Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Copland’s Appalachian Spring Should Be New National Anthem

  

I’ve recently been listening to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

(Here is another link to Aaron Copland.)

( Above is a picture from near Bristol, Tennessee.)

I think this American classic, which lasts around 25 minutes, should be the new national anthem.

(Click here to listen to a program about Appalachian Spring.)

For one thing, unlike our present national anthem, the song has no mention of war.

For another thing , if we were all to silently reflect and consider our nation and our lives for 25 minutes each time we listened to our new national anthem, maybe we would be a better country.

Though I admit, it would be an act of discipline for some not to focus on their anger and disappointments for those 25 minutes.

Still, I think we could all use some more time to think things out.

In Appalachian Spring, Copland “samples”, to use a more modern word, a portion of the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” ( Here is a history of Shaker music.  Here is a history of who the Shakers are.)

Here are the lyrics to Simple Gifts—

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

I think these would be excellent lyrics for our national anthem.

Here is a link to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Here is a link to the Urban Appalachian Council of Greater Cincinnati.

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January 27, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. You have an excellent point or two about the Copeland piece. A national anthem should ask us to reflect on what nation means, and what we mean as a people. Also, the Shaker hymn is very thoughtful and poetic. However, I’d like to nominate Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first to do so. We all know the chorus/first verse, but not many people know the last two verses. The complete lyric as follows:

    This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California, to the New York Island
    From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
    This land was made for you and me

    As I was walking a ribbon of highway
    I saw above me an endless skyway
    I saw below me a golden valley
    This land was made for you and me

    I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps
    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
    And all around me a voice was sounding
    This land was made for you and me

    The sun comes shining as I was strolling
    The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
    The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
    This land was made for you and me

    As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
    And that sign said – no tress passin’
    But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
    Now that side was made for you and me!

    In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
    Near the relief office – I see my people
    And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
    If this land’s still made for you and me.

    Comment by Jeff | January 28, 2008

  2. Jeff-Excellent. I think I have read in the past suggestions that this song be the national anthem. The lyrics here are a great addition to the post. Thank you.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 28, 2008

  3. I too have been listening to a lot of Copland – found your blog by looking for info on him. Appalachian Spring would make an excellent anthem – and, bonus, we would never have to listen to poor singers try and belt out the Star Spangled Banner ever again.

    Comment by Alison | March 3, 2008

  4. Alison—It would be good to retire Star Spangled Banner.

    Thanks for the comment and please visit the blog again.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 3, 2008

  5. i only just found this blog, I’m not from around America but i still agree strongly with your opinion Appalachian Spring. It’s a brilliant, calming, well thought out composition of Copland and would make a good National Anthem for any country in my opinion.

    Comment by Ryan | November 15, 2009

  6. Ryan–Thanks for this kind comment. Brilliant and calming at once. That can be hard to work out sometimes. Please visit the blog again.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 16, 2009

  7. I’ve been saying this for years. What’s the next step!

    Also, forget about the 25 minutes, just use the three minutes of Simple Gifts.

    Comment by KC | June 6, 2010

  8. KC–Next step….hmmm….I guess maybe we would have to get Congressional support. Or a people’s movement. Honestly, I don’t know if the national anthem is “official’ in some way or just custom. Thanks for the comment.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 13, 2010


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