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UK anthem lacks sing along factor

As the strains of “God Save the Queen” float over Britain during this year of the Olympics and the diamond jubilee, few of her subjects will be singing along, according to new research released here on Wednesday.

world Updated: Jan 26, 2012 00:19 IST

As the strains of “God Save the Queen” float over Britain during this year of the Olympics and the diamond jubilee, few of her subjects will be singing along, according to new research released here on Wednesday.


Two academics at British universities who studied anthems found “God Save the Queen” is the hardest to sing along to, while France’s national anthem “La Marseillaise” was the ­easiest to belt out.

The study was commissioned by the producers of “Sing-a-long-a-Grease”, the classic musical based on life at US high school in the 1950s. Daniel Muellensiefen, a German music psychologist at Goldsmith’s, University of London, and Alisun Pawley, an American-born musicologist at York University, developed the method used to analyse the anthems of six nations.

They apply over 30 musical variables, ranging from “the amount of vocal effort” involved to the “length of phrases”. And the academics put the anthems to the test in pubs and clubs across northern England, counting how many people sang along to each song that was played — a total of 1,160 ­sing-alongs.

France topped the list followed by Australia, Germany, Canada, the US and Britain. Pawley said “La Marseillaise” won because it demands high vocal effort which promotes singing along.