Key of C: The first version, in the key of C, can be played on lever or pedal harp. If your lever harp is tuned to the key of C, this is the version you should play. There are 3 G# lever changes during the piece, and one F# is pre-set. This requires a range of 3-1/2 octaves from C up to G. It will fit on 26-string harps with a C as the lowest string, if you play everything up an octave.
Key of B-flat: The second arrangement, in the key of B-flat, is for lever harps tuned to flats or pedal harps. B-flat is the key that is most commonly used when the song is sung. There are 3 F# lever changes during the piece, and one E-natural is pre-set. This arrangement requires a range of a little more than 3 octaves from F up to G. It will fit on 26-string harps with a C as the lowest string, if you play everything up an octave.
Francis Scott Key wrote the poem Defence of Fort M’Henry the day after he witnessed the bombardment of the Baltimore, Maryland fort by British ships on September 13, 1814. The poem was then set to a popular melody composed in the 1760s by an Englishman, John Stafford Smith. A broadside version of this new song was printed on September 17th, and it was quickly reprinted in newspapers and magazines. In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution making The Star-Spangled Banner the national anthem of the United States. The original 15-star, 15-stripe “Star-Spangled Banner” that flew above the fort and inspired Key’s poem is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.