La Marseillaise: Where many threads meet


·        Start with beatles revolution sample 2 sec


·        samples <2 sec - happy birthday jaws hall of mountain king beethovens 5th god save queen  deutchlandlied beatles revolution marseillaise


·        Everything except the big bang has context.

·        One of the delights of information technology that has developed during my lifetime is the ease of exploring the context from any starting point.

·        I can spend hours entering "rabbit holes" and emerging somewhere else presented with new holes to explore.


·        When I heard the recording of the French National Anthem played at Wembley after the Paris attacks in 2015, I remember going down a rabbit hole for a few hours exploring it's various contexts.

·        November 2015 Paris attacks - Wikipedia

·        (6) Paris Attacks: French and British fans sing La Marseillaise together at Wembley Stadium - YouTube

·        November 2015 Paris attacks - Wikipedia

·        In the case of the Wembley match, it wasn't enough as England won 2-0.


La Marseillaise music and lyrics was composed in 1792 Apr 25 by a little known composer Rouget de Lisle - but more on that later.


·        What about the origins and power of other national anthems ?

·        God Save the Queen is in slow or funeral march time.

·        (6) [4K] England anthem "God save the Queen" | England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 vs Italy 🇮🇹 | Euro 2020 Final - YouTube 

·        The origin tune probably composed in 1619 by John Bull (composer) - Wikipedia  (not the fictitious literary personification of England John Bull - Wikipedia).  The most recognised lyrics were first published in 1745 with no attribution.  God Save the Queen - Wikipedia


·        Deutschlandlied - Wikipedia The german national anthem is equally funerial.

·        (6) German anthem in Olympiastadion - YouTube

·        The French fired the musical salvo of the Marseillaise in 1792 at the Austrian Emperor, Leopold II (older brother of Marie Antoinette) in the first days of the French Revolutionary Wars 1792-1802

·        The Austrians asked their best composer, incidentally the greatest composer the world has ever seen, Joseph Haydn, to inspire the counterattack. 

·        5 years later  (there was no hurry, the war would last a decade) on the birthday of Austrian Emperor Francis II - "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" (God Save Francis the Emperor) or the Kaiserhymne.

·        In 1841, new lyrics from von Fallersleben transformed it into "Das Lied der Deutschen".  

·        In 1854, new lyrics transformed it into "Gott erhalte, Gott beschütze" (God preserve, God protect).

·        A few years after the Austrian Empire disintegrated in 1918, the German president adopted Deutschlandlied with an emphasis on the woke 3rd stanza. 

·        The nazi's re-emphasised the first stanza during WW2.

·        It wasn't until 1952, that Deutschlandlied once again became Germany's national anthem using the 3rd stanza.



·        As we move around Europe, the birth place of National Anthems, we quickly realise that many countries also have marches - but just seems to miss in terms of gravitas.

·        (Spotify has a good list of orchestral versions of European national anthems Spotify – European Hymns (The Most Famous National Anthems))


·        (6) Spain National Anthem vs Italy Euro 2020 // "La Marcha Real" - YouTube  start at 20sec


·        (6) Italy National Anthem (2010 World Cup) - YouTube



·        La Marseillaise has both the battle ready march tempo as well as the gravitas and passion.


·        When and who composed these anthems:





·        Other eauropean national anthems are

·        Marcha Real - Wikipedia  composed        Manuel de Espinosa de los Monteros, 1761   Adopted 1770.  No official lyrics but many many historic, political and ethnic versions for Spaniards fight each other over.

·        (8) La Marcha Real - Himno de España/Spanish National Anthem/Hino da Espanha - YouTube  Lalala


·        Il Canto degli Italiani - Wikipedia  Composed in 1847 by Goffredo Mameli set to music by Michele Novaro and pressed into service as a national anthem only on 12 October 1946


·        Other rabbit holes that we pass by:

·         the copycat origin of royal anthems in the 1400 - 1600's;

·         the broadeniog of royal anthems to national anthems in European countries. 

·        The spread of national anthems in the 1700's;

·        The enrgising of national anthem adoption probably from the success of the Marseillaise.

