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Chorale melodies

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  • Chorale melodies

    <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: medium; "><div style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); padding-top: 8px; padding-right: 8px; padding-bottom: 8px; padding-left: 8px; ">

    Those of you who listen to or play a lot of Bach or other Baroque organ music probably have developed a knowledge of chorale melodies. Do you have any favourites?</p>


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    Personally, I am fond of Meine Seele erhebet den Herren, possibly due to the simplicity of its structure.I also like Befiehl du deine Wege (the older melody in the Phrygian mode, preferably with the 3 - 1 cadence at the end not diluted by a passing note) for the beauty of its melodic line - and I have to say, I find a perverse sort of pleasure in these chorales that finish on V!* I enjoy Wachet Auf, which seems to be an especially well-constructed melody. The final line, in particular, seems to lead relentlessly to the tonic in a way that just sticks in your head. Finally, Allein Gott seems to have served composers admirably as fodder for compositions, from the variations of Sweelinck and his contemporaries to the more elaborate chorale preludes by Bach.</p>

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    *This has led me to search for those chorales that are most problematic for modern ears. So far, my champion is Christum wir sollen loben schon, which being in the Phrygian mode finishes on V, but seems to start on chord iv. Hopefully, somebody more versed in chorales than I can come up with some other ideas - or possibly correct me regarding the opinions I've put forth here </p></div></span>

  • #2
    Re: Chorale melodies

    If we're talking German chorales, y'all can check out gesangbuch.org which has the texts for almost any Lutheran chorale imaginable, 950 in all. Certainly all the ones JSB ever used....and so many ancient ones that hardly anyone knows anymore!

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