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Congregational Singing

from the MGG I (Bärenreiter, 1986)

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 30, 2005):
”Even though a good many of the four-part chorales are to be found in modern hymnals, they were not composed for congregational use. Most were originally included in cantatas and Passions, to be sung by the choir, and can be identified with specific works. Presumably a significant proportion of the remainder was written for the 100 or so cantatas no longer extant. ” [Excerpted from the article on 'Chorale' in the OCC.] from the article on 'Chorale' in the OCC.

Comments on the following article on "Congregational Singing" from the MGG I (Bärenreiter, 1986):

What follows is a quasi-summary, quasi-translation of this lengthy article with which I have taken the liberty to focus on some material more closely while omitting other material such as certain lists and references and trying to summarize the important points regarding the material that is not translated.

The question was raised on this list whether the congregation joined the choir and orchestra in singing (the 4-pt) chorales in Bach's Passions, oratorios, and cantatas. For those who do not want to read my summary translation to find out the answer, here are some key points that are made:

1) At the beginning of the 20th century particularly, but also in the time since then, intensive research was conducted to come up with a definitive answer to this question. It was R. Wustmann, one of the staunchest advocates for including congregational singing in the Passions, oratorios, and cantatas wherever simple 4-pt. chorales are sung by the choir (and accompanied by the instruments) who unearthed a document by C. Gerber, "Historie der Kirchen-Zäremonien in Sachsen," Dresden und Leipzig , 1732, from which extensive quotations were included in the MGG I article on congregational singing (these are directly translated in my summary/translation.) Wustmann's articles appeared in the Bach-Jahrbuch in 1909 and 1910. [R. Wustmann, "Konnte Bachs Gemeinde bei seinen einfachen Choralsätzen mitsingen?" {"Could Bach's congregation sing along with the simpler chorale settings?"} in Bach-Jahrbuch VI, 1909, 102ff.; ibid., "Passion, Kantate und Gemeindechoral" {"Passion, Cantata and Congregational Chorale"} in MschrfGkK XV, 1910, 278ff.; ibid., "Bachs Musik im Gottesdienst" {"Bach's Music in the Church Services"} in "Der 22. Deutsche evangelische Kirchengesangs-Tag zu Dessau 1909," Leipzig, 1909, 41ff.]

I call your attention specifically to these Gerber quotations which are well worth reading and studying, albeit with an important caveat. Unfortunately Gerber speaks only vaguely about 'eine vornehme Stadt' ['a distinguished city'] where the inclusion of congregational singing in the concerted Passions took place. This 'city' might more possibly refer to Dresden (the location of the ruler of the region which included Leipzig and 'the presence of nobility at the church services' which he reports) where unusual conditions existed regarding the balance between Protestant and Catholic church services.

Wustmann also refers to Passions by Kuhnau and Telemann, among others, where there seem to be a few indications in the score for congregational singing.

Walter Blankenburg, the author of the MGG I section of the article where this information is included, also lists important objections which still have not been laid aside with substantive, definitive evidence demonstrating that Bach actually followed this practice in Leipzig during his tenure. Certainly similar indications in Bach's scores, such as those which Bach included for the insertion of 'Laudes' in his first version of the Magnificat (BWV 243a), should be observable in his Passions as well. [As it turns out, even the 'Laudes' normally sung by the congregation are set in such a way that only a very good choir would be able to sing them properly.] Blankenburg has also raised the question, as Doug Cowling recently observed, regarding the high range of numerous chorale melodies (cantus firmus) in Bach's settings which would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the congregation to sing along. Also to be considered is the growing lack of enthusiasm for congregational singing which took place during Bach's tenure in Leipzig and the subsequent decades as a result of the attitudes that grew out of the Age of Enlightenment.

Without hard evidence, which still has not come to light, neither side can claim that it has reasonable proof one way or the other. It would be just as incorrect to claim that Bach did this (included congregational singing in his concerted church music) as it would be to say that there is no way that Bach would ever have tolerated such an inclusion.

2. The history of congregational singing among the evangelical congregations varies considerably from country to country, locale to locale and from one generation to another. Although Luther's suggestions were generally accepted in toto or partially, local influences often did prevail that allowed different directions to be pursued (these in turn, such as the psalm melodies emanating from Straßburg and Geneva, etc. enriched the staunch Lutheran regions who benefited from an increased repertoire of chorale melodies.) The local influences could propel congregational singing forward immensely, while other regions and local churches elsewhere were struggling hard to achieve even a semblance of good, enthusiastic congregational singing. There are definite 'hills and valleys' that can be observed in regard to congregational participation. In this regard, I did not even include the extremes reported in Catholic congregational singing (a part that I skipped entirely), where congregational singing practically died out entirely at times only to begin to flower at other times (mainly at the whim of the Vatican.)

