Music of the Day

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Stravinsky’s Harmonization of Star Spangled Banner

Legend has it that Stravinsky was arrested in 1943 for adding a seventh chord to the Star Spangled Banner. While not entirely true, Stravinsky did put his own harmonies under the national anthem for the Boston symphony concerts after becoming a US citizen in 1940. The audience was horrified by his harmonic liberties, and although Stravinsky only wanted to do his bit for his new nation, he reluctantly removed it from the program.

You can hear the 7th chord (shocking because it’s not the 7th of the dominant, but rather V7/IV which destabilizes what would otherwise be the tonic) at 1:30.

(via)