Monday, February 7, 2011

The Star Mangled Banner

I know I'm a curmudgeonly old fogey but I really don't care for people making our National Anthem "their own" as contestants on American Idol might do to show their musical versatility. I can't stand what my mother refers to as "searching for the note" that so many women singers do today where they run up and down the scale as if trying to get the right note in there somewhere. So when Christina Aguilera started right off the bat searching and searching and searching for notes, I was already turned off...but when I heard the "what so proudly we WATCHED," I was no longer proudly watching.

Yes, it's a challenging song to sing well. Yes, people sing it less and less these days. Yes, singing front and center at a televised Super Bowl adds a level of tension that would defeat lesser performers. But Christina Aguilera is a highly-paid, and highly-skilled professional. Maybe, just maybe if she had been searching less for the notes, she might have not misplaced the lyrics.


The Conservative Wahoo said...

Mudge, I share your disdain for the mangling of our National Anthem last night, and for the singing style that accompanied it.

When I provide you with my soon to be finished copy of "How to Listen to and Appreciate Opera" to accompany your epic drives up the Eastern Shore, you'll come to realize that this kind of showy virtuosity has a name--coloratura--and it has been both the focus of and the bane of opera critics for centuries.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Anonymous said...

While everyone is entitled to their own opinion on Aguilera’s version of the anthem, dictating how the anthem should be sung would diminish the spirit of the song. I find the real beauty of our national anthem (and this country) is the freedom to sing it as the song so moves you. As for the mangling of the words to the Star Spangled Banner – agreed it is the ultimate flub for a professional singer, but no different than a kicker missing an easy field goal or a professional football player scoring a “touchdown” in the wrong endzone. It happens.

Anonymous said...

A music history professor I had in college explained that the reason performers use things like cadenza, vibrato, and diminution is because they lack the ability to actually hold the note. Searching, or passing through the notes is simpler.

It drives me batty when I have to listen to some over the top, pop culture songstress add multiple bars of "colotura" to the national anthem.

It is not an R&B classic. This is not Motown, it is the national anthem. Sing the anthem as it was written and for god's sake remember the words. There are not that many of them, it should be easy.

Sally said...

It's appalling, but I enjoy watching the athletes fumble as they attempt to sing along--and they never can. Just once I'd like to see a full-throated National Anthem being sung by a jock. Closest I ever saw was Bobby Valentine belting out a lusty God Bless America at a game just post 9-11. It was lovely.

Uncle Willie said...

As a young lad we sung it at least once a week in grade and high school. Memorized all the words by the third grade. Now the ACLU don't want it sung by the youngin's.

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