Publication of an early version in The Gentleman's Magazine, 15 October 1745. The title, on the Contents page, is given as "God save our lord the king: A new song set for two voices".
Royal anthem of
Norfolk Island (national)
|Also known as||"God Save the King"
(when the monarch is male)
God Save the Queen (instrumental)
"God Save the Queen", (alternatively "God Save the King"), is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms. It is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and its territories and dependencies, Norfolk Island, one of the two national anthems of the Cayman Islands and New Zealand (since 1977) and the royal anthem of Canada (since 1980), Australia (since 1984), Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Jamaica, and Tuvalu. In countries not previously part of the British Empire, the tune of "God Save the Queen" has also been used as the basis for different patriotic songs, though still generally connected with royal ceremony. The authorship of the song is unknown, and beyond its first verse, which is consistent, it has many historic and extant versions: Since its first publication, different verses have been added and taken away and, even today, different publications include various selections of verses in various orders. In general only one, or sometimes two verses are sung, but on rare occasions three.
In the UK, the sovereign and his or her consort are saluted with the entire anthem, while other members of the royal family who are entitled to royal salute (such as the Prince of Wales) receive just the first six bars. The first six bars also form all or part of the Vice Regal Salute in some Commonwealth realms outside the UK (e.g., in Canada, governors general and lieutenant governors are saluted with the first six bars of "God Save the Queen", followed by the first four and last four bars of "O Canada"), as well as the salute given to governors of British overseas territories. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns. In the UK, the last line of the third verse is also changed (see below).
In The Oxford Companion to Music, Percy Scholes devotes about four pages to this subject, pointing out the similarities to an early plainsong melody, although the rhythm is very distinctly that of a galliard, and he gives examples of several such dance tunes that bear a striking resemblance to "God Save the King/Queen". Scholes quotes a keyboard piece by Dr. John Bull (1619) which has some similarities to the modern tune, depending on the placing of accidentals which at that time were unwritten in certain cases and left to the discretion of the player (see musica ficta). He also points to several pieces by Henry Purcell, one of which includes the opening notes of the modern tune, set to the words "God Save The King". Nineteenth century scholars and commentators mention the widespread belief that an old Scots carol, "Remember O Thou Man" was the source of the tune.
The first definitive published version of the present tune appeared in 1744 in Thesaurus Musicus, as a setting of the familiar first verse, and the song was popularised in Scotland and England the following year, with the landing of Charles Edward Stuart. It was recorded as being sung in London theatres in 1745, with, for example, Thomas Arne writing a setting of the tune for the Drury Lane Theatre.
Scholes' analysis includes mention of "untenable" and "doubtful" claims, as well as "an American misattribution". Some of these are:
Scholes recommends the attribution "traditional" or "traditional; earliest known version by John Bull (1562–1628)". The English Hymnal (musical editor Ralph Vaughan Williams) gives no attribution, stating merely "17th or 18th cent."
"God Save the Queen" is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Like many aspects of British constitutional life, its official status derives from custom and use, not from Royal Proclamation or Act of Parliament. In general only one or two verses are sung, but on rare occasions three. The variation in the United Kingdom of the lyrics to "God Save the Queen" is the oldest amongst those currently used, and forms the basis on which all other versions used throughout the Commonwealth are formed; though, again, the words have varied throughout the years.
England has no official national anthem of its own; "God Save the Queen" is treated as the English national anthem when England is represented at sporting events (though there are some exceptions to this rule). There is a movement to establish an English national anthem, with Blake's "Jerusalem" and Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" among the top contenders. Scotland and Wales have their own anthems for political and national events and for use at international football, rugby union and other sports in which those nations compete independently. On all occasions Wales' national anthem is "Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (Land of my Fathers). Scotland has no single anthem; "Scotland the Brave" was traditionally used until the 1990s, when "Flower of Scotland" was then adopted. In Northern Ireland, "God Save the Queen" is still used as the official anthem.
