Understand the music

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The article below was written three years ago in response to the various versions of the anthem posted on social media by anyone who can sing, play an instrument, or make a video!

In my humble opinion, based on the origin, facts and circumstances of the anthem, the original version will be a “forever version” when performed instrumentally or sung. Video versions will be new presentations where a screen or digital platform is available for public viewing.

Every year, as Pakistan’s Independence Day approaches, we are rightly moved by our ‘one and only’ national anthem and in our enthusiasm create our versions of the sacred song to claim its sacred history and bask in its glory.

Usually it’s our country’s ever-energetic youth, popular crooners, bands, instrumentalists, recording artists, digital pundits and special event planners who out of exuberance introduce multiple variations of the anthem to the delight of their “live and virtual audiences”. It is a credit to their talent and patriotism that these distorted versions – sung or played – are indeed magnificent.

So here’s my point, nuanced and quantified: On this day, August 14, 2019, Pakistan’s 72nd Independence Day, I came across many versions of the anthem on social media, as well as animated versions shown during of special events, and I thought it was necessary to illuminate some technical aspects and relevant facts.

All variations of our national anthem are beautiful, but the original musically composed version can only be played instrumentally by a full marching band component when a variety of reed and breath instruments, each playing its dedicated part , come together in a symphony to proclaim the notator’s masterful arrangement.

Therefore, it sounds musically correct when a military band from any country (and they don’t need to know the melody) reads the music notated on the sheets and plays the parts as arranged by a skillful composer. orchestrated music. Recently, I heard military bands from the United States, Malaysia and Turkey playing our national anthem correctly; neither did they know the words or the melody, but played what was musically notated.

The music (complementing the composed melody) of our national anthem has been notated, separately, for each instrument in a marching band. When played together and skilfully conducted by a musical director with expertise in orchestral composition, it harmonizes into a symphony that musically heralds our anthem. This is how it was composed and notated in 1949 and supposed to have been performed, officially and for all time love.

Countries do not change the “music” of anthems at whim. Some adjustments in the lyrics are possible; this is because the lyrics and music of the anthem are sacred to the sovereignty of the country.

Instruments in a marching band ensemble of 50 or more include trombone (2-4), trumpet (up to 12), cornet (up to 4), B-flat clarinet (6-8) , E-flat clarinet (2-4), alto saxophone (2-4), tenor saxophone (2), French horn (2), side drums (up to 12), bass drum (one) euphonium (2) and the snorkel (one). Even the “triangle” and the “cymbal” must know when to strike. If you take out a notated part of an instrument, there is no hymn, just a melody that anyone can strum, blow, serenade, hum, or whistle.

I played tuba in a marching band and was responsible for its own notated part of the anthem. Therefore, I can say this with confidence, inasmuch as anyone in a marching band who plays the same instrument would vouch that if the tuba part is “not played”, there is no ‘anthem. Every time our anthem is played by a marching band, I literally hear the part of my instrument that supports the harmony and leads the crescendo when needed, like the trumpets that I’m sure anyone can To hear.

This then, my friends, is the background music of the national anthem of Pakistan. I hope the true value and nuances of music are understood in the right context and honored appropriately.

The author is an independent contributor.

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