3. An important phenomenon in congregational singing is 'Isorhythmisierung' ['isorhythmicalization' or 'isorhythmization' (neither word in the OED)] which means that some of the earlier chorales which contained meter changes within the chorale or had varying lengths of notes (whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes) with differing time signatures were forced into a kind of strait jacket of containing mainly or only quarter notes throughout the entire chorale melody. Bach was faced with this problem of increasing isorhythmization of chorale melodies which was part of a growing trend, but he also resisted its effects in his chorale settings, preserving some of the original conception of the early chorales (particularly from the early 17th century.) Bach would include leading and passing notes in the chorale melody as well as include various embellishments. The time signatures would also include, instead of the predominant 4/4, a ¾ or 3/2 (BWV 123/6 ) or even a change of meter within the melody (BWV 41 /6 and BWV 362 - from 4/4 to ¾, or even more startling from 4/4 to 3/2 in BWV 27/6!

4. The 'Alternatim Praxis' ['the practice of alternating in antiphonal style from pastor (liturgical chant) to congregation (answer/response) to the choir(s) and finally to the organ'] although rooted in the practices of the early Christian church and fostered as well by Luther, blossomed forth in its greatest glory at the beginning of the 17th century as described and demonstrated in various works by Michael Praetorius. Note particularly at this time that the organ did not accompany congregational singing. If the congregation needed , it was given by the cantor or some assistant (sometimes a group of school boys - not a choir as such) who led the singing of the congregation 'to get them properly started.'

5. The use of the organ vis-à-vis congregational singing has an interesting history as well proceeding from no direct support for congregational singing other than providing music before the chorale is sung in the form of (chorale) preludes and later providing the 'bridge'-intermezzi between verses, but even at one point playing between each line of the chorale itself (where the congregation paused and took a long breath.) From Bach's early period (and probably one of the reasons why he was warned about overdoing this when the congregation sang) we have BWV 715, BWV 722, BWV 726, BWV 729 und BWV 732 which are possible examples of this later tradition in congregational singing when the long fermati at the end of each line were filled out this way by the organist.

There are other aspects which I might highlight, but if you are truly interested, you will read my summary/translation of the MGG I article.

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 30, 2005):
Outline of Article on Congregational Singing in the MGG I [Bärenreiter, 1986]

A. Middle Ages (contributor: Bruno Stäblein)

B. Evangelical [=Lutheran and Reformed] Congregational Singing (contributor: Walter Blankenburg)

C. Catholic Congregational Singing in Modern Times (contributor: August Scharnagl)

A. Middle Ages

I. General

II. Cries/Calls [such as 'acclamations' and 'laudes'] and Prayers

III. Songs

a) Psalm Singing

b) Hymns and other Songs

c) Songs in Native Languages

B. Evangelical Congregational Singing

I. The theological basis for this in the works by Luther and Calvin as well as the role played by congregational singing in Luther's Order of Services and how this was set into practice during his lifetime.

II. Evangelical congregational singing in Straßburg, in the 'reformed' regions as well as in South Germany during the 16th century.

III. The development of evangelical congregational singing during the Luther period from approximately 1550 to 1750.

IV. Evangelical congregational singing during the Age of Enlightenment, the Restoration as well as the following time span until the first quarter of the 19th century.

V. The Present.

C. Catholic congregational singing in modern times [not summarized or translated here]

A. Middle Ages

I. General.

The foundation for the social, pluralistic character of the liturgy of the old church is based upon the generally wide-spread activity of singing among participants, the celebrants as well as the congregation. Even the most sacred event, the mass which celebrates the Eucharist, can only be understood in early Christian times as a cooperative effort on the part of all participants. However, after the first highpoint in liturgical development had been reached in the 4th century, a gradual deterioration of the live participation of the congregation and along with it a disappearance of congregational singing could be observed. In the 7th century, the participation of the congregation had been excluded for the most part. The songs that are known to us as the old Roman songs from which the newer songs, commonly known to us as Gregorian chant were of such a form that they no longer could be sung by the congregation and were transferred to the 'Schola' = singing schools which then served as the connection between the congregation as the altar. Since the end of the 8th century, it appears that the congregation did not even participate any more in the 'acclamations' or 'laudes.' Now the time came when the community-oriented church service was replaced by the Missa papali and the simple Missa solemnis performed by the priests. In general, but also very basically, the participation of the people was ignored and not even desired. The construction of monastery churches, particularly after the 12th century, did not even provide an area for the people; major space was devoted to the choir area for the monks. In another type of Roman mass, the Missa cantata, the participation of the congregation starting in the 9th century also disappeared. Throughout the Middle Ages, the 3 rd type of mass, Missa lecta (quiet mass) excluded the congregation from the very beginning.