Since 2003, God Save the Queen, considered an all inclusive Anthem for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as other countries within the Commonwealth, has been dropped from the Commonwealth Games. Northern Irish athletes receive their gold medals to the tune of the "Londonderry Air", popularly known as "Danny Boy", whilst English winners hear Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March Number 1, usually known as Land of Hope and Glory. In sports in which the UK competes as one nation, most notably as Great Britain at the Olympics "God Save the Queen" is used to represent anyone or any team that comes from the United Kingdom.
The phrase "God Save the King" is much older than the song, appearing, for instance, several times in the King James Bible. Scholes says that as early as 1545 "God Save the King" was a watchword of the Royal Navy, with the response being "Long to reign over us". He also notes that the prayer read in churches on anniversaries of the Gunpowder Plot includes words which might have formed part of the basis for the second verse "Scatter our enemies... assuage their malice and confound their devices".
In 1745, The Gentleman's Magazine published "God save our lord the king: A new song set for two voices", describing it "As sung at both Playhouses" (the Theatres Royal at Drury Lane and Covent Garden).
Traditionally, the first performance was thought to have been in 1745, when it was sung in support of King George II, after his defeat at the Battle of Prestonpans by the army of Charles Edward Stuart, son of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Jacobite claimant to the British throne.
It is sometimes claimed that, ironically, the song was originally sung in support of the Jacobite cause: the word "send" in the line "Send him victorious" could imply that the king was absent. Also there are examples of early eighteenth century Jacobean drinking glasses which are inscribed with a version of the words and were apparently intended for drinking the health of King James II and VII.
Scholes acknowledges these possibilities but argues that the same words were probably being used by both Jacobite and Hanoverian supporters and directed at their respective kings.
God Save the Queen (standard version)
There is no definitive version of the lyrics. However, the version consisting of the three verses reproduced in the blue box on the right hand side has the best claim to be regarded as the 'standard' UK version, appearing not only in the 1745 Gentleman's Magazine, but also in publications such as The Book of English Songs: From the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century (1851), National Hymns: How They are Written and how They are Not Written (1861), Household Book of Poetry (1882), and Hymns Ancient and Modern, revised version (1982). The same version with verse two omitted appears in publications including Scouting for boys (1908), and on the U.K. Government's "Monarchy Today" website. At the Queen's Golden Jubilee Party at the Palace concert, Prince Charles referred in his speech to the "politically incorrect second verse" of the National Anthem.
According to Alan Michie's "God Save the Queen," which was published in 1952 after the death of King George VI but prior to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first General Assembly of the United Nations was held in London in January, 1946, and the King, in honour of the occasion, "ordered the belligerent imperious second stanza of 'God Save the King' rewritten to bring it more into the spirit of the brotherhood of nations."
In the United Kingdom, the first verse is the only verse typically sung, even at official occasions, although the third verse is sung in addition on rare occasions, and usually at the Last Night of the Proms. At the Closing Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the fourth verse of the William Hixton alternative lyrics was sung instead of the third verse.
Around 1745, anti-Jacobite sentiment was captured in a verse appended to the song, with a prayer for the success of Field Marshal George Wade's army then assembling at Newcastle. These words attained some short-term use, although they did not appear in the published version in the October 1745 Gentleman's Magazine. The source of this verse was a later article on the song, published by the Gentleman's Magazine in 1837. Therein, it is presented as an "additional verse... though being of temporary application only... stored in the memory of an old friend... who was born in the very year 1745, and was thus the associate of those who heard it first sung", the lyrics given being:
The 1837 article and other sources make it clear that this verse was not used soon after 1745, and certainly before the song became accepted as the British national anthem in the 1780s and 1790s. It was included as an integral part of the song in the Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse of 1926, although erroneously referencing the "fourth verse" to the Gentleman's Magazine article of 1745.
