Anthem=Antiphon, fr. antiphonon: so called because two choirs sing


Anthems are of two sorts--simple Anthems and compound Anthems. A

simple Anthem is one or more verses (often from Holy Scripture), used

to give character to a Psalm. A compound Anthem is a Hymn or Psalm

followed by a Verse, Respond, and Prayer. A simple Anthem was used,

for example, to give an Easter, Advent, &c. character to Venite.

Thus Dec. 16 is marked in the Calendar as O Sapientia because on that

day the following Anthem was used with Magnificat:

O Wisdom, which camest forth out of the mouth of the Most High, and

reachest from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all

things; Come and teach us the way of prudence.

These words are taken, with some alteration, from Wisd. viii. 1. On

each of the seven days which follow, until Dec. 23, a different Anthem

was used with Magnificat; and forasmuch as these eight Anthems begin

with O (O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, &c.), they were known as the

O Anthems. Similarly on The Epiphany, S. Matth. ii. 1, 2, 11 was sung

as an Antiphon to Magnificat; and on Whitsunday S. John iv. 23. {147}

These are instances of the use of simple Anthems in the Services before

1549. The following illustrates the purpose for which they were

appointed. It will be observed that the Advent thought was made to

pervade the whole Psalm.

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