Why Is the 'Ode to Joy' the Default National Anthem?

Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is the apparently the default national anthem, for countries that don’t already have such a tune. The European Union uses it. Also, during the Olympics, it is clear some African nations use it too.


I have nothing against the Ode to Joy. I mean, when I was learning the recorder as a child, it was the easiest to play, because you’re basically just playing the same three notes up and down the scale.

But why Ode to Joy? Anthems are supposed to be uplifting, deep and personal. Personally, if someone wants to compose a national anthem, I would submit they use the tune from “He Shall Feed His Flock” from Handel’s Messiah. Here, judge for yourselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6TS583OsYU (Note. There is a small “recitative” before “He Shall Feed His Flock” in this link ["…then shall the eyes of the blind be opened…" etc.].)

Well, that’s my opinion. What do the rest of you think:):):)?

It’s pretty, it’s extremely well known, it declares ideals that no one seriously disagrees with, and (as yet) it doesn’t have associations with unpleasant ideologies.

Can anyone come up with a better candidate?

("'Twas on the Good Ship Venus" just won’t fill the bill. Darn it.)

ETA: your candidate is too specifically Christian in nature, and thus would produce a sense of exclusion among many non-Christians.

ETA again: your candidate is, most certainly, very, very lovely!

I guess if a country has no national anthem, or at least, the Olympic committee has no recording of a country’s national anthem, the Ode to Joy might come in handy. I suppose there are more inoffensive well-known tunes, but off hand, I can’t think of any more well-known.

Well, besides “The Hokey Pokey”.

We in West Hokipokyldavia find that suggestion unamusing.

Unamusing. That’s what it’s all about!

( ducks and runs from angry Hokipokyldavians )

I see your hometown has finally abandoned the ridiculous name of Sandy Eggo. Clearly, “West Hokipokyldavia” is an enormous improvement.

As to the OP, you’re seriously trying to advocate for Handel over Beethoven?

It seems to be the default for countries (and disputed areas) that choose not to use their national anthem for whatever reason. It could be as simple as some countries not bothering to submit their music.

I’m guessing the idea of a national anthem is not one that every country puts a lot of weight in to.

Because it has a beat, and you can dance to it.

Yeah, get a grip.

What’s not to like about Ode to Joy? It’s a song about being happy.

No, they’re not supposed to be personal; they’re supposed to be national. They’re supposed to stir you up, not put you to sleep.

Too gentle for a national anthem. “Ode to Joy” is something you can crank up to 11, with horns and percussion, to let the whole stadium hear.

Except all of them (except Cyprus) have one, at least officially.

Oh, and my suggested default anthem: “Louie Louie”, of course. Distinctive melody, and since nobody understands the words, anyone can sing what they want.

Yeah, it was Rhodesia’s anthem, with new lyrics.

This may sound a bit silly, but B’s 9th is used in lieu of an anthem because it is anthemic. It has strong, resounding music, a serious tone, and is memorable.

Because they’d have to pay royalties to use In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida?

You win the thread. That would be an *awesome *anthem.

Those poor anthemless bastards need a little instrumental Billy Ray after they win the gold. That would knock the socks off those losers at the Olympiad!

Its a very stirring song that proclaims the brotherhood of man. The only other song that comes close to this is the Internationale which of course is objectionable to many for its ideology.

We sang this at our wedding–using the Christian lyrics “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” by Henry Van Dyke.

And we like sheep.