Sheet music

SPAIN : Spain National Anthem
Spanish National Anthem
National Anthem of Spain
Marcha Real

  • Author: Eduardo Marquina (1879-1946), José María Pemán y Pemartín (1897-1981)
  • Composer: Composer unknown
  • Adopted: 1770, replaced 1931, restored 1939, Words (unofficial)
  • National Day: October 12 (1492)
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  • Further details: The National Anthem of Spain is 'Marcha Real' ('Royal March'). Its origin is disputed. There are those who claim that it was composed by a German and that King Frederick the Great handed it in 1770 as a gift for King Carlos III to Count Aranda who had come to Berlin to study the organization of the Prussian army. By royal decree of September 3 1770, it was officially recognised as a 'March of Honour'.

    According to another tradition the tune was originally French and was brought to Spain by King Philip V. It became popular under the name of 'Marcha Grenadere'. Then, under King Carlos III, the court oboist Espinosa reset it for military orchestras after the model of the type of march in vogue under King Frederick the Great. It is rather slow - about sixty paces a minute - and makes a solemn rather than a fiery impression.

    It is interesting to note that in 1870 King Amadeo I invited public competition for a Spanish National Anthem. The prize he offered was considerable, but none of the 447 contestants was crowned with success, and the old royal march remained in force. It is strange that it shows no trace of Spanish folklore, but in its simplicity and especially through its somewhat archaic concluding phrases it is the musical symbol of the grandeza of the Spanish people.

    In July 1942, General Franco issued a decree declaring it as the National Anthem.

    There are no official words, though various writers have written verses at different times, namely EDUARDO MARQUINA (1879-1946) during King Alfonso XIII's reign and JOSÉ MARÍA PEMÁN (1897-1981) during General Franco's dictatorship.