Generally, it can be observed that after the first few centuries of Christianity there was a progressive drifting apart of the congregation and the activities at the altar. The singing and the voice of the priest became softer and softer until it fell silent. In the western and northern parts of Europe, language difficulties created a barrier that caused the separation between congregation and altar to occur. All reports about any liturgical congregational singing in England and in the western part of the Germanic lands died out in the 7th and 8th centuries. Charlemagne attempted to pull the threads tighter between priests and congregation once again. In the 12th and 13th centuries, a kind of renaissance of congregational singing was attempted by issuing directives which stated what the congregation should sing, but also insisted that the clerics' duties included understanding the liturgy themselves and making clear to the congregation what it meant. This effort was not very successful for a number of reasons: language difficulties, changes in the texts that were used, lack of documents/books, inability to master the difficult melodies that were part of the Roman repertoire used since the 8th century and finally the use of polyphony. All that remained for the congregation to sing were the Kyrie eleison responses in church and, outside of the church, where most of the songs, psalms, hymns, etc. that were sung in processions, funerals, pilgrimages, etc. were performed by 'educated' individuals and the people responded with their 'Kyrie eleisons.' Only toward the end of the Middle Ages did congregational singing once again take its place in the church services, but this time in the form of verses or songs in the native/national language which took their place alongside of the still existent liturgical chants/polyphonic music provided by the choir.

II. Cries/Calls and Prayers.

Spontaneous acclamations, even when part of a tradition, such as those expressed in antiquity by the people in praise of a ruler, or as an expression of congratulations on certain occasions do not exist in Christian liturgy. All such calls/cries are responses that answer a similar cry/call by the celebrant. When the priest offers a prayer in the name of all those present, the congregation responds with an 'Amen.' It is not clear from the historical sources whether such a congregational response was a cry, was simply spoken, or whether it was sung (or even any combination of the latter.) There is no doubt that these acclamations were inherited from the synagogue. [Many acclamations are listed, documented and explained; for instance, "Et cum spiritu tuo" is a translation from the Semitic "Amen" and would follow the priest's "Dominus vobiscum."]

III. Songs

a) Psalmody. This played an important role in congregational singing in the very early Christian church. In the first centuries of Christianity, psalmody consisted only in the form of a response where one or more soloists would sing individual verses and the congregation would join in the refrain. The (H)alleluja response after partaking of the
paschal meal was at first spoken at the end of the 2nd century, but by the end of the 4th century the bishop, followed by the congregation, heard psalms sung by other clerics, whereupon the congregation responded in kind. Psalm singing was required in the Sermons of Caesar of Arles (died in 542) and there is similar evidence for this in England in 747. The main place for singing psa, however, was during the vigils, the early morning and evening prayer hours, which were very popular during the early centuries of Christianity. Within the mass, it was the psalmody between the readings that assumed the position of greatest importance. There are references to specific psalms with refrains by the congregation beginning with the 2nd century until the 5th century. Eventually, in the 6th century, as more complicated forms evolved, the rather simple congregational refrains had to be dropped in favor of the responses given by the 'schola' which replaced the congregational responses. Now the melodies of the old Roman Graduals completely excluded congregational singing.

b) Hymns and other songs. Here, as in the case of psalmody, the participation of the congregation restricted itself to mainly singing the refrains or simple songs that could be easily recalled and sung. Under Charlemagne and thereafter, there were further attempts to simplify whatever the congregation should sing.

c) Songs in the native language. There were folksongs in Latin (‘Cantiones’) sung by the choir but also "Leisen" which were congregational songs in Old High German. The fact that such songs were being sung can be understood from the bans placed upon their use in the churches: "cantilenae saeculares" were not allowed during the church services and the regular choral songs/chants/liturgy were not to be shortened. There were, however, opportunities for the congregation to sing their songs in church; for instance, on certain special holidays: on Christmas the young people danced around the Christ child who was placed upon the altar while the adult members of the congregation sang Christmas songs. Easter was treated in similar fashion. On Ascension there was a presentation/performance to represent Christ's ascension and on Pentecost a live dove or imitation thereof descended upon the altar, all of these important events accompanied by congregational singing. Certain Latin sequences were translated into German: "Vicimae paschali laudes" became "Christ ist erstanden" and would be sung by the congregation in German right after the Latin had been sung by the choir. Generally such songs followed the readings (Gospel). The greatest opportunity for singing by the congregation presented itself in processions and pilgrimages.

