How To Play The USA’s National Anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner) on Piano and Keyboard


Feeling patriotic? Have an event where it would be good to play the United States’ National Anthem music? Here are some simple free piano/keyboard arrangements for The Star-Spangled Banner.

Introduction

The Star-Spangled Banner is written here in B-flat major. This is the key I’ve most often heard it played in. It means you have two flats to contend with. B flat and E flat.

It’s written in 3/4 time. That means there are three quarter notes to each bar. For interest’s sake, the British national anthem (God Save The Queen) is also written in 3/4 time.

Melody Line

Here’s the music score.

Here’s a PDF file you can download.

You can listen to what it sounds like with this MIDI or WAV audio files.

The melody is fairly easy to play. You probably already know how the timing of the notes goes, so the dotted eighth note (quaver) followed by sixteenth note (semiquaver) found in bars 1, 3 and 9 shouldn’t phase you. Similarly, the dotted quarter notes (crotchets) followed by eighth notes (quavers) in 6, 15, 23 and 25.

The first ascending notes (in bar 2) are in fact five successive notes of a B-flat major arpeggio. B-flat, D, F, B-flat and D.

Note the E natural in bars 4 and 17.

You know from the anthem that the first part of the melody repeats. This is marked in the music by way of repeat marks and 1st/2nd time bars.

When you see notation like this, it means that you play everything from the start up until (and including) the bar marked overhead with “1.” The repeat mark (looks like a colon (:) means to go back to the last repeat marks. You can see that’s at the start of bar 2.

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Play everything through again, but when you get to the “1st” bar, skip it and jump to the “2nd” time bar. Play that bar and then keep going. This is a form of shorthand and saves printing out repeated passages of music again.

Simple Bass Line

Here, a simple one note bass line has been added.

Here’s the music score.

Here’s a PDF file you can download.

You can listen to what it sounds like with these MIDI or WAV audio files.

Right Hand Chords

If you’re playing to accompany singing, it’s useful not to play the melody line itself but to fill out the accompaniment with chords. These can be played in the right hand, while the left hand plays the bass line.

Here’s the music score.

Here’s a PDF file you can download.

You can listen to what it sounds like with these MIDI or WAV audio files.

I hope that helps you when it comes to playing The Star-Spangled Banner.