John Stafford Smith

John Stafford Smith

1750 - 1836

Though an Englishman, John Stafford Smith's compositional output is woven into the fabric of American culture: he composed the tune of what became America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."


Born in Gloucester, John Stafford Smith was best known as a glee composer, though many of his songs and madrigals are innovative and unique. For example, his piece "Sweet Poet of the Woods" employs quarter-tones.

After joining the Anacreontic Society in 1766, Smith composed "Anacreon To Heaven" for the singing and drinking club. The tune of this song became that of America's national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Also considered the first English musicologist, Smith collected thousands of priceless manuscripts and publications, copiously researched and wrote about the history of music. His publication Musica Antiqua provided scholars with a much-needed and well-researched history of music.

--Christie Finn

Songs & Song Collections BY Smith (entered to date)
POETS & Writers Set BY Smith (entered to date)


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