This is the typical situation at the end of the Middle Ages:

The liturgical texts were sung exclusively by the choir as a chant or as polyphony. The church authorities attempted to stop any attempt to replace such liturgy with songs which the congregation could sing. However, in situations outside of the church liturgy, congregational singing reigned supreme. There were even some opportunities for such congregational singing to slip into the liturgical mass without really becoming a part of it. In any case a significant number of German congregational hymns already existed by the end of the 15th century, a fact that was confirmed by some leaders of the Reformation. But most of these hymns/songs were not suitable either from the standpoint of text or because of the music to become a meaningful factor for the liturgy of the new church services of the Reformation.

B. Evangelical congregational singing.

I. Luther's and Calvin's theological foundation for congregational singing as part of the Lutheran church services and how this practice was achieved in Luther's lifetime.

Whereas Zwingli saw in singing of any kind during church services a danger of overemphasizing God's word because a church service had as its purpose the proclamation and glorification of God's word, which could only be achieved through mutual speaking, Luther and Calvin elevated congregational singing to become a substantial and firm component of the church service and, in doing so, it became an important factor of the liturgy. Without being conscious of this fact, both reformers brought about a phenomenon that had far-reaching effects in music history. Basically the theological reasons for their reformation of church music are the same, but with different nuances. Both agree that the Christian church service demands the active participation of the congregation in prayer, praise and thanksgiving and that it is self evident that God's word calls the congregation together in a public place for the purpose of listening and praying, for in the congregation the members are connected and bound to each other. They also agree that the congregation must understand the church services in their native languages, if necessary (Luther was more liberal on this point than Calvin). For both singing was a way to effect common prayer, praise and thanksgiving. For Luther singing also was a way for the congregation to express joy in its Christian beliefs, but for the more serious and strict Calvin, the psychological effect of music was emphasized a bit more. Music is more of a means to an end to stimulate a spontaneous expression of joy and by singing the members of the congregation are to have a mutual exchange and are thereby serving each other. Although they went separate ways in achieving their goal of congregational singing, Luther and Calvin agreed that in congregational singing nothing but the word of God should be allowed. For Calvin this meant a direct connection with the Bible, mainly the Psalms, while Luther still maintaining the Bible connection, did not emphasize the connection with the Psalms as rigidly; Luther saw the word of God as being present everywhere where His spirit and truth were present. Luther thought that the strophic folksong form was the best for achieving this purpose (Calvin still agreed on this point), but the differences between Calvin's and Luther's order of services were in regard to Calvin's exclusion of congregational singing from the response-type liturgical singing in the church service: Luther wanted to have the congregation included in this portion of the service. Early on, Luther had already issued guidelines which included congregational singing during the mass, a principle which was enacted not only during his lifetime, but which endured for over two centuries thereafter. Luther completely redesigned the purpose and placement of songs, particularly in the Ordinarium Missae, and even in part in the Proprium Missae. By bringing about this transformation, Luther created the possibilities for the 'additive' and 'substitutive' principles. What this means is that the songs (hymns) either replaced the Ordinarium or Proprium pieces or they were sung in addition to these. The latter possibility was out of the question for the normal German church service, but it became the normal situation for the Latin mass.

This situation resulted from Luther's efforts not to destroy or replace completely, but rather to improve what already existed. The realization of congregational singing within the Latin mass proceeded only very slowly and gradually, a fact that Luther deplored. The congregation had no hymnals from which to sing. It was assumed that the songs had all been learned by heart. It was left to the 'chorus choralis' to lead the congregation in singing the chorale melody without any harmony or organ accompaniment. It had been incorrectly assumed until recent times by researchers that the polyphonically singing 'chorus musicus,' also known as the 'chorus figuralis,' would lead the congregation in singing. From 'choralis' comes the general use of the word 'chorale' as applied to a church hymn. In the time of the Reformation, a congregational song is referred to as a "Gesang," "cantica" [the Latin term], "Lied " and "Psalm."

In 1533, congregational songs/hymns/chorales can be found located within the church service as follows:

1. During the Introit usually as 'substitutive' and only at certain times of the liturgical year was there a Latin psalmody.
2. After the Gradual and Halleluja on special holidays and in antiphonal response with the Sequence.
3. After the Latin Credo, Luther's "Wir glauben all an einen Gott," the latter seldom appearing alone.
4. After the sermon and after the Latin "Da pacem," Luther's "Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich "
5. At the beginning of the communion section in place of the versicle as well as in place of the pastors collect; possibly as a hymn 'de tempore.' [belonging to the church season or feast days]
6. Sub communione, i.e., during the distribution of the communion after the Latin Sanctus and Agnus Dei, the hymns to be sung were "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt" and "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet."
7. After the distribution the Agnus Dei would be sung in German: "Christe, du Lamm Gottes."

