National anthems don’t just serve to identify a country. They are a symbol of their citizens’ identity and usually summarize their history, their aspirations, their struggles or their spirit. They are more than just songs; They are a tribute to the national spirit, a rallying cry in times of need and a reminder of the values that bind the people together. While each is perfect for the country in which they live, we asked a more neutral arbiter, OpenAI’s artificial intelligence GPT-4, to select and rate the most beautiful hymns based on lyrics, melody and meaning. This is the ranking:
Artificial intelligence has chosen the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” at the top of this list due to its historical significance and emotional power. It was composed in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and became the anthem of the French Revolution. The text is a true call to arms, a moving call for citizens to rise up against tyranny. According to AI, it is one of the most famous and powerful anthems in the world due to its melody and lyrics.
The Stars and Stripes – United States
The American anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key during the war against Great Britain in 1814, is famous for its moving narrative. The lyrics tell of the resistance and strength of the nation. Derived from an English folk song, the anthem’s melody is known for its wide vocal range and moving crescendo, making it an unforgettable piece of music. Whitney Houston’s version is the most popular.
Kimigayo – Japan
With its quiet dignity and brevity, Japan’s national anthem “Kimigayo” offers a stark contrast to the American one. It is not for nothing that it is one of the shortest hymns in existence. The text, taken from a poem from the Heian period (794-1185), is a moving expression of longevity and continuity, comparing the emperor’s rule to the endurance of a small stone. The melody is simple and introspective and fits the lyrics perfectly.
Lion Sikelel’ iAfrica – South Africa
The South African anthem “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” is characterized by its multilingual composition. It brings together five of South Africa’s eleven most widely spoken official languages: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English. The melody, taken from an 1897 hymn by South African writer and missionary Enoch Sontonga, is truly beautiful and loud, reflecting the country’s diverse cultural influences.
Jana Gana Mana – India
India’s national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana” (meaning “the spirit of the whole people”), was written by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1911 and is a tribute to the diversity and unity of the nation. The text in the It is a Sanskrit form of the Bengali language and praises India’s geographical vastness and its pluralistic spirit. Its melody is harmonious and solemn. Among its verses is heard: “It is mixed with the music of Ganga and Yamuna; and it is sung by the waves of the Indian Sea. Pray for your blessings and sing your praises.” The anthem that embodies India’s complex cultural identity and its uplifting melody earns it a place on this list.