The English anthem
Angel, Clark B.
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From the thirteenth century on, the antiphons to the propers of the Mass and to certain canticles of the Offices in the Roman Rite were sung to polyphonic motet settings. After the English Reformation in 1534, antiphons eventually disappeared from the services of the Book of Common Prayer and with them the motets. Because they had been a popular feature of the services, it was not long before a need was felt for an equivalent and the English anthem came into being. (The word "anthem" is but a corruption of the earlier terms for "antiphon".) The reformers desired that the complex additions of medieval pietism to the Roman Rite be either omitted or simplified and the attitude applied also to church music as did the ruling that all of the services be in a "tongue understanded of the people". The first Full Anthems of Tye, Tallis, Shepherd, Farrant, and others were in the simple, familiar style but with brief imitative "points" at the beginning of each phrase of the English text. The wish that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, had expressed to Henry VIII that "the song...should not be full of notes but, as near as may be, for every syllable a note" was at first meticulously followed." [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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