These 7 possibilities would be the absolute maximum that might be attained. Reports from the period (Wittenberg, 1536) reveal that these goals were only partially reached. It is reported also that the organ and choir performed in alternation, but that the congregation sang hardly at all, possibly only after communion. Possibly this report details a very special, festive church service which was performed especially for prominent visitors, or that the reporter did not report on the congregational singing because it was so bad in contrast to the choral singing. In a cantata church service in Eisenach around the same time, the congregation sang in two places, after the reading of the epistle in place of the Gradual "Christ ist erstanden" in alternation with the choir which sang the Easter Sequence "Victimae paschali laudes", (precisely as called for by the Wittenberg Order of Services of 1533) and the same occurred in alternation during the singing of the Credo "Wir glauben all an einen Gott" [The congregation never sang together with the choir.] Comparing the stated requirements with actual practice as reported in print by visitors to these services makes it clear that we must view the introduction of the participation of the congregation rather realistically. From the existing sources it is possible to infer that the 'additive' principle could be realized in the important form of alternative practices (alternating of choir and congregation, etc.) and that the song/chorale replacing the Gradual and the German Credo "Wir glauben all an einen Gott" and the chorales sung by the congregation after communion were the three most important places where congregational singing 'invaded'/'broke into' the existing Latin mass. The fourth place, although this entry into the services was not pursued as vigorously, would be the 'introductory' chorale which either replaced the Latin Introitus or took its place along side of it. Theoretically the Wittenberg Order of Services (1533) would also have allowed for two more opportunities for congregational singing: next to or replacing the German Da pacem "Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich" and the 'de-tempore' chorale at the beginning of communion. While the latter instance never became common practice, the former, as the chorale sung after the sermons did achieve great importance in the future. From the very beginning, the place for the 'de-tempore' chorale was in place of the Gradual. It remains open to question, just what amount of participation the congregation had in the short responses sung by the chorale choir, in particular the singing of the 'Amen' and the Salutations, for the sources report nothing about this. Here it will be necessary to imagine a very gradual development which varied considerably with each congregation. For instance, it will have to be assumed that the congregational singing of the German Gloria "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr", a very common practice later on, may already, in some congregations, have stood 'additively' next to the Latin Credo early on. In this early period of the 1530s, there are reports from congregations separated by great distances that the practice of alternating the singing by choir and congregation after communion did take place. The conditions for congregational singing were more favorable with Luther's German Mass with the help of the substitutive principle that was inaugurated as the result of the tendency to provide for the greatest possible inclusion of the common people and because the lack of German Gregorian Chant for which congregational singing compensated by assuming, from the very beginning, constant positions within the liturgy.

In Luther's Formulary of 1526 provides for 4 places for congregational singing to occur:

1) Optionally in place of the Introit, if this is not sung as German psalmody.

2) After the epistle (Luther mentions here specifically the chorale "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist.")

3) After the Gospel reading: "Wir glauben all an einen Gott."

4) After communion the following chorales may be sung: the German Sanctus "Jesaja dem Propheten das geschah", "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet," "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland," as well as the German Agnus Dei, "Christe, du Lamm Gottes ."

It can not be determined with certainty, whether Luther was thinking of the congregation singing all these songs, but why would the following comment be made otherwise: "after the Gospel reading, the entire church will sing the Credo; " however after that, the same document states: "we will sing," "let them sing," "one {you} will sing, but do this with the entire choir." This "mit dem ganzen Chor " ["with the entire choir"] can be interpreted at least in two different ways in German: 1) 'not only with a part, but with the entire choir' 2) 'the congregation will sing along with the entire choir.' Luther's German Mass was not the simplest form of church service. Small churches in the countryside did not even practice the simplest form of church service based upon the mass: "Before and after the sermon, the farmers with their children and farm workers should be led by the deacon in singing a German psalm. They should work on learning how to sing so that they can do this properly. The deacon should warn them about keeping after this task." In 1540 an Order of Services for rural areas of Saxony declares: "Wherever there are no schools, the old and young should gather at a convenient time when the bell should call them together on Saturday evening. There they should gather and sing several German psalms and spiritual songs and conclude this activity with a prayer."