·        How "un-woke" are the lyrics of various national anthems


The next rabbit hole, that I did go down was:














·        Revolution


·        1775 April 19 – September 3, 1783:  American Revolutionary War

·        American Revolutionary War - Wikipedia


·        1778 Feb 6: France and the United States signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce regulating trade between the two countries, followed by a defensive military alliance against Britain, the Treaty of Alliance. In return for French guarantees of American independence, Congress undertook to defend their interests in the West Indies, while both sides agreed not to make a separate peace; conflict over these provisions would lead to the 1798 to 1800 Quasi-War.[181] Charles III of Spain was invited to join on the same terms but refused, largely due to concerns over the impact of the Revolution on Spanish colonies in the Americas.

·        American Revolutionary War - Wikipedia


·        1782 Nov 30: British-American negotiations in Paris led to preliminaries signed November 1782 acknowledging US independence.  Full treaty Sep 1783

·        American Revolutionary War - Wikipedia


·        1783: Painting: Treaty of Paris, by Benjamin West (1783), depicts the American delegation at the Treaty of Paris (left to right): John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed.

·        Treaty of Paris (1783) - Wikipedia


·        1787 May 25 (drafting) - 1787 Sept 17:  The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America.[3] It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution.

·        Constitution of the United States - Wikipedia


·        1789  French Revolution: 5 May 1789 – 9 November 1799

·        French Revolution - Wikipedia


·        1789 Jan: Jefferson was cooperating with Lafayette on a drsft for a "declaration of rights"
George Athan Billias, ed. (2009). American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776–1989: A Global Perspective. NYU Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780814791394.


·        1789 May 5: The Estates-General convened in the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi on5 May 1789, near the Palace of Versailles rather than in Paris; the choice of location was interpreted as an attempt to control their debates. As was customary, each Estate assembled in separate rooms, whose furnishings and opening ceremonies deliberately emphasised the superiority of the First and Second Estates. They also insisted on enforcing the rule that only those who owned land could sit as deputies for the Second Estate, and thus excluded the immensely popular Comte de Mirabeau.[39]

·        French Revolution - Wikipedia


·        1789 July 11 "Declaration of the Rights of Man" was proposed and accepted by the National Assembly.  Likely that this influenced Jefferson to successfully seek Madison's support for a "Bill of Rights" back in the USA

·        George Athan Billias, ed. (2009). American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776–1989: A Global Perspective. NYU Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780814791394.


·        1789 Jul 14 Bastille Day: Many of these soldiers joined the mob in attacking the Bastille, a royal fortress with large stores of arms and ammunition. Its governor, Bernard-René de Launay, surrendered after several hours of fighting that cost the lives of 83 attackers. Taken to the Hôtel de Ville, he was executed, his head placed on a pike and paraded around the city; the fortress was then torn down in a remarkably short time. Although rumoured to hold many prisoners, the Bastille held only seven: four forgers, two noblemen held for "immoral behaviour", and a murder suspect. Nevertheless, as a potent symbol of the Ancien Régime, its destruction was viewed as a triumph and Bastille Day is still celebrated every year.[45] In French culture, some see its fall as the start of the Revolution.[46]

·        French Revolution - Wikipedia


·        1789 Sept 25:  US Congress approved twelve articles of amendment to US Constitution

·        Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution - Wikipedia


·        1791 June 20 - Kings Flight to Varennes: late the next day, Louis was recognised as he passed through Varennes, arrested and taken back to Paris. The attempted escape had a profound impact on public opinion; since it was clear Louis had been seeking refuge in Austria, the Assembly now demanded oaths of loyalty to the regime, and began preparing for war, while fear of 'spies and traitors' became pervasive.

·        French Revolution - Wikipedia


·        1791 July 17 radicals led by Jacques Pierre Brissot prepared a petition demanding his deposition, and on 17 July, an immense crowd gathered in the Champ de Mars to sign. Led by Lafayette, the National Guard was ordered to "preserve public order" and responded to a barrage of stones by firing into the crowd, killing between 13 and 50 people.[81].   The massacre badly damaged Lafayette's reputation; the authorities responded by closing radical clubs and newspapers, while their leaders went into exile or hiding, including Marat.[82] On 27 August, Emperor Leopold II and Frederick William II of Prussia issued the Declaration of Pillnitz declaring their support for Louis, and hinting at an invasion of France on his behalf. In reality, the meeting between Leopold and Frederick was primarily to discuss the Partitions of Poland; the Declaration was intended to satisfy Comte d'Artois and other French émigrés but the threat rallied popular support behind the regime.[83]

·        French Revolution - Wikipedia


·        1791 Aug 10:  a combined force of the Paris National Guard and provincial fédérés attacked the Tuileries Palace, killing many of the Swiss Guards protecting it.[95] Louis and his family took refuge with the Assembly and shortly after 11:00 am, the deputies present voted to 'temporarily relieve the king', effectively suspending the monarchy.[96]

·        French Revolution - Wikipedia


·        1791 Aug 27: Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, brother of Louis XVI's Queen Marie Antoinette, had initially looked on the Revolution with equanimity, but became more and more disturbed as the Revolution became more radical, although he still hoped to avoid war.