On the opposing side, Jacobite beliefs were demonstrated in an alternative verse used during the same period:
Various other attempts were made during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to add verses to commemorate particular royal or national events. For example, according to Fitzroy Maclean, when Jacobite forces bypassed Wade's force and reached Derby, but then retreated and when their garrison at Carlisle Castle surrendered to a second government army led by King George's son, the Duke of Cumberland, another verse was added. Other short-lived verses were notably anti-French, such as the following, quoted in the book Handel by Edward J. Dent :
However, none of these survived into the twentieth century.
The standard version of the melody is still that of the original, and in the same key of G, though the start of the anthem is often signalled by an introductory side-drum roll of two bars length. The bass line of the standard version differs little from the second voice part shown in the original, and there is a standard version in four-part harmony for choirs. The first three lines (six bars of music) are soft, ending with a short crescendo into "Send her victorious", and then is another crescendo at "over us:" into the final words "God save the Queen".
In the early part of the twentieth century there existed a Military Band version, usually played in march time, in the higher key of B♭, because it was easier for brass instruments to play in tune in that key, though it had the disadvantage of being more difficult to sing: however now most Bands play it in the correct key of G.
There have been several attempts to improve the song by rewriting the words. In the nineteenth century there was some lively debate about the national anthem and, even then, verse two was considered to be slightly offensive. Notably, the question arose over the phrase "scatter her enemies." Some thought it placed better emphasis on the respective power of Parliament and the Crown to change "her" to "our"; others pointed out that the theology was somewhat dubious and substituted "thine" instead. Sydney G. R. Coles wrote a completely new version, as did Canon F. K. Harford. In 1836, William Edward Hickson wrote four alternative verses. The first, third, and fourth of these verses are appended to the National Anthem in the English Hymnal (which only includes verses one and three of the original lyrics).
William Hickson's alternative (1836) version includes the following verses, of which the first, third, and fourth have some currency as they are appended to the National Anthem in the English Hymnal. The fourth verse was sung after the traditional first verse during the raising of the Union Flag during the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
|William Hixton's text of God Save the Queen|
A less militaristic version of the song, titled "Official peace version, 1919", was first published in the hymn book Songs of Praise in 1925. This was "official" in the sense that it was approved by the British Privy Council in 1919. However, despite being reproduced in some other hymn books, it is largely unknown today.
|Official peace version of God Save the Queen|
The style most commonly heard in official performances was proposed as the "proper interpretation" by King George V, who considered himself something of an expert (in view of the number of times he had heard it). An Army Order was duly issued in 1933, which laid down regulations for tempo, dynamics and orchestration. This included instructions such as that the opening "six bars will be played quietly by the reed band with horns and basses in a single phrase. Cornets and side-drum are to be added at the little scale-passage leading into the second half of the tune, and the full brass enters for the last eight bars". The official tempo for the opening section is a metronome setting of 60, with the second part played in a broader manner, at a metronome setting of 52. In recent years the prescribed sombre-paced introduction is often played at a faster and livelier tempo.
Until the latter part of the 20th century, theatre and concert goers were expected to stand to attention while the anthem was played after the conclusion of a show. In cinemas this brought a tendency for audiences to rush out while the end credits played to avoid this formality.
The anthem was traditionally played at closedown on the BBC and with the introduction of commercial television to the UK this practice was adopted by some ITV companies (with the notable exception of Granada) BBC Two never played the anthem at closedown, and ITV dropped the practice in the late 1980s, but it continued on BBC One until 8 November 1997 (thereafter BBC1 began to simulcast with BBC News 24 after end of programmes). The tradition is carried on, however, by BBC Radio 4, which usually plays the anthem as a transition piece between the end of the Radio Four broadcasting and the move to BBC World Service. Radio 4 and Radio 2 also play the National Anthem at 0700 and 0800 on the actual and official birthdays of the Queen and the birthdays of senior members of the Royal Family.