Congregational singing also found a place in the prayers (hourly, morning, evening, nightly) which Luther retained from the Roman Catholic traditions, but since these generally occurred only during the week and affected primarily the school services, only few adult members of the congregation would have been affected with the exception of Sunday matins and vespers. What generally occurred was that the hymn following the reading ['Lektion'] was replaced by a German song/hymn/chorale, which would 'frame' the sermon by having another congregational hymn following the sermon. Connected with the chorale before the sermon were the Tedeum and after the sermon the Magnificat. These would be sung in alternating manner by the congregation and the choir (both in German.) Here we find evidence that the antiphonal 'Cantica' included congregational singing as well. However, one antiphon, "Komm, Heiliger Geist, erfüll die Herzen deiner Gläubigen" derived from "Veni sancte spiritus, reple," used at the beginning of vespers remained entirely within the province of the choirs despite the fact that the text would seem to encourage congregational singing. Congregational singing at funerals was also initiated by Luther, but here it is even more difficult to find out specifics as to when and where this was done. In his book of funeral songs from 1542, Luther stated: "These German chorales can be sung one after the other when the procession home from the gravesite begins.”

There are three questions that arise from a study of the earliest developments of congregational singing as initiated by Luther:

1) How large was the repertoire of chorales until approximately Luther's death? How many of them were really being used (not just printed to supply possible suggestions for use)?

2) Which version of a specific melody did the congregation sing?

3) Which meter [4/4, 3/2, etc., but also how fast or slow] did the congregation use?

There is a lot of talk about the congregation having a large rof chorales to sing as a replacement for the Gradual a de-tempore chorale related to the liturgical year and special occasions. There is no way that the first generation of the Reformation had sufficient chorales for the entire liturgical year, not to mention the possibility that they would have memorized all these chorales (most congregations did not have sufficient opportunity to learn them in such a short time.) There was slow progress which occurred, but not without various crises taking place. There was a small number of Introit chorales mainly based on Luther's versified Psalms. Johann Walter's hymnal with chorale melodies brings this number to no more than 40. Today's research agrees quite clearly that the congregation did not sing along with the choir in figural music and generally the congregation did not sing the chorale in the same rhythmic form that the lead tenor did (cf. "Ein feste Burg" and "Mit Fried und Freud.") The majority of the chorale melodies for which we have evidence from that period have come done to us in isorhythmic form, which, however, should not lead us to think that chorale notation from that period was exclusively in that form. The congregation, without question, did retain some special rhythmic turns found in folk songs like short appoggiaturas or some notes at the beginning of a line lengthened or even dotted notes. Luther's goal in reworking melodies (original Latin chants or contrafacts of folk melodies) was to avoid ligatures as much as possible, but not entirely. The tempi at which the congregation sang, based on only a few accounts from a later period, would appear to be somewhat slower than usual.

II. Evangelical singing by the congregation in Straßburg, in the reformed regions and in South Germany in the 16th century.

The fact that evangelical congregational singing was from the very beginning essentially different and had a better development is due to the interaction of a number of different circumstances. There was a completely new order of church services with much less dependency, in some cases not at all, on the traditional services from the Middle Ages. Congregational singing, however, was restricted almost exclusively to versified Psalms and their melodies (only in the earliest period in Straßburg and a few other places that had been strongly influenced by Wittenberg, like Nürnberg was the situation different.) But congregational singing of the psalms was the only form (with a few exceptions) of music allowed during church services. There was no contrast between the choral/figural music and the music sung by the congregation. If, in Straßburg and Geneva as well as other places in South Germany and Switzerland, school choirs did take part in the church services, their only purpose was to lead and support the singing of the congregation. Another circumstance which led to a more favorable development of congregational singing was the intensive endeavor to get hymnals into the hands of the congregation. But this took place not so much directly through the churches, but rather by the dissemination/circulation of the Geneva Psalter (with melodies) among families which then had a favorable effect upon congregational singing. Certainly the strict law and order stance regarding church activities as advocated by Calvinism and possibly the different local attitudes helped to push congregational singing forwards. Straßburg (1525) was the first place where music during the church service was provided solely by the congregation. There were not only the psalm melodies but also the antiphonal Gregorian chant in German. Here, as part of the order of services from 1525, are the indications as to what and when the congregation would sing:

1. Introit chorale or a German psalm
2. Kyrie and Gloria in German Gregorian chant
3. Halleluja (or songs of this nature)
4. Credo (Apostolicum or the Nicaenum) and after the sermon the same or similar songs
5. sub communione "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet"

