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National Anthem

The Origin

With a stirring melody and lyrics that echo the enduring hope and spirit of Singaporeans for progress, the National Anthem, "Majulah Singapura" (meaning "Onward Singapore"), is a musical expression of Singapore's identity as a nation.

"Majulah Singapura" was composed in 1958 by the late Encik Zubir Said. Then Mayor of the City Council of Singapore, Mr Ong Eng Guan, approached Encik Zubir Said to write an official song for the City Council to commemorate the newly renovated Victoria Theatre. It was first played by the Singapore Chamber Ensemble. It was performed again on 3 December 1959 as Singapore's National Anthem.


Recounting his thoughts on writing the Anthem, Encik Zubir Said said:

The difficulty is in such a short melody, I have to put in all the words in very simple… it must be very simple, understandable for all the races in Singapore. So that takes long. Not the music but the words take long. I got to be very careful. So I consulted also an author in language, in Malay language so that I can do it in proper Malay language but not too deep and not too difficult.

Oral history interview with Encik Zubir Said
by the National Archives of Singapore, 1984
.


In 1959, when Dr Toh Chin Chye was searching for an anthem for Singapore, he expressed interest in Encik Zubir Said’s composition, but requested the composer to make some changes.

I told him that for a National Anthem it must be brief, to the point, which people can remember easily and can be sung.

Oral history interview with Dr Toh Chin Chye
by the National Archives of Singapore, 1989.


Dr Toh also wanted the Anthem to be in Malay, as this is the indigenous language of the region.

"A Malay version of the National Anthem would appeal to all races," he stated.

In response to Dr Toh's feedback, Encik Zubir Said made adjustments to shorten the lyrics of the original City Council song and tweaked its melody to create the National Anthem that we sing today.


A New Recording of Our National Anthem

On 19 January 2001, a re-orchestrated version of "Majulah Singapura" was launched in order to make the anthem more accessible to all Singaporeans. It was re-arranged by local composer and Cultural Medallion winner, Mr Phoon Yew Tien, in the musical key of F. This arrangement was chosen as it was deemed "grander and more inspiring". It has remained the official version of the Anthem ever since.

In 2019, to commemorate the National Symbols’ 60th anniversary, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) re-recorded the Anthem. It retained Encik Zubir Said’s original lyrics and Mr Phoon Yew Tien’s arrangement, recognising the Anthem’s enduring and unifying qualities. The updated recording is of a higher quality, allowing Singaporeans to better appreciate the nuances of the music arrangement, especially in larger venues and modern sound systems.

Encik Zubir Said: Composer for the Nation

"Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung"
["You should hold up the sky of the land where you live"].

Oral history interview with Encik Zubir Said
by the National Archives of Singapore, 1984.


Born in Central Sumatra to a Minangkabau family, the late Encik Zubir Said (1907-1987) was a music composer for the Cathay-Keris Film Company when he was approached to pen an anthem for the City Council in 1958.

In an interview in 1967, Encik Zubir Said said that he was inspired by the words "Majulah Singapura" near the foyer of the Victoria Theatre and wanted to capture the mood and heighten the feelings of the people of Singapore towards their country. He believed that one should be loyal to, and proud of the place one calls home.

Encik Zubir Said received no payment for writing the Anthem. But in 1963, he was conferred the Sijil Kemuliaan (Certificate of Honour) by the Singapore Government. In 1987, Encik Zubir Said received the ASEAN Cultural and Communications Award.


Lyrics and Meaning

The National Anthem was originally written in Malay. The lyrics are provided as follows. You can also find its musical score and lyric translations in Singapore's three other official languages (English, Chinese and Tamil) below.

Majulah Singapura

Mari kita rakyat Singapura
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
Berjaya Singapura
Marilah kita bersatu
Dengan semangat yang baru
Semua kita berseru
Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura

前进吧,新加坡!

来吧,新加坡人民,
让我们共同向幸福迈进;
我们崇高的理想,
要使新加坡成功。
来吧,让我们以新的精神,
团结在一起;
我们齐声欢呼:
前进吧,新加坡!
前进吧,新加坡!

Onward Singapore

Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together
May our noble aspiration bring
Singapore success
Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Let our voices soar as one
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

Click here for the Anthem in Tamil (pdf version).


The National Anthem Guidelines

The National Anthem Guidelines

Guidelines for the singing and playing of the National Anthem have been relaxed to encourage the singing of the Anthem at all events of national significance.

How it may be used

  1. Public and private organisations can sing or play the National Anthem, on any appropriate occasion. Singaporeans are encouraged to sing the Anthem on occasions of national celebration or national significance.

  2. Either the instrumental or vocal versions may be played. Organisations and individuals are encouraged to play the full version where possible. However, on occasions which do not involve official ceremonies and where there are time constraints, the abridged version may be played. Besides the versions produced by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), other rearranged versions may also be used, provided that the tune and lyrics of the Anthem are complete and performed with dignity.

  3. Dignity and decorum should be observed whenever it is played or sung. Everyone must stand at attention as a mark of respect.