The anthem usually prefaces The Queen's Christmas Message (although in 2007 it appeared at the end, taken from a recording of the 1957 television broadcast), and important royal announcements, such as of royal deaths, when it is played in a slower, sombre arrangement.
Frequently, when an anthem is needed for one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom – at an international sporting event, for instance – an alternative song is used:
"God Save the King/Queen" was exported around the world via the expansion of the British Empire, serving as each country's national anthem. Throughout the Empire's evolution into the Commonwealth of Nations, the song declined in use in most states which became independent. In some countries it remains as one of the official national anthems, such as in New Zealand, or as an official royal anthem, as is the case in Canada, Australia, Jamaica, Isle of Man, and Tuvalu, to be played during formal ceremonies involving national royalty or vice-royalty. The National Anthem of the United Kingdom is also used in all British Overseas Territories.
In Australia, the song has standing through a Royal Proclamation issued by Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen on 19 April 1984. It was declared the Royal Anthem and is to be played when the Monarch or a member of the Royal Family is present. The same Proclamation made "Advance Australia Fair" the National Anthem and the basis for the Vice-Regal Salute (the first four and last two bars of the Anthem).
In Canada "God Save the Queen" has not been adopted as the Royal Anthem by statute or proclamation, however it has come to be used as such through convention, and is sometimes sung together with "O Canada" at public events. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces regulates that "God Save the Queen" be played as a salute to the monarch and other members of the Canadian Royal Family, though it may also be used as a hymn, or prayer. The words are not to be sung when the song is played as a military Royal Salute, and is abbreviated to the first three lines while arms are being presented.
A bilingual version is typically sung in Canada to close Remembrance Day ceremonies:
The order of the English and French portions depends upon how the national anthem, "O Canada", which is also sung bilingually, is performed at the opening of the ceremony. The translations above are those used by the combined choirs of the public schools in Ottawa, under the direction of Ms. Barbara Clark.
There is a special Canadian verse in English which was once commonly sung as a second verse in place of the original second verse:
Modernly, however, on the rare occasion that two verses of the royal anthem are sung, it is almost invariably sung in Canada the same as it is sung in UK - with the actual second verse ("O Lord, our God, arise", etc.) replaced by the third verse ("Thy choicest gifts in store", etc.) sung as a second verse. But even in UK, a second verse is rarely sung
The New Zealand national anthems are "God Save the Queen" and "God Defend New Zealand". However, "God Save the Queen" is most often only played when the Sovereign, Governor-General or other member of the Royal Family is present, or on certain occasions such as Anzac Day.
In New Zealand, the second more militaristic verse is sometimes replaced with Hixtons verse "Nor in this land alone..." (often sung as Not in this land alone"), otherwise known as a "Commonwealth verse".
|Maori version of God Save the Queen|
"God Save the King" was the first song to be used as a national anthem, although the Netherlands' national anthem, Het Wilhelmus, is older. Its success prompted a number of imitations, notably in France and, later, Germany. Both commissioned their own songs to help construct a concrete national identity. The first German national anthem used the melody of "God Save the King" with the words changed to Heil dir im Siegerkranz, and sung to the same tune as the UK version. The tune was either used or officially adopted as the national anthem for several other countries, including those of Russia (until 1833) and Switzerland (Rufst Du, mein Vaterland or O monts indépendants, until 1961). Molitva russkikh, considered to be the first Russian anthem, was also sung to the same music.
It is also the melody to the United States patriotic hymn "America" (also known by its first line, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"), the lyrics of which were written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831. The song, a de facto national anthem before the adoption of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the 1930s, is quite popular among Americans, most of whom associate the tune with the American hymn rather than the British anthem.
In Iceland it is sung to the poem of Eldgamla Ísafold.
