Sheet music

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA : United States of America National Anthem
American National Anthem
National Anthem of the United States of America
The Star-Spangled Banner

  • Author: Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)
  • Composer: Composer unknown
  • Adopted: In use since 1916, adopted 1931
  • National Day: July 04 (1776) - Independence Day
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  • Further details: The National Anthem of the United States of America is 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. The words were written on September 14 1814, on board a British frigate in Baltimore harbour, where the author, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (1779-1843) had been detained after successfully petitioning for the release of a civilian friend. He was inspired to write the poem when he saw in the morning, the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry, which had withstood the British bombardment during the previous night.

    Key fashioned his verses to fit the melody of 'To Anacreon in Heaven' by the English composer John Stafford Smith (c1750-1836), which was then very popular in America with its original words by Ralph Tomlinson.

    John Stafford Smith published in 1799, in his fifth collection of glees, an arrangement of 'To Anacreon in Heaven'. This has led to his being mistakenly regarded as the composer of the tune, whose actual origin is unknown.

    The words and music were officially designated as the National Anthem by Act of Congress, approved by the President, Herbert Hoover on March 3 1931.