How it cannot be used or treated

  1. It must not be incorporated into any other composition or medley.
  2. It must only be sung following the original lyrics, not any translation of those lyrics.

The Credits

Music and Lyrics - Zubir Said
Re-arrangement - Phoon Yew Tien
Project Advisor - Bernard Tan

2019 Singapore Symphony Orchestra Recording

Performers
Orchestra Conductor: Joshua Tan
Orchestra: Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Choral Director: Eudenice Palaruan
Choirmaster: Wong Lai Foon
Choirs: Singapore Symphony Chorus, Singapore Symphony Youth Choir, Singapore Symphony Children's Choir

Recording
August 2019 at Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore
Producer: Dominik Streicher (msm-productions Singapore Pte Ltd)
Recording engineer: Zhou Xiaodong (Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music)
Executive producer: Chng Hak-Peng

2001 Singapore Symphony Orchestra Recording

Performers
Orchestra Conductor: Lim Yau
Orchestra: Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Choir Conductor: Jennifer Tham
Choir: Singapore Youth Choir
Soloist: Jacintha Abisheganaden

Recording
Engineer: Ross Cockle
Technical Engineer: Kevin Nai
Equipment: Team 108
Production: Hype Records
Coordinator: Jeremy Foo
Executive Producer: Ken Lim

Singapore Armed Forces Central Band Versions 

Music and Lyrics: Zubir Said
Re-arrangement: Phoon Yew Tien
Transcribed for wind band: ME6 Tng Liat Peng Philip
Conductor ME6 Tng Liat Peng Philip
Recorded by the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band


Video Clip

A video clip of our national anthem.

National Anthem Music Downloads:

Download the National Anthem Music Score Sheets

Solo Voice and Piano version | Size: 1.2MB
Choir version | Size: 2.5MB
Full Orchestra Version | Size: 4.2MB
Full Orchestra (Abridged Version) | Size: 3.1MB
Full Orchestra with Choir version | Size: 6.1MB
Piano Solo version | Size: 1.2MB

Download the National Anthem (audio files)

2019 Singapore Symphony Orchestra Recording
2019 Full Singapore Symphony Orchestra with Choir Version| WAV | Size: 26MB
2019 Full Singapore Symphony Orchestra (instrumental)| WAV | Size: 26MB

2001 Singapore Symphony Orchestra Recording
Piano Solo Version| MP3 | Size: 1MB
Choir Version| MP3 | Size: 1MB
Full Orchestra (Abridged Version)| MP3 | Size: 583KB

Singapore Armed Forces Central Band Recording
SAF Band Version | MP3 | Size: 3MB
SAF Band Version (Abridged Version)| MP3 | Size: 1.7MB


Frequently Asked Questions

Singing or playing the Anthem

  1. When should the Anthem be sung?

    Public and private organisations can sing or play the Anthem on any appropriate occasion. Singaporeans are encouraged to sing the Anthem on occasions of national celebration or national significance.

  2. Must participants face the Flag while singing the Anthem? What happens if it is raining and the ceremony takes place in an auditorium?

    There are no guidelines stating that participants must face the Flag while singing the Anthem. However, it is encouraged to do so as this adds to the significance of the moment. If it is raining, and the ceremony takes place indoors, you might wish to purchase a portable Flag displayed on a wooden stand for display indoors for the ceremony. Alternatively, many agencies also produce a simple PowerPoint slide with an image of the Flag which they play on the screen during the ceremony.

  3. I noticed that there are English, Chinese and Tamil translations for the Anthem. Does that mean that I can sing the Anthem in these other languages?

    No. The Anthem must be sung following the original Malay lyrics, and not any translations of those lyrics.

  4. I noticed that there is an abridged version of the Anthem? Can I play that instead of the full version?

    Yes, if an event is not an official ceremony and if there are constraints that do not allow you to play the full version. However, we would encourage all organisations to play the full version of the Anthem when possible.

  5. What is the protocol to observe when the full or the abridged version of the Anthem is played?

    Whether the full or the abridged version of the Anthem is played, all participants should stand at attention as a mark of respect. However, please do note that only the full version of the Anthem may be sung to. There should not be any singing to the abridged version of the Anthem. Simply standing to attention when the abridged version is played would be sufficient.

 Recordings of the National Anthem

  1. I remember watching a video of the Anthem (like an MTV) on television. Where can I get hold of a copy of this video?

    A copy of this video is found in a copy of "Majulah Singapura: The National Anthem of Singapore" AVCD which was produced in 2000. Copies of this AVCD can be purchased at all major bookstores or through the distributors, MarketAsia Distributors. MarketAsia can be contacted at DID: 6744 8483 or via their website.

  2. I would like the audio tracks of the Anthem. Where can I get it?

    The audio tracks are currently available online for download.

National Anthem scores

  1. I would like to obtain a copy of the score for the Anthem. Where can I find it?

    The scores are currently available on this page for download. There are six different versions of the score, so please feel free to select the one that is most appropriate for your use.