"song," "anthem"= musical composition.

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 23 01:03:18 UTC 2006

At 3:20 PM -0800 12/22/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>An outfit called Bamzu (a retail sales arm of Turner Broadcasting)
>is offering a multi-CD collection called _The Best 100_.  The TV
>commercials feature a narrator with an extremely upper-crust English
>accent (or an attempt at one) informing us that the collection
>comprises a hundred of the best "songs" of all time.  (The website
>turns "songs" into "anthems.")
>   Of course none of the compositions featured on the commercial are
>actually "songs." They have no words. They have titles like
>"Pachelbel: Can in D Major"and "Holst: Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity."

To be played in the background while reading one of those non-fiction novels...

>   This general usage of song is not unprecedented. Twenty-odd years
>ago a friend of mine who played Irish fiddle music indiscriminately
>refrerred to all his pieces as "songs," whether there wer words or

Well, even Liszt and Schumann had their "songs without words"


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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