Star Spangled Banner Sheet Music

Jim Josselyn
Students standing for Pledge of Allegiance

America's national anthem, like a number of American patriotic songs, started out as a British song. Set to the music of a popular English drinking tune, The Star Spangled Banner is a regal, stately piece of music in three quarter time with an interesting chord pattern and harmonic rhythm.

Leading the Way

The first version of the song in treble clef is what musicians refer to as a lead sheet, a basic piece of sheet music with melody and chord symbols. The instruments that use treble clef include piano, guitar, violin, viola, flute, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, oboe, and mallet percussion. Intermediate level pianists and guitarists should be able to play the chords and melody to the Star Spangled Banner simultaneously. For help with the following printables please consult this easy-to-use guide.

All About the Bass

This second version of the song is in bass clef. This sheet is for acoustic and electric bass, cello, bassoon, euphonium, baritone saxophone, trombone, and tuba and would be suitable for a duet with a piano or guitar.

A Song With Words

The lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner are a poem by Francis Scott Key entitled The Defense Of Fort McHenry. Key wrote the poem upon seeing the British bomb the Maryland fort.

Other Sources and Versions

Here are some valuable online resources to dig further into this wonderful piece of music.

  • Sheet Music Plus is a go-to site for legal, paid sheet music in all styles. One of the great features of this site is they have versions of each song for different groups. For example piano/vocal, brass quintet, or two-part choir, and more. Prices vary based on the size and scope of the arrangement.
  • Music Notes is an alternative to Sheet Music Plus and offers the same high quality versions of songs. If there is any difference, it appears that Music Notes offers more options and arrangements, including "easy piano" and "beginner notes" for those just getting started reading music.
  • Ultimate Guitar offers free, easy tablature versions for guitarists. This site offers many versions including with chords, with just chords, and more.
  • GuitareTab boasts the psychedelic Jimi Hendrix version in free guitar tablature in addition to many others via their easy-to-use search engine.

Famous Renditions

The image of Jimi Hendrix playing the aforementioned version to the remnants of the enormous Woodstock music festival crowd is iconic in American history. During his performance, he approximated the "bombs bursting in air" with feedback and inserted an excerpt of "Taps," the trumpet song played at the end of each day in the military to honor fallen soldiers. Over the years opening different sporting events with the song has provided many singers from Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga and more the opportunity to showcase their vocal prowess.

A Patriotic Thing

If you enjoyed learning this famous patriotic song, learn others. America, The Beautiful, God Bless America, My Country Tis' Of Thee and This Land Is My Land come to mind. When you've learned them, try to do what so many great artists have done and make your own version of them, and arrange them and play them your own way.

Star Spangled Banner Sheet Music