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Topic: Star Spangled Banner - Key for kids?

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  1. #1

    Star Spangled Banner - Key for kids?

    I'm putting together an arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner for the kids to sing at their swim meets. I'm not certain what the "safest" key is for kids to sing it in. As it may be a different set of kids (6-18) each week, I'd like to find a happy medium.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks -
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

  2. #2

    Re: Star Spangled Banner - Key for kids?

    That's a tough one, I think. The range on that piece is a 12th. The usual writing range of each of the voices in an adult choir is about a 13th. When you consider that these ranges overlap quite a bit, it's easy to see that the melody cannot be safely sung by everyone, no matter what key you write it in. It helps if you take "and the rocket's red glare" et al down an octave when you need to, but it's still a very tough melody.

    I know less about children's ranges, but I don't think it's going to be any easier on them. I think I'd probably go with Bb, giving just a little trouble on the very few occurrences of the low Bb for the higher voices. Most of the children should be able to go up to the high F in their respective octaves without too much trouble. Some of the older boys with lower voices might have a slight strain at the top. If there's a lot of that, try C major.

    Of course this all assumes they are singing the melody. Break out some harmony, and everything changes. What will the final arrangement be?
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  3. #3

    Re: Star Spangled Banner - Key for kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw View Post
    Of course this all assumes they are singing the melody. Break out some harmony, and everything changes. What will the final arrangement be?
    Probably a group of girls (7-8 YO's) singing unison. Nothing to adventurous. I'll put some GPO and maybe some Omnisphere stuff behind it (I'm thinking some of the vocal planet stuff for oohs and ahhs behind it). Arrangement will not be too agressive, tending more toward jazz than simple classical, but that's TBD. The performance will be played over loudspeakers, and the girls will share one mic.

    I'll start in Bb, but keep C in mind just in case.
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

  4. #4

    Re: Star Spangled Banner - Key for kids?

    If it's just girls, you might want to go with C major. That Bb is rather low for a soprano.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

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