·        1791 August 27, Leopold and King Frederick William II of Prussia, in consultation with emigrant French nobles, issued the Declaration of Pillnitz, which declared the interest of the monarchs of Europe in the well-being of Louis and his family, and threatened vague but severe consequences if anything should befall them. Although Leopold saw the Pillnitz Declaration as a non-committal gesture to placate the sentiments of French monarchists and nobles, it was seen in France as a serious threat and was denounced by the revolutionary leaders.[6]

·        1792 Mar 1 Leopold died (probably from severe onset pleurisy rather than French spies…).   About a year and a half before his younger sister, Marie on 16 October 1793 from severe decapitation.

·        1792 April 20 France eventually issued an ultimatum demanding that the Habsburg monarchy of Austria under Leopold II, who was also Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, renounce any hostile alliances and withdraw its troops from the French border.[7] The reply was evasive, and the French Assembly voted for war on 20 April 1792 against Francis II (who succeeded Leopold II), after a long list of grievances presented by foreign minister Charles François Dumouriez. Dumouriez prepared an immediate invasion of the Austrian Netherlands, where he expected the local population to rise against Austrian rule as they had earlier in 1790. However, the revolution had thoroughly disorganized the army, and the forces raised were insufficient for the invasion. Following the declaration of war, French soldiers deserted en masse and in one case murdered their general, Théobald Dillon.[8]

·        French Revolutionary Wars - Wikipedia


·        1792 April 20 – 27 March 1802 - French Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria

·        Campaigns of 1792 in the French Revolutionary Wars - Wikipedia


·        1792 Apr 25 : One lasting morale-boosting effect was the composition of the battle hymn Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin ("War Song for the Rhine Army") by Rouget de Lisle in April 1792. It became popular among French soldiers nationwide, and was soon identified with a battalion from Marseille. Thus, the song became known as La Marseillaise, and on 26 Messidor III (14 July 1795) and again on 14 February 1879 it was officially recognised as the national anthem of France.[10]

·        The French national anthem, La Marseillaise, was composed in Strasbourg, April 25, while the French were still mustering troops, as the "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine").

·        Campaigns of 1792 in the French Revolutionary Wars - Wikipedia


·        Strasbourg - Tournai 450km Google Maps


·        1792 April 29 - The French army performed poorly in the first engagements. At the Battle of Marquain near Tournai (29 April), French soldiers fled almost at first sight of the Austrian outposts and murdered their general Théobald Dillon, whom they accused of treason.

·        Campaigns of 1792 in the French Revolutionary Wars - Wikipedia


·        Nicolas, Count Luckner (German: Johann Nikolaus, Graf Luckner; 12 January 1722, Cham in der Oberpfalz – 4 January 1794, Paris) was a German officer in French service who rose to become a Marshal of France.  Luckner grew up in Cham, in eastern Bavaria and received his early education from the Jesuits in Passau. Before entering the French service, Luckner spent time in the Bavarian, Dutch and Hanoverian armies. He fought as a commander of hussars during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) in the Hanoverian army against the French. Luckner joined the French army in 1763 with the rank of lieutenant general. In 1784 he became a Danish count.  He supported the French Revolution, and the year 1791 saw Luckner become a Marshal of France. In 1791–92 Luckner served as the first commander of the Army of the Rhine.

·        In 25 April 1792, Rouget de Lisle dedicated to him the Chant de Guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin (War Song of the Army of the Rhine), which was to become better known as the Marseillaise.

·        He was arrested by the Revolutionary Tribunal and sentenced to death. He died by the guillotine in Paris in 1794.

·        Nicolas Luckner - Wikipedia


·        Nicolas, Count Luckner He was given command of the Army of the Rhine from December 1791 to May 1792, then of the Army of the North from May to July 1792: he took the city of Menin on 19 June, those of Kortrijk and Ypres on 20 June, but he was forced to retreat to Valenciennes, having not been supported.

