noun \ˈan(t)-thəm\

: a formal song of loyalty, praise, or happiness

: a song that is important to a particular group of people

Full Definition of ANTHEM

a :  a psalm or hymn sung antiphonally or responsively
b :  a sacred vocal composition with words usually from the Scriptures
:  a song or hymn of praise or gladness
:  a usually rousing popular song that typifies or is identified with a particular subculture, movement, or point of view <anthems of teenage angst>
an·the·mic \ˌan(t)-ˈthē-mik, -ˈthe-\ adjective

Examples of ANTHEM

  1. <fervently sang an anthem of praise to the Lord>

Origin of ANTHEM

Middle English antem, from Old English antefn, from Late Latin antiphona, from Late Greek antiphōna, plural of antiphōnon, from Greek, neuter of antiphōnos responsive, from anti- + phōnē sound — more at ban
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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.


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