The tune is still used as the national anthem of Liechtenstein, Oben am jungen Rhein. The same tune was therefore played twice before the Euro 96 qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Liechtenstein; likewise when England played Liechtenstein in a Euro 2004 qualifier. (When England play Northern Ireland, the tune is only played once.)
The melody of "God Save the King" has been, and continues to be, used as a hymn tune by Christian churches in various countries. The United Methodists of the southern United States, Mexico, and Latin America, among other denominations (usually Protestant), play the same melody as a hymn. The Christian hymn "Glory to God on High" is frequently sung to the same tune, as well as an alternative tune that fits both lyrics. Note also that in the Protestant Church of Korea, it is sung as a choral hymn under the name of "Since I Have My Retreat"
In total, about 140 composers, including Beethoven, Haydn, Clementi, J.C.Bach, Liszt, Brahms, Carl Maria von Weber, Niccolò Paganini, Johann Strauss I, Sir Edward Elgar, etc., have used the tune in their compositions.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed a set of seven piano variations in the key of C major to the theme of "God Save the King", catalogued as WoO.78 (1802–1803). Moreover, he also quotes it in his "battle symphony" Wellington's Victory.
Muzio Clementi, another composer who used the theme to "God Save the King", did so in his Symphony No. 3 in G major. This work is dubbed the "Great National Symphony" and is catalogued as WoO. 34. For the noblest reasons, Clementi paid a high tribute to his adopted homeland (the United Kingdom) where he grew up and stayed most of his lifetime. He based the Symphony(about 1816–1824) on "God Save the King", which is hinted at earlier in the work, not least in the second movement, and announced by the trombones in the finale. • Symphony No. 3 " Great National Symphony " in en sol majeur/G-dur/G major/sol maggiore 1. Andante sostenuto - Allegro con brio 2. Andante un poco mosso 3. Minuetto. Allegretto 4. Finale. Vivace
Johann Christian Bach composed a set of variations on "God Save the King" for the finale to his sixth keyboard concerto (Op. 1) written c. 1763.
Joseph Haydn was impressed by the use of "God Save the King" as a national anthem during his visit to London in 1794, and on his return to Austria wrote a tune to the national anthem, the Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser ("God Save Emperor Franz"), for the birthday of the Emperor Franz of Austria. The tune of "God Save the King" was later adopted for the Prussian national anthem Heil Dir im Siegerkranz.
Franz Liszt wrote a piano paraphrase on the anthem (S.259 in the official catalogue, c. 1841).
Johann Strauss I quoted God Save the Queen in full at the end of his waltz Huldigung der Königin Victoria von Grossbritannien (Homage to Queen Victoria of Great Britain) Op. 103, where he also quoted Rule, Britannia! in full at the beginning of the piece.
Gioachino Rossini used this anthem in the last scene of his "Il viaggio a Reims", when all the characters, coming from many different European countries, sing a song which recalls their own homeland. Lord Sidney, bass, sings "Della real pianta" on the notes of "God save the King". Samuel Ramey used to interpolate a spectacular virtuoso cadenza at the end of the song.
Fernando Sor used the anthem in his 12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 10 in C Major in the section marked 'Maestoso.'
Claude Debussy opens with a brief introduction of God Save the King in one of his Preludes, Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C. The piece draws its inspiration from the main character of the Charles Dickens novel The Pickwick Papers.
Niccolò Paganini wrote a set of highly virtuosic variations on "God Save the King" as his Opus 9.
Sir Edward Elgar wrote his own orchestration of the National Anthem, performed with choir and symphony orchestra in 1927, for the occasion of the mayoral procession at the opening of the Hereford Music Festival on September 4 of that year.
Carl Maria von Weber uses the "God Save the King" theme at the end of his "Jubel Overture"
Charles Ives wrote Variations on "America" for organ in 1891 at age seventeen. It included a polytonal section in three simultaneous keys, though this was omitted from performances at his father's request, because "it made the boys laugh out loud". Ives was fond of the rapid pedal line in the final variation, which he said was "almost as much fun as playing baseball". The piece was not published until 1949; the final version includes an introduction, seven variations and a polytonal interlude. The piece was adapted for orchestra in 1963 by William Schuman. This version became popular during the bicentennial celebrations, and is often heard at pops concerts.