·        It was to him that Rouget de Lisle dedicated, in April 1792, his famous War Song for the Army of the Rhine, otherwise named, subsequently, the Marseillaise1.

·        Nicolas Luckner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


·        1808 The Spanish American wars of independence (25 September 1808 – 29 September 1833; Spanish: Guerras de independencia hispanoamericanas) were numerous wars in Spanish America with the aim of political independence from Spanish rule during the early 19th century. These began shortly after the start of the French invasion of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. Thus, the strict period of military campaigns would go from the battle of Chacaltaya (1809), in present-day Bolivia, to the battle of Tampico (1829), in Mexico.[6][7]

·        Spanish American wars of independence - Wikipedia



·        War Song to the Armies of the Borders on the air of Sarguines  (Chant de guerre aux armées des frontières sur l'air de Sarguines)




A meme is a word invented by Richard Dawkins in 1976. He had written "The Selfish Gene" describing the way in which genes evolved on earth by collecting into complexes that we call organisms.  These organisms (e.g. us) are machines that arose because they improved the frequency and spread of the genes inside them.  At the end of the book, he introduces the concept of the meme - thought, act or thing that is able to spread and gain influence through the cooperation of a host.  As he worked on genes, he had realised that the speed of evolution of human culture was making physical evolution irrelevant for our species.  We were changing ourselves and the planet millions of time faster than any process of physical evolution.  The atoms of this cultural change, he called memes. Analogous to genes, their purposeless propagation alters culture.  They can split, mutate, become extinct etc etc.

The term meme is helpful because it strips back cultural pretensions and brings together analysis of all thoughts, actions and things, no matter how different.  It encourages evaluation of the influence of the Coke label and a Cézanne painting in the same way.  What is it's spread and frequency over time. How was it created ? What effects has it had on it's hosts. What memplexes is it connected to. 

When I think of a thought, act or thing, I imagine it as a node on a web.  It is connected in dimensions to other thoughts, actions or things.  The more connections, the larger the node appears. 

Music is just one example - but one that, second only to family, gives life a sense of purpose (a fiction that is essential to happiness).

Sound Samples - Classical Memes - 2min

All artists are in the business of meme creation. They may protest that they create for themselves.  Those for whom this is true are unknown to us as their memes died with them.  Musicians have been creating enormously powerful memes since the dawn of our species.  I would predict that member of contemporary upperclass western culture would recognise most of these samples and be able to name at least a few. 

These samples are memes in themselves - but much longer memes - one verse, one movement, the whole opus also exist at much lower frequency - how many people listen to the whole of even the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth ?

These atoms of culture when some memes loose power and other gain power. 


Vocalisation as part of sound communication in addition to stamping, banging clubs, body stance and movement was probably in wide use between Hominoidea possibly up to 30 million years ago.  Cultures evolved effective vocalisations for a range of situations - e.g. grooming, mating and most importantly - signalling and fighting. 

Sounds: 2001

Our addiction to memes, seemingly regardless of their influence on our survival, is well known - for instance to junk food advertisers and politicians.

  protestations to being creating only for themselves

in form, from the viewpoint of their spread and  of the way that  that influence and thus history 

way of thinking as the label brings together

Every thought, action or thing is a node in the web of existence with innumerable connections in space and time.

Consider "La Marseillaise".   The name alone is recognised in probably more people than know of the town to which it refers.  The tune is instantly recognisable by an even greater proportion. This powerful node links to France, nationalism, history, revolution, militarism, march music, battle music, and the commercialisation of memes.

The tune is an immensely powerful meme. The lyrics are mutualistic in that they add power but comparatively rarely exist on their own.  

Some people spend significant portions of their life in deliberate attempts to create memes.  A meme's success is measured by it's frequency and spread over time and space.  Beethoven, Dickens, Yves_Saint_Laurent - all created powerful memes through the creation of works that continue to replicate and spread all over the planet.  Huge numbers of minor talents spend hours on the internet partly enticed by the faint possibility that their meme will go viral.   The scale of the meme's recognition brings money and power.  

Rouget de Lisle was explicitly set the task of enhancing the power of French troops by giving them a song to sing.  

Many have used the meme's power by swapping their own lyrics - catholic, russia, civil war ec

Memes are a big business people trying with all their might to create them every day.

