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ANTHEM, derived from the Gr. ἀντίφωνα, through the Saxon
antefn, a word which originally had the same meaning as antiphony (q.v.).
It is now, however, generally restricted to a form
of Church31447-h.htm'>Church music, particularly in the service of the Church31447-h.htm'>Church of
England, in which it is appointed by the rubrics to follow the
third collect at both morning and evening prayer, “in choirs and
places where they sing.” It is just as usual in this place to have
an ordinary hymn as an anthem, which is a more elaborate
composition than the congregational hymns. Several anthems
are included in the English coronation service. The words are
selected from Holy Scripture or in some cases from the Liturgy,
and the music is generally more elaborate and varied than that
of psalm or hymn tunes. Anthems may be written for solo
voices only, for the full choir, or for both, and according to this
distinction are called respectively Verse, Full, and Full with Verse.
Though the anthem of the Church of England is analogous to the
motet of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches, both being
written for a trained choir and not for the congregation, it is as
a musical form essentially English in its origin and development.
The English school of musicians has from the first devoted its
chief attention to this form, and scarcely a composer of any note
can be named who has not written several good anthems. Tallis,
Tye, Byrd, and Farrant in the 16th century; Orlando Gibbons,
Blow, and Purcell in the 17th, and Croft, Boyce, James Kent,
James Nares, Benjamin Cooke, and Samuel Arnold in the 18th
were famous composers of anthems, and in more recent times
the names are too numerous to mention.
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