Comic genius Bill Bailey proves The Star-Spangled Banner sounds way better in a minor key

22 April 2021, 15:27

Bill Bailey plays The Star Spangled-Banner in a minor key
Bill Bailey plays The Star Spangled-Banner in a minor key. Picture: Prince's Trust Music/YouTube

By Sofia Rizzi

Bill Bailey shows just how music theory can transform a song, as he gives the US national anthem a makeover...

Bill Bailey, comedian and musician extraordinaire, hilariously explains his preference for the minor key in a stand-up comedy routine (watch below).

Scales, which Bailey refers to as “the building blocks of music”, come in many different forms – most commonly in the major, melodic minor or harmonic minor.

Bill describes the melodic minor as the scale with “the hopeful ascent, the depressing descent”.

He goes on to add an Indian-inspired backing track to a harmonic minor scale, before poking fun at the major scale for being too “eager to please”.

Read more: Bill Bailey proves the ‘Match of the Day’ is elevated by an Alberti bass >

Bill Bailey - Major / Minor (We Are Most Amused and Amazed 2018)

But the real laughs begin at 1:14 when Bailey puts Beethoven’s iconic ‘Für Elise’ into a major key, saying “It sounds like a Bavarian milking song.”

Read more: This song teaches you everything you need to know about music theory >

His pièce de résistance is a surprisingly enjoyable minor key version of the US National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, which with its new grandiose tones and octave-spanning embellishments, takes on the tone of a Strauss march.

At least, we think it does. It’s hard to hear over all the applause...