebel throng,
But now these verses we prolong,
to annoy Vir-gin-i-a.

(The Old Dominion has been without a state song since 1998, when they finally admitted they couldn't keep singing a minstrel song that uses "darkey" in the first verse and "Massa" in the seocnd.)

#150 ::: jafd ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 07:42 AM:

I'm not sure if "The Pennsylvania Polka" was ever officially adopted as the state song, but everyone treats it as such.

BTW, has anyone noticed that you can sing the lyrics of "Deutschland Uber Alles" to the theme music from "All Things Considered"?

#151 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 08:04 PM:

This thread has inspired me to commit to memory the second verse of the song -- every American knows the first, of course, and I got the third from the Isaac Asimov story, and the fourth wasn't that hard, but for some reason the second resisted my attempts to get it by heart until now.

#152 ::: CathiBea ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 11:33 PM:

All this talk of songs reminds me of the only state sponsored rock festival. Vortex I. Although it was only created because the FBI said that the number of protesters to President Nixon's speech at the American Legion conference in Portland would be double the number of members in that organization. www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/vortex_i/

#153 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 01:50 PM:

Brooks Moses @28: I should pass this along to my friend who likes diagramming sentences!

Cue Nate Bucklin.

#154 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 07:19 PM:

Mishalak @121: "Rocky Mountain High"

The whole Colorado state-wide fan-squee over John Denver kind of puzzles me. Sure, RMH is a good song, and memorable, but Denver's period of notoriety was actually pretty short. Nevertheless, they have JD revivals at Red Rocks on a fairly frequent basis, and various other OMG,JD! events. One would think he was one of the Beatles.

One could chalk it up to "He's one of us!" Except even that doesn't hold a lot of water, given that he's originally from (if memory serves) Edina, MN.

#155 ::: Jacque, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 07:20 PM:

...but I have some pretty good corn chips to share.

#156 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 10:20 PM:

This morning I walked past the State House on the way to work, and there was a crew in front of the State House where you sometimes see demonstrators. They were singing The Star Spangled Banner (all four verses) while displaying sign boards with pictures of President Obama with a Hitler moustache drawn on. So I am saying, WTF.

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