Patriotic Music • Patriot: “one who loves his country and zealously guards its welfare.” Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary • Patriot: “a person who loves his country and defends and promotes its interests.” Webster’s Dictionary • Patriot: “a soldier who fights for love of country” Webster’s Dictionary
Patriot: “an enthusiast for a cause other than national” Webster’s Dictionary • Patriot: “one who advocates or promotes the independence of his native soil or people from the country or union of countries of which it is a part (as a colony)” Webster’s Dictionary • Patriot: one who remains loyal to his country when it is occupied by an enemy” Webster’s Dictionary
Patrioteer: “one who makes an ostentatious show of patriotism from venal or degraded motives: an insincere, misguided, or spurious patriot: flag-waver” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary
Just as patriotism can have many meanings, patriotic music can have many purposes. • Musicians who perform patriotic music can have many motives. • All patriots are not the same, and all patriotic music is not the same. • Some patriotic music points to sublime philosophical ideals. • Other patriotic music is more mundane. • Some patriotic music is “worse.”
Sublime Patriotism • Some patriotic music seeks to promote ideas that are important to national identity. • Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was written in 1880 to celebrate Napoleon's defeat when French forces invaded Russia. • Such music reverberates with national sentiment without pandering to subnational interests.
Mundane Patriotic Music • Some patriotic music is composed and used for ceremonial purposes. National anthems are typical of this form. • Some national anthems have powerful historical connections, such as well French rebel troops sang the La Marseillaise on the way to attack (and kill) the Swiss guards surrounding the Tuileries Palace of King Louis XVI in 1792. • This was a major event in the French Revolution.
The French Revolution extended from 1789 to 1799, and involved highly complex interactions between various secular and religious elites as well as peasants and the bourgeoisie. • But the drive of the revolution was to restrict the power of the King and to enhance the concept of a republican form of government. • This resulted in the establishment of the First Republic of France.
La Marseillaise was written by a lower-ranking French officer and (only) moderate republican, Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle. • He never wrote any else that was significant. • It was popular among members of army units from Marseille, all of which were volunteers. • It had highly revolutionary lyrics, and it was used to huge motivational effect during the Revolution.
Due to its revolutionary potential, it was banned by Napoleon, Louis XVIII, and also Napoleon III. • The first and sixth verses are normally sung in public. • The lyrics are:
La Marseillaise Let us go, children of the fatherland, Our day of glory has arrived. Against us the bloody flag of tyranny is raised; the bloody flag is raised. Do you hear in the countryside The roar of those savage soldiers? They come right into our arms To cut the throats of our sons, our comrades. To arms, citizens! (continued…)
Form your battalions, Let us march, let us march! That their impure blood Should water our fields. Sacred love of the fatherland, Guide and support our vengeful arms, Liberty, beloved liberty, Fight with your defenders; fight with your defenders. Under our flags, so that victory Will rush to your manly strains; That your dying enemies Should see your triumph and glory! To arms, citizens! (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)
Great Britain has the oldest national anthem, “God Save the Queen.” • Most national anthems are not very good musically. But some are noteworthy. • Joseph Hayden wrote the Austrian national anthem, “God Save Emperor Francis,” which was later changed to “Be Blessed Forever.” • The same melody was used for Germany’s national anthem.
The Soviet Union used the communist hymn, “Internationale,” as its anthem until it was changed in 1944 to the “Hymn of the Soviet Union.” • Internationale was written by two French workers in the 1800s. • The “Hymn of the Soviet Union” is now the anthem for Russia.
Perhaps the greatest writer of American patriotic music is John Philip Sousa. • Sousa composed many marching tunes, some of which are used by the U.S. armed forces. • This type of music is not of the “sublime” type, but it does serve a useful purpose in ceremonial occasions.
Patriotic music can also have a regional or subnational orientation. • “The American Trilogy,” performed by Elvis Presley is an good example of this type of patriotic music. • Some patriotic music can have an extra connotation, like regional or theological. • For example, the Southern (pro-Dixie) components of “The American Trilogy” could be seen as offensive to some people.
Many nations have music that is considered patriotic because the lyrics defend or promote a particular national hero. • There were many songs written about Nelson Mandela of South Africa. • Some of these songs have a pan-Africa orientation, as if to include the entire continent within the context of a single concept of patriotism.