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A national anthem in general, is a patriotic musical composition that is recognized formally by a country's government as their country's official national song. This idea of identy came about during the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, with the rise of the national states. It was at this time when most countries adopted a national anthem, which often times coexisted with other commonly sung patriotic songs. For example, Although Canada's official national anthem is "Oh Canada", another widely recognized national song is "The Hockey Song", due to Canada's strong history in the sport of hockey. Typically, anthems will try to acomplish the goal of reflecting the unity of a nation by galvanizing the history, traditions and struggles of its people within the song. In the nineteenth century as anthems first rose to prominence in Europe the style of music common then has continued to be used in almost every national anthem.
Even where western orchestral music was a foreign notion, like in nations of Africa and Asia, the national anthem is still usually in European style. Some countries have challenged the dominance of dated orchestral music, like Australia for example. "Advance Australia Fair" has been the national anthem of Australia since 1984, but there is much support for the folk ballad "Waltzing Matilda" as a national song. Some even considerate a candidate for the national anthem. This is much like the example I mentioned above with Canada and "The Hockey Song" National anthems have in the past and will continue in the future to be an important part of the history of the countries of the world.