History Detectives Jan 8: "The Star Spangled Banner" Manuscript Mystery

It's America's national anthem, and a historic mystery of the highest order:

Who wrote this manuscript of America's national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner? Not the poem that became the song; that was Francis Scott Key, of course. Who wrote this music manuscript of it; the musical notation and laid out the score?

History Detectives, PBS's hit show that investigates our past, wants to find out. So history detective Elyse Luray and their document expert, John Reznikoff, head to Washington, DC to uncover the author of what many consider America's most important music autograph.

Don't miss the excitement on Tuesday, January 8. 

It airs at 8 p.m. on most PBS stations. Check your local listings to confirm the time.

Views: 171

Comment by Bill Panagopulos on January 9, 2013 at 2:50pm

It's ancient news, Steve. From Wikipedia:

"The Anacreontic Song", also known by its incipit "To Anacreon in Heaven", was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. Attributed to the composer John Stafford Smith, the tune was later used by several writers as a setting for their patriotic lyrics. These included two songs by Francis Scott Key, most famously his poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry". The latter combination became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and was adopted as the national anthem of the United States of America, in 1931.

Additionally, it was widely considered a drinking song, and was touted by such when Robert Ripley did a strip on it decades ago. 


Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Community Manager on January 9, 2013 at 3:00pm
They wanted to find out who wrote that particular manuscript, Bill.


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