Lady Gaga’s national anthem inauguration performance has been transcribed by an A+ music geek

21 January 2021, 11:42

Lady Gaga’s national anthem inauguration performance has been transcribed by an A+ music geek
Lady Gaga’s national anthem inauguration performance has been transcribed by an A+ music geek. Picture: PA / Twitter

By Rosie Pentreath

Because, why wouldn’t you?

On 20 January 2021, for the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, and his history-making Vice President, Kamala Harris, the US national anthem baton was in the hands of pop royalty Lady Gaga.

She sang spectacularly (watch below), and her presence was entirely fitting of this huge, hopeful moment.

Classic FM’s own Catherine Bott – a soprano and early music expert – praised the performance: “Her confident smile was reassuring as she sang: in the key of G flat major and staying in the no-mans-land of the contralto/mezzo-soprano registers, she began with appropriate classical dignity and 4 beats in the bar – [with] just a hint of funky cross-rhythms in her phrasing of the words ‘Proudly we hailed’.”

And now an A+ music geek and our new favourite person has captured all of that on paper.

Read more: We asked a professional soprano to appraise Lady Gaga’s national anthem at the Biden inauguration >

Western music notation – essentially a visual record or set of instructions for the performance of all music, which exists as sound – was invented in around 1033, when the musical monk Guido d’Arezzo figured out and perfected just the right symbols to summarise music’s magic.

Now, fast-forward a thousand years, give-or-take, and a muso of the utmost calibre and fast-thinking has applied this most ancient technology to an important cultural moment of our time.

Composer and mezzo-soprano Patricia Wallinga listened with the rest of us as the pop megastar did justice to this fine and momentous occasion, and then she hastened to set it on paper forever. She tweeted:

Click here to listen to the Classic FM Ultimate Hall of Fame playlist >

Wallinga’s absolutely A+ score captures the rhythmic choices of Gaga – the little quirks and ‘melismas’ (a group of notes sung over just one syllable of text, to jazz it all up a bit) – and the mezzo-register, and rather nasty six-flat key signature, Gaga performed.

We’re very happy to have this keepsake. Thank you, Patricia. Thank you, G.