The Star-Spangled Banner


To simplify learning a melody, focus on its phrases. This will give your performance continuity and will help the listener follow the music.

And since the 4th of July is around the corner, what better material to use for the Rock Prodigy Blog than The Star-Spangled Banner? Think of it as having two sections: The A section and a B section.

The A section has four phrases in it and the B section has seven. This is a great song for getting to know the notes in the major scale. This version is in the key of C. Also, there is one accidental in the melody. We’ll point it out later. Let’s go over each phrase.

A Section

The Star lesson Banner - A Section

Phrase 1: “Statement”

This first phrase outlines a C chord.



Phrase 2: Transition

The second phrase is the phrase with the accidental. It’s the 4th fret of the D string. Which is an F# and is not in the key of C. Normally you would play F natural on the 3rd fret. The reason for adding this note is because it is a leading tone into the G note. This gives the melody more forward motion.



Phrase 3: Transformation

This is a great phrase to add a trill between the 4th and 5th fret of the G string. This phrase leaves you wanting more…




Phrase 4: Resolution

…and now we have our resolution!



Next you repeat all four phrases of the A section before moving on to the B section.

B Section

The Star lesson Banner - B Section


Phrase 1: This phrase is kind of like a bridge in the song to take it somewhere new. Notice how it needs the next phrase to sound resolved. This tension is something you can take advantage of in your performance. By holding out the last note a little longer than usual.



Phrase 2: An interesting thing about this phrase is how it’s the same three notes going down and back up. The difference in the rhythm between when you go down the notes and back up is what makes it melodic.



Phrase 3: This is another good phrase to hold out at the end to make it more expressive.



Phrase 4: Here’s our F# leading tone again. Also, notice how it’s the same three frets on each string.



Phrase 5: Ok this is the longest phrase of all of them and it sounds great to play in strict time. Then you can let loose on the last two notes.



Phrase 6: …and everyones favorite climactic part! Milk it for all it’s worth!!



Phrase 7: This six note conclusion is more like two short phrases. After the first three notes you can give it a little space. Then on the D note 3rd fret of the B string try adding a trill between the 3rd and 5th frets. Then resolve on the Root C. 5th fret, G string.


We’ve added two free versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to Rock Prodigy. Try the free Rock Prodigy demo on your Mac, iPad or PC and then go to the songs tab to try it out.

You can take a listen and download the song here:

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