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MAJOR CHORDS | The Origins Of The Canadian National Anthem Revealed In Mozart

By Michael Vincent on June 25, 2014

 

June 24, 1880 marked the anniversary of the first time “O Canada” was ever sung. One hundred years later, on July 1, 1980, it was adopted as Canada’s official national anthem. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, and its English lyrics have changed a few times over the years.

But there has been some controversy over the origins of Lavallée’s O Canada. Namely its striking resemblance to Mozart’s March of the Priests from The Magic Flute.

Lavallée: O Canada

Mozart: March of the Priests

After comparing the two, it seems we owe just as much to Herr Mozart as we do to Mr. Lavallée for our nation’s anthem.

Accusations of plagiarism aside, it is actually quite common for national anthems to be inspired by other music. For example, the melody of the American national anthem originated from an old British drinking song called “To Anacreon In Heaven.”

Plagiarism or just creative borrowing? You be the judge.

For those who can read music, you can compare the Canadian national anthem and an excerpt of Mozart’s March of the Priests in more detail below: O_CanadaMozart

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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