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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).



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.


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
References in periodicals archive ?
He further noted the bill only seeks to change the English version only of the national anthem.
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Earlier in October this year, Pakistan set a new world record after around 70,000 people from the Punjab province sung the national anthem simultaneously.
Every national anthem, it doesn't matter if it is your worst enemy, it's just one or two minutes and you should be quiet and respect it and that should be the same for everyone.
Changing the Kurdish national anthem sparked a heated discussion over whether some phrases contradict Islamic principles.
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Summary: An MP has suggested England needs its own national anthem for sports fans to sing as they cheer on their sporting heroes.
The Parliament of Kyrgyzstan today passed amendments, which require from Kyrgyz citizens present during official performance of the national anthem to sing it apart from standing up and placing the right hand over the heart.
A MEETING of the House Defence Committee yesterday descended into a farce when deputies were forced to discuss a musical error by the National Guard (NG) band during its rendition of the national anthem.
REGARDING the furore about Scottish supporters showing disrespect to the national anthem prior to the game against Northern Ireland, I think it is time to do away with this outdated practice before football matches.
KIDS must be taught the national anthem in schools, opposition MPs are demanding.

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