Muthuswamy Dikshitar: (1776-1835), one of the musical trinity in South Indian Classical (carnatic) music has composed some Sanskrit pieces set to Western tunes. The notations for these pieces which are referred to as "nottu swara sahityam" are available in the Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini of Subbarama Dikshitar(the composer's great grandson). These are set to the raga Sankarabharanam. Among these, the composition "Santatam Pahimam Sangita Shyamale" is set to the tune of "God save the Queen"
Jimi Hendrix of the The Jimi Hendrix Experience played an impromptu version of "God Save the Queen" to open his set at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. Just before walking onto the stage, he can be seen (on the DVD) and heard to ask "How does it go again?" in reference to the said UK national anthem. He was able just to hear it mimicked by voice and then perform it. His relatively accurate lead-guitar rendition of "God Save the Queen' can be viewed in stark contrast to his performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Woodstock Festival, 1969.
In 1977, the Sex Pistols recorded a song titled God Save The Queen in open reference to the National Anthem, with the song intending to stand for sympathy for the working class and resentment of the monarchy. They were banned from many venues, censored by mainstream media, and reached number 2 on the U.K. singles charts.
|Queen - A Night at the Opera|
|"God Save the Queen"
|(end of album)|
The rock band Queen recorded an instrumental version of "God Save the Queen" on their 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It was arranged by guitarist Brian May and features his distinctive layers of overdubbed electric guitars. A tape of this version would be played at the end of almost every concert, with Freddie Mercury walking around the stage wearing a crown and a cloak on their Magic Tour in 1986. On 3 June 2002, during the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Brian May performed the anthem on his Red Special electric guitar for Party at the Palace, performing from the roof of Buckingham Palace.
The Beatles briefly ran through the melody of "God Save The Queen" in between songs during their 30 January 1969 rooftop concert. Preserved on bootlegs, this short musical sketch has never been officially released.
Save the Queen
God Save the Queen is traditionally used as the
national anthem of the United Kingdom and the royal anthem of
Canada and the other Commonwealth realms, as well as as the royal
anthem of the British Royal Family. It is one of two official
national anthems of New Zealand. As the Royal Anthem of Australia,
it is sung in preference to the National Anthem (Advance Australia
Fair) when the Monarch is present in the country. When the British
monarch is male the anthem becomes "God Save the King". Only the
first verse is commonly sung.
Since "God Save the Queen" is the Royal Anthem of Canada, the first verse has been translated into French for use in that country, as shown below. As sung in English in Canada, "God Save the Queen" has an additional English verse, sung after the first or second verse, which is also given below.
Contrary to popular belief God Save the Queen has never been proclaimed the national anthem of Great Britain, it is simply tradition.
In the United States, the unofficial but anthemic My Country 'Tis of Thee is sung to the same tune.
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|
God Save the Queen!
God Save the Queen is a song, the national anthem of the United Kingdom. When there is a king instead of a queen it becomes God Save the King. Some other countries that still have the British monarch as their head of state use this song as a Royal Anthem to honour the queen.
It is not completely certain who wrote it, but most people think it was Dr Henry Carey, who first performed it in 1740.
The tune for God Save the Queen was used in many countries as a national anthem. Apart from the German state, many of which were linked to Great Britain by marriage, Liechtenstein and Switzerland used the tune. Switzerland changed to a different tune in the 1960s. Liechtenstein still uses the tune.
The tune is both American and British. In the 1930s the United States chose an official anthem. The "Star Spangled Banner" was chosen instead of the equally popular "My Country 'tis of Thee" which used the God Save the Queen tune.
krc:God Save the Queen/King