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[ultimately from antiphonantiphon
, in Roman Catholic liturgical music, generally a short text sung before and after a psalm or canticle. The main use is in group singing of the Divine Office in a monastery.
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], short nonliturgical choral composition used in Protestant services, usually accompanied and having an English text. The term is used in a broader sense for "national anthems" and for the Latin motets still used occasionally in Anglican services. A full anthem is entirely choral, while a verse anthem includes parts for solo singers. The anthem arose in the Anglican Church, as the English counterpart of the Latin motet, through the work of Christopher Tye (c.1500–1573), Thomas TallisTallis or Tallys, Thomas,
c.1510–1585, English composer, who served the royal household, from c.1537 to his death, as organist.
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, and William ByrdByrd, William,
1543–1623, English composer, organist at Lincoln Cathedral and, jointly with Tallis, at the Chapel Royal. Although Roman Catholic, he composed anthems and services for the English Church in addition to his great Roman masses and Latin motets.
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 (1543–1623). Early anthems were often in the style of Latin motets, sometimes being merely an English text set to well-known motets. In the late 17th cent. composers such as Henry Purcell and John Blow, under Italian influences, wrote verse anthems with several movements, as in cantatas. George F. Handel's anthems, in the tradition of the full anthem, are, like those of Purcell and Blow, too elaborate for ordinary church use. Since the 19th cent. extracts from oratorios, masses, passions, etc., are commonly used as anthems, but these pieces are not anthems in the original sense of the term.


See M. B. Foster, Anthems and Anthem Composers (1901, repr. 1970); W. L. Reed and M. J. Bristow, ed., National Anthems of the World (1988).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a nonliturgical religious choral composition, English in origin, that is set to a biblical text. The anthem, which is similar to the motet or cantata, has been sung in England since the mid-16th century, when prominent composers in the genre were T. Tallis, W. Byrd, and O. Gibbons. Famous examples of the anthem may be found in the works of H. Purcell and G. F. Handel. There are two types of anthem: the full anthem, written primarily for chorus, and the verse anthem, in which the chorus is supplemented by additional voices, usually a solo voice or duet. Anthems are sometimes accompanied by an orchestra or an organ.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a song of loyalty or devotion, as to a nation or college
2. a musical composition for a choir, usually set to words from the Bible, sung as part of a church service
3. a religious chant sung antiphonally
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"Let's all sing the redneck national anthem: Settle for what you can get."
KARACHI -- For the last three years, Ali Zafar was the chosen one for Pakistan Super League's (PSL) official anthem. While the singer made it work just about every time, rumour has it that another acclaimed singer will be taking his spot for PSL season 4.
This danger, in common with that faced by Latino countries in 1815, explains why our national anthem is a mirror image of the anthems of our Latino cousins.
Mushtaq Minhas says govt will not change lyrics, written by Hafeez Jullundhri The state cabinet of Azad Jammu Kashmir, in its meeting under Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan in Muzaffarabad City, has announced re-composition of the Kashmiri national anthem ndash Watan Hamara, written in the mid-1960s by Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez Jullundhri, a poet who famously wrote lyrics for the state anthem of Pakistan.
Except for a hostile reference to the Scots in verse six (rebellious Scots to crush), unlike all other national anthems that I know of, no nation or country is mentioned or even implied in its verses.
Some NFL owners believe there is a strong possibility they will enact an offseason change to the leagues national anthem policy if the players protests during the anthem persist through the end of this season, reverting to a previous approach of keeping players in the locker room while the anthem is played, according to several people familiar with the leagues inner workings.
IN answer to D White of Whitley Bay, the difference between our national anthem and the French national anthem is related to when they were written.
The regional and International Anthems have been in use since quite some time now.
Warren was appalled by the shameful behaviour of some of Hatton's supporters and considered scrapping the national anthems for Calzaghe's showdown with Bernard Hopkins.
NORTH Wales boxing fans have condemned a decision to scrap the Welsh and American national anthems at Joe Calzaghe's fight next month for fear of booing.
And IFA chief Jim Boyce, who said he was 'disappointed' at the crowd behaviour, has called for FIFA and UEFA to look at the practice of playing national anthems before kick-off.