Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Follow-up on today's Heads or Tails

Yes, Katherine correctly wins the bonus round. "The Star Spangled Banner" is set to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven." This is a music video (you know, I'm old enough to remember when MTV had music videos) of the first stanza.

Here's the words -- if you want to try and sing along:
To Anacreon in heaven where he sat in full glee,
A few sons of harmony sent a petition,
That he their inspirer and patron would be,
When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian:
Voice, fiddle aud flute, no longer be mute,
I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot!
And besides I'll instruct you like me to entwine
The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus's vine.
There's a few more stanzas, if you can stand it, at this site. John Stafford Smith is usually credited with the melody; the words were penned by Ralph Tomlinson. Both were members of the Anacreontic Club of London. The song dates to about 1780.

Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry on this song disputes the notion that this is a drinking song: "In all probability some drinking did occur at Society meetings, but the primary purpose of the [Anacreonitic] Society (and its song) was to promote an interest in music. This absence of an official connection to drinking did not keep the song from being associated with alcohol, as it was commonly used as a sobriety test: If you could sing a stanza of the notoriously difficult melody and stay on key, you were sober enough for another round."

Who's buying this one?


katherine. said...

they dispute it was a drinking song...that is was just to promote music???

As if musicians and alcohol are never found together....smile.

I was gonna show this music video to my 17 year old...but that one scene....

Shelby said...

oh my..

Shelby said...

Musicians and alcohol found together?! I'm shocked. :)

The Curmudgeon said...

Katherine -- that one scene made me hesitate to post it.

But then I thought about it -- it is after a music video and must be true to the conventions of the genre, right?