No Words? | Two Chums

by Two Chums on May 15, 2024

No Words Two Chums

Written in 1761 as a military march for the Spanish infantry, the “Marcha Real”, or “Royal March”, is a rousing national anthem similar to many others, except for one thing — it has no lyrics.

Of the hundreds of national anthems around the world, only four don’t have words: the “Marcha Real,” and the anthems of Kosovo, San Marino, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. During events such as the Olympics or the World Cup, Spanish players and spectators — dressed in the national colors of red and yellow — usually just hum the melody.

Many have tried to put lyrics to the “Marcha Real” — or even replace the song entirely.

In 1870, Spanish General Juan Prim called for a contest to find a new national anthem in line with Spain’s new liberal government. After a panel of three composers pored over 400 entries, they decided that none of the submissions was worthy enough to replace the “Marcha Real”. During the brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939–1975), lyrics written by the poet José María Pemán were often used, but they were abandoned when the Franco regime ended.

As recently as 2007, Spain tried one more time to add lyrics for the upcoming Olympics, but the result was rejected by the Spanish people in part for its similarities to the words sung during Franco’s regime.

Today, “Marcha Real” is still without official lyrics, and that’s apparently just how Spaniards like it.  We will be able to witness it shortly with the Olympics coming up!

So, march on they will!

Jackie and Robin

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