National anthem  

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This page National anthem is part of the politics series.Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.
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This page National anthem is part of the politics series.
Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A national anthem (also national hymn, song etc.) is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people. The majority of national anthems are either marches or hymns in style. The countries of Latin America tend towards more operatic pieces, while a handful of countries use a simple fanfare.

Although national anthems are usually in the most common language of the country, whether de facto or official, there are notable exceptions. India's anthem, "Jana Gana Mana", is in a highly Sanskritized version of Bengali. States with more than one national language may offer several versions of their anthem: For instance, Switzerland's anthem has different lyrics for each of the country's four official languages (French, German, Italian and Romansh). Canada's national anthem has different lyrics for both of the country's official languages (English and French), and on some occasions is sung with a mixture of stanzas taken from its French and English versions. The Sri Lankan national anthem has translated lyrics for each of the country's official languages Sinhala and Tamil. It was actually written in Sinhala, but a Tamil translation is also played on some occasions and mostly played in Tamil Provinces and Tamil schools. On the other hand, South Africa's national anthem is unique in that five of the country's eleven official languages are used in the same anthem (the first stanza is divided between two languages, with each of the remaining three stanzas in a different language). Apart from God Save the Queen, the New Zealand national anthem is now traditionally sung with the first verse in Māori (Aotearoa) and the second in English (God Defend New Zealand). The tune is the same but the words are not a direct translation of each other. Another multilingual country, Spain, has no words in its anthem, La Marcha Real, although in 2007 a national competition to write words was unsuccessfully launched.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "National anthem" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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