It is significant because it is one of the most successful musical memes on the planet at this moment.    Since the most likely date of composition (25 April 1792), the music spread rapidly through France, then Europe, then North America, and has been "used" in a range of countries for a range of purposes by changing the lyrics.

The original purpose of the song was to improve the effectiveness of French soldiers.

Even though La Marseillaise sounds like a dinner sauce or a mispronunciation of Marseilles, it's sound is instantly recognisable by a very large proportion of people who grew up under the influence of almost any European Culture.

It's story could start with the earliest threat vocalisation that evolved probably in early chordates such as tetrapods even before the dinosaurs.  


1.2 Auditory

1.3 Olfactory

1.4 Electric

1.5 Touch

1.6 Seismic

1.7 Thermal

Marseilles sung as a military march with drums.  (Révolution Française - La Chute du Roi Louis XVI)

Added clavichord arrangement probably sounded a bit like this. ([FL Studio, Harpsichord] La Marseillaise 2021)

Men of Harlech
wallace  scots

Happy Birthday
God Save the Queen
Deuchland uber alles
hall of the mountain king
william tell
beethoven 5th
star wars
what a beautiful world

Sound Samples - Classical Memes

Samples combined from:  Classical blind test - Easy   9 famous Opera

Beethoven Symphony no. 5
Vivaldi Spring from "The Four Seasons"
Nessun Dorma - Turandot - Puccini
Pachelbel Canon in D
Mozart Magic Flute - Queen of the Night - 
Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
Rossini - Barber of Seville - Largo al Factotum 
Mozart- The Marriage of Figaro - Overture
Bizet Habenera from Carmen
Beethoven Ode to Joy from Symphony no. 9
Bach Air on the G String
Verdi  Libiamo - La Traviata -
Ravel Bolero
Wagner The Ring Of The Niebelung Ride of the Valkyries
Wagner - Bridal Chorus - Lohengrin -
Strauss - The Blue Danube Waltz
Rossini William Tell Overture
Delibes - Flower Duet - Lakme -
Tchaikovsky Nutcracker  Waltz of the Flowers
Verdi Aida March
Roget Marseillaise

18. Bach Minuet in G
19. Beethoven Fur Elise
20. I don't know this one
21. Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2
22. Grieg Morning Mood from Peer Gynt
23. Verdi La Traviata
24. Tchaikovsky Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from The Nutcracker
25. Joplin The Entertainer
26. Brahms Hungarian Dance no. 5
27. Grieg In The Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt
28. Can Can
29. Mendelssohn Wedding March
30. I recognize this, but I don't know the name
Extra. Schubert, but I don't know which piece

Top 10 National Anthems

Top 10 Club songs in Football Stadiums | Europe

England anthem "God save the Queen" | England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 vs Italy 🇮🇹 | Euro 2020 Final

Most Electrifying Chants In Football | With Lyrics

[FL Studio, Harpsichord] La Marseillaise 2021


Classical blind test - Easy

1. Beethoven Symphony no. 5
2. Vivaldi Spring from "The Four Seasons"
3. Mozart Rondo alla Turka
4. Pachelbel Canon in D
5. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor
6. Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
7. Mozart Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
8. Bizet Habenera from Carmen
9. Beethoven Ode to Joy from Symphony no. 9
10. Bach Air on the G String
11. Shostakovich Waltz in C minor
12. What's the name, I forget, I know the piece though
13. Wagner Ride of the Valkyries
14. Strauss The Blue Danube Waltz
15. Rossini William Tell Overture
16. Tchaikovsky Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker
17. Verdi Aida
18. Bach Minuet in G
19. Beethoven Fur Elise
20. I don't know this one
21. Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2
22. Grieg Morning Mood from Peer Gynt
23. Verdi La Traviata
24. Tchaikovsky Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from The Nutcracker
25. Joplin The Entertainer
26. Brahms Hungarian Dance no. 5
27. Grieg In The Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt
28. Can Can
29. Mendelssohn Wedding March
A 9 famous opera.mp3

Nessun Dorma - Turandot - Puccini
Queen of the Night - Magic Flute Mozart
Largo al Factotum - Barber of Seville - Rossini
Libiamo - La Traviata - Verdi
Bridal Chorus - Lohengrin - Wagner
Habanera - Carmen Bizet
La donna e mobile - Rigoletto - Verdi
Bell huit o nuit d'amour - Tales of Hoffmann - Offenbach
Flower Duet - Lakme - Delibes

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