Chorale is Vocal music, a capella or accompanied, composed for 4 voices . It was introduced to Protestant churches during 16th century by Martin Luther ; chorales are sung by the congregation till nowadays.
The harmonization is simple, so that people without musical skills can participate. Melody is taken from already known hymns and it is used as a cantus firmus in first voice. A chorale is sung in vernacular rather in Latin. J S Bach brought chorale into prominence mostly by harmonizing already existing melodies ( many of them had been composed by Luther). Some of these harmonized melodies were incorporated in Bach's famous "passions" and cantatas.
Luther was a musician himself and he had translated many Latin hymns in German. He considered the chorale as the cornerstone of the reformation.
Chorale had a great impact in shaping the repertoire in Germany, text and music, in order to serve religious purposes while being different from Gregorian chant and polyphony. Other chorale composers of that era were Johann Walther (1496-
The oldest sources of Protestant chorale dating back to 1524 contain many of the most beautiful works, an integrated part of protestant repertoire till nowadays .
Coral Martin Luther 4