An Anthem is a religious choral composition with an English text. The anthem was first developed in the mid 16th century and played an important role in the Anglican and Protestant church. Early anthems mostly consisted of four-part pieces written for choir.

Toward the end of the century, the anthem was joined by vocal soloists with the accompaniment of other instruments, usually the organ; thus begins the age of the anthem.

About this time the English composers of the Chapel Royal, Tomkins, Gibbons, and William Byrd were hard at work composing some of greatest anthems of the period. John Blow and his prodigy Purcell continued the era by composing more traditional anthems. Soon after George Frideric Handel offered up more emotional compositions bringing the anthem into a new light of appreciation for it's audience.

Many anthems originated as hymns or marches. Other anthems such as patriotic songs, national anthems, and marches began to appear about the 18th century. Anthems are now universal, that is to say widespread and in common use for such musical intentions.

Classical Anthem

'The Star Spangled Banner (U.S. National Anthem)

Composed by Francis Scott Key 1814

Modern Rock Anthem

'Livin' On A Prayer'

Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child 1986

Renowned Anthems with composers arranged by date











'Christ Rising Again'
'God Spake Sometimes in Visons'
'They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships'
11 Amthems for the Duke of Chandos
'God Save the King' (British National Anthem)
'La Marseillaise' (French National Anthem)
'Emperor's Hymn' (Austrian National Anthem)
'Hear My Prayer'
'I Was Glad'
'Faire is the Heaven'
William Byrd
John Blow
Henry Purcell
George Frideric Handel
Thomas Augustine Arne
Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Joseph Haydn
John Mendelssohn
Hubert Parry
Sir William Harris