With Fourth of July approaching, we thought we’d feature “The Star Spangled Banner” ukulele tutorial. You’ll have a couple of weeks to play along and practice the song. And you’ll also see Jenny teach more about this on her Facebook live lesson later this week.
Jenny chose to sing and play the song in the key of F which is a fairly comfortable key for a woman to sing it. “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the national anthem of the USA, has a very large range of an octave and a fifth. And so you have to pick a key that works for your voice.
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THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER UKULELE TUTORIAL – CHORDS
The chords that we’ll need for “The Star Spangled Banner” ukulele tutorial are: F, C, Dm, G7, C7, Bb and Gm.
The song is often sung a cappella, that is singing without instruments. So Jenny followed a simple pattern of three all-down strums per measure.
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER – SONG HISTORY
Most people know that an American lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” However, less people know the circumstances by which Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Even more surprisingly, he witnessed the battle aboard a British ship.
The US government recruited Key to help in a mission involving an exchange of prisoners. Key and an agent named John Stuart Skinner set sail on September 3, 1814. A few days later, they boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant. After negotiations, Key and Skinner successfully arranged for the release of American prisoners including a well-known doctor named William Beans.
Because Key and Skinner heard some information about the Battle of Baltimore, the British kept them captive aboard one of their ships. The British later allowed the Americans to return to their ship but continued to guard them until after the battle. On September 13, 1814, Key watched with trepidation as the bombardment of Fort McHenry went on for hours until night time.
By morning, he was certain the British won the battle. But he was ecstatic to see the American star-spangled flag waving over the fort. He wrote a poem inspired by these events and entitled it “Defence of Fort M’Henry”. The poem was later renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and became the national anthem of the United States in 1931.