The amount of Gregorian chant is amazing, but this soon changed over to predominantly church hymns/chorales. At services other than the main church service, congregational singing framed the sermon and consisted mainly of psalm chorales but even a few versified antiphons and a versified Magnificat. Straßburg accepted Luther's chorale texts but would often substitute its own melodies. The influence of Straßburg's services stretched northward to Hessen but also southward to South Germany and Switzerland. Zwingli's influence, stretching from Zürich northward, made itself known particularly through the "Predigtgottesdienst" [a sermon-based church service based upon a model from the Middle Ages with congregational singing before and after the sermon.] However, in Zürich and for a short time in Basel, all music whatsoever was excluded from the church services. [This article traces in detail all the various changes that occurred during the early years of the Reformation.] An important impetus for congregational singing which was already strong in Geneva is Louis Bourgeois's Psalter (1547) in 4-pt homophonic settings (not composed for singing this way during church services) of some original melodies that have not yet been identified (this is their earliest appearance.) It is hard to imagine that the congregation would be using this and later editions (1560s) in church. It is much more likely that school children were the ones who brought these melodies into the church. Claude Goudimel's Psalter (3rd Edition, 1565) gives clear evidence that congregational singing was not restricted to isorhythmic melodies, but it also allows for some variation These were accepted by the church. The range of melodies from the church-mode related ones to those based upon folk songs is wider here than in regions dominated by Luther's hymnals. If it is possible to speculate meaningfully at all about the character of congregational singing in these regions, it would be that the congregations sang at a somewhat faster tempo than those of the northern regions.

Three important moments in this developing branch should be emphasized: 1) the extraordinarily quick dissemination and acceptance of Goudimel's Psalter which became so popular that the 4-pt. Homophonic settings, first intended for home use, were eventually brought into the churches; 2) the translation by Ambrosius Lobwasser (1573) of the Geneva Psalter into to German which, in North Switzerland, supplanted completely all the chorales previously sung there and finally led to the introduction of congregational singing in Zürich in 1598; 3) the widespread acceptance in various areas of Germany of Lobwasser's translations of the Psalm chorales.

III. The development of evangelical congregational singing in Lutheran churches from approximately 1550-1750.

The influence of the Order of Church Services emanating from Wittenberg stretched out over all of North Germany, Lower Saxony, Saxony and Thuringia as well as isolated regions and towns of South Germany, particularly Ansbach, Bayreuth and Nürnberg. The development of congregational singing in these Lutheran countries and areas in the time of the Post Reformation is characterized, for the most part, by traditionally conservative tendencies in regard to liturgical matters, tendencies which often proved to hamper rather than foster congregational singing. Dangers which led to a neglect of congregational singing were among others 1) more extensive use of the chorus choralis as well as the chorus figuralis; 2) the creation of German liturgical chants (also for the German mass) based upon Gregorian chant which could no longer be performed by the congregation; and 3) the more frequent inclusion of the organ as part of the liturgy. Singing the chorales from memory was always difficult for the congregations from the very beginning with reports that many members of the congregations would remain silent rather than sing while others twisted the texts around and caused confusion. Matins and vespers, wherever they still existed used a choir almost exclusively as the musical part of the service (with no congregational singing at ) and in some cases only Latin was used throughout the service with the only option being the readings where both German and Latin were used.

The main church services, in comparison to Luther's time, give evidence of certain continuing developments: 1) the use of an introductory/opening chorale began to replace more and more the choral Introit; 2) the chorale before and after the sermon which had the central position in the service became increasingly more important; 3) the final chorale or verse thereof at the end of the service assumed a more secure position in the service. Despite these evolving factors, number of chorales available for singing did not increase much at all. There was a legitimate fear that if there were too many chorales, the congregations would not learn them well. In 1573 and 1587 important hymnals were printed which presented for the first time chorales organized de tempore for the entire liturgical church year. These chorales became the basis from which other hymnals derived their collections until 1687, when numerous other chorales were added. By fixing which chorales were to be sung when, the authority to choose chorales was taken away from the pastor, the custodian (custos) and the cantor. This type of ruling created difficulties until the beginning of the Enlightenment. Even Bach suffered a conflict with Gaudliz in 1729 regarding this matter. On the other hand, this period from 1550-1700 brought about a considerable expansion of chorales. One branch included Johann Heermann, Paul Gerhardt and Johann Rist, while the other represented Pietism, in particular the collection made by Johann Athanasius Freylinghausen. Although, at this point, the entire repertoire of printed chorales exceeded 1,000; nevertheless, these new chorales only caught on very gradually and were not generally used in church services, but rather were destined for private edification and home services. Gradually, and we have Pietism to thank for this, the evangelical hymnal became the book for church-going people. During the time of the 30-Years War when orderly schooling became difficult or impossible, it was very helpful in overcoming illiteracy. Churches were now beginning to use hymn number boards to indicate to the members of the congregation, who brought their hymnals with them, which hymns were to be sung in which sequence. It has been mentioned earlier that already in Luther's day the congregation did engage in, as part of the 'Alternatimpraxis ' [pastor, choir, congregation (sometimes organ) alternate singing in an antiphonal style] which had to be practiced. This practice was expanded in different ways after Luther's death. In Naumburg, for instance, under Cantor Laurentius Stiphelius the alternation between groups took place during the singing of "All Ehr und Lob soll Gottes sein." The various groups that sang or played these verses antiphonally were: the chorus, the organist, the 'Vulgus' [congregation,] and the 'Puellae' [the girls]. In such cases the cantor sang along with the boys or girls choir while someone with a good voice 'Aedituus' who helped the cantor would lead the congregation. Another report from the end of the 16th century (St. Laurence Church in Halle-Neumarkt) gives not only the Order of Services but also the Order of Singing ["Gesangs=Ordnung "] which gives a more detailed description of the various possibilities for alternating singing and playing as distributed between the congregation, regular choir, figural choir, and organ. This was done both during the main church services as well as at vespers. The most important place for alternating singing/playing in the main church service occurred during the main chorale ["Hauptlied "] between the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel. This particular chorale was also known as the Gradual chorale which was predetermined by de tempore assignment of chorales in the hymnal. Michael Praetorius in his 'Musae Sioniae' (1606) describes various possibilities which he says are left up to the discretion of the cantor and would be different from one church to another: example: 1 st verse sung in 5, 6, or 8 parts fugally (by the figural choir) after the organ plays the chorale prelude, 2nd verse sung only by the congregation is described as a ['schlecht' = 'schlicht ' = plain, only the melody without any accompaniment] chorale, 3rd verse is a 4- or 5-part setting set simply for the choir (not figural) which sings together with the congregation (the congregation singing only the melody), 4th verse sung only by the congregation (the plain chorale melody), 5th verse is sung by the figural choir in such a way that the congregation can sing along with the chorale melody, etc., etc.

During communion the congregation would also be singing in alternation with the other musical groups in the church service. The Halle-Neumarkt document points out that now the choir and the congregation keep alternating verses with the organ only playing between the verses. More specific instructions for the German/Latin Vespers are given: "After the sermon the organist plays the German Magnificat, the choir then alternates with the congregation in singing two verses (of the Magnificat?) After the antiphon "Christum unsern Heilandt " has been sung, then the organist should pull out all the stops and play the beginning of the German "Nunc dimittis," then the choir and the congregation sing two verses "denn meine Augen etc."; "ein Licht zu erleuchten" after which the organist plays something alone, then the choir and the congregation sing the Gloria [probably without organ and most likely in alternating fashion although this document is ambiguous in this regard.] It must be emphasized that such rules for congregational singing were valid only on an individual basis in certain locales. It is necessary to imagine that great diversity in the manner of alternative singing/playing existed in the Lutheran churches of this time. The same document also gives evidence regarding the leadership roles of the cantor and choir in congregational singing: "when the congregation is to sing its verses, the cantor should turn around, face the congregation so that its members can hear his voice and follow along, and sing from the same music which the congregation has. If the congregation is small and has difficulty singing the verses or does not know the melody, then the cantor should sing alone and also instruct all the boys who are able to read, to bring their hymnals with them to church and sing along. Even the lower classes/grades of pupils should stand on the steps and sing along so that they learn to sing according to the correct beat. Other reports mention that the cantor or his replacement should take up a position in the middle of the church in order to lead (get the congregation started) the congregation in singing the verses.

One of the main reasons why congregational music did not thrive (church leaders were aware of this problem even back then) and show better progress was a certain amount of overemphasis upon figural music. It was Lucas Osiander whose "Fifty Spiritual Songs and Psalms" (Nürnberg, 1586) offered only homophonic settings with the cantus firmus in the upper voice "so that the entire Christian congregation will be able to sing along without difficulty." This must have taken place under an influence stemming from South German and Switzerland, where such a change was already beginning to take shape. This development is not to be understood as an attempt to make the figural choir sing along with the congregation. On the contrary, they were to be treated as equal partners and this hymnal would help to strengthen the congregation's role in providing music for the services. From the time of Osiander to J. H. Schein, the collaborative effort of the figural choir and the congregation would be considered a 'concentus' This does not imply that the choral singing was being pressed into the role of simply accompanying the congregation, but rather as an effort to lift the failingcongregational singing and bring it back on a level with the choral groups. Many composers contributed to this process (J. Eccard, A. Raselius, B. Gesius, M. Vulpius, C. Sigefrid, M. