Hymns, marches, songs or fanfares used as official patriotic symbols.
National anthems are the equivalent in music of a country’s motto, crest or flag. The English term ‘anthem’ as applied to such a piece became current in the early 19th century; in most other languages the word corresponding to the English ‘hymn’ is used. The occasions upon which national anthems are required vary from country to country, but one of their main functions has always been to pay homage to a reigning monarch or head of state; they are therefore normally called for on ceremonial occasions when such a person or his representative is present. The playing of anthems in theatres, cinemas and concert halls, now less widespread than it once was, dates from ...