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Choral composition with English words used in church services. It developed in the mid-16th century as the Anglican version of the Catholic Latin motet. The full anthem is for unaccompanied chorus throughout; the verse anthem employs one or more soloists and, generally, instrumental accompaniment. Both types often employ antiphonal singing, the alternation of two half-choirs (anthem derives from antiphon). William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, and George Frideric Handel wrote well-known anthems.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on anthem, visit Britannica.com.