A National Anthem Update: Some bugs fixed.

One year ago today I broke the news that the National Anthem of Canada contained some bugs. I’m grateful to report that at least one of the following issues has been addressed.

See last year’s post for all the nitpicky details.

Now just so you know, although I usually limit my complaining to blog posts and Twitter, in this case I actually went the extra mile by tagging the Government of Canada Canadian Heritage account.

So what’s changed after a year?


They fixed complaint #2 above. The official sheet music now shows the correct notes.


NewImage 2

NewImage 3




You can see from the metadata in the PDF file that the change was made Feb. 17, 2020, no doubt in response to my tweet.


(You can also see that this PDF was originally created in Adobe InDesign, which explains the generally sloppy typesetting, lack of barlines at the end of each staff, and other formatting errors that wouldn’t happen if it were created in a proper music typesetting application.)

so everything is OK now, right?


Although I’m grateful for the above change, please note that in the new version the dot above the B♭ on “The” in the 2nd example has been shifted. Previously it was correctly to the right of the note, indicating a dotted-eighth note; now it’s above, indicating a staccato note.

This means the sheet music now features the exact same musical error as the National Anthem Act. The act, passed in 1985, includes this fragment of music notation.

NewImage 4

Let me remind you that the image above is the LAW in Canada. Bar 10 of the National Anthem is short one sixteenth note.

I realize that the government has had other things to worry about over the past year, but this is still wrong and I hope will be corrected some day.


it should be in E♭, the National Key Signature. And the last two notes should go up an octave because that’s how everybody sings it.

also also

we still have not designated “Taking Care of Business” as the National Rock and Roll Anthem of Canada. Perhaps that can be rolled into an Act to Correct the Music Notation Of O Canada.

also also also

Please, for the love of God, there is no apostrophe anywhere in the title O Canada.

I can see that my work here is not done. I’ll keep you posted.


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