national anthem

national anthem

      hymn or song expressing patriotic sentiment and either governmentally authorized as an official national hymn or holding that position in popular feeling. The oldest national anthem is Great Britain's (United Kingdom) “God Save the Queen,” which was described as a national anthem in 1825, although it had been popular as a patriotic song and used on occasions of royal ceremonial since the mid-18th century.

      During the 19th and early 20th centuries, most European countries followed Britain's example, some national anthems being written especially for the purpose, others being adapted from existing tunes. The sentiments of national anthems vary, from prayers for the monarch to allusions to nationally important battles or uprisings (“The Star-Spangled Banner,” United States; “La Marseillaise,” France) to expressions of patriotic feeling (“O Canada”).

      National anthems vary greatly in musical merit; and the verse or text, like the music, has not in every case been written by a national of the country concerned. Changes in politics or international relationships often cause the texts to be altered or a new anthem to be adopted. For example, the former Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) adopted “Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza” (“Hymn of the Soviet Union”) as its national anthem in 1944, replacing the Communist hymn “Internationale,” whose words and music were written in the late 19th century by two French workers.

      Few national anthems have been written by poets or composers of renown, a notable exception being the first Austrian (Austria) national anthem, “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” (“God Save Emperor Francis”), composed by Joseph Haydn (Haydn, Joseph) in 1797 and later (1929) sung to the text “Sei gesegnet ohne Ende” (“Be Blessed Forever”). Haydn's melody was also used for the German national anthem “Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles” (“Germany, Germany Above All”), adopted in 1922. Beginning with its third verse, “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (“Unity and rights and freedom”), it continues in use as the national anthem of Germany, retitled as “Deutschlandlied.” The German national anthem before 1922 had been “Heil dir im Siegerkranz” (“Hail to Thee in Victor's Garlands”), sung to the melody of “God Save the Queen.” (See also Advance Australia Fair; Deutschlandlied; God Save the Queen; Internationale, L'; Marseillaise, La; O Canada; Star-Spangled Banner, The.)

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • National anthem — National Na tion*al (?; 277), a. [Cf. F. national.] 1. Of or pertaining to a nation; common to a whole people or race; public; general; as, a national government, language, dress, custom, calamity, etc. [1913 Webster] 2. Attached to one s own… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • national anthem — noun count the official national song of a country. The Star Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the U.S …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • national anthem — national anthems N COUNT: usu sing A national anthem is a nation s official song which is played or sung on public occasions …   English dictionary

  • national anthem — n the official song of a nation that is sung or played on public occasions …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • National anthem — For the Radiohead song, see The National Anthem. Patriotic song redirects here. For songs known by the title Patriotic Song and similar, see The Patriotic Song. Instrumental performance of the Russian national anthem at the 2010 Moscow Victory… …   Wikipedia

  • national anthem — noun a song formally adopted as the anthem for a nation (Freq. 1) • Hypernyms: ↑anthem • Instance Hyponyms: ↑Marseillaise, ↑The Star Spangled Banner * * * noun, pl ⋯ thems [count] : a song that praises a particular country and that is officially… …   Useful english dictionary

  • national anthem — /næʃnəl ˈænθəm/ (say nashnuhl anthuhm) noun a song officially adopted by a nation for use at public gatherings, official ceremonies, etc. The Australian national anthem is Advance Australia Fair . The exact date of its composition is unknown; it… …   Australian English dictionary

  • national anthem — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms national anthem : singular national anthem plural national anthems the official national song of a country …   English dictionary

  • national anthem — n. to play; sing; strike up the national anthem * * * sing strike up the national anthem to play …   Combinatory dictionary

  • national anthem —    The Royal March (Marcha Real), an anonymous piece of music dating from the eighteenth century, was adopted officially as the Spanish national anthem in 1976. It had, however, been commonly used since at least the early nineteenth century on… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

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