Music in History

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Renaissance_16th c

16th century. Music in Germany


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 (1496-1570) and Valentin Bapst. This name exists in a hymnal. We  know nothing further  about him.
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

                              A Mighty Fortress Is Our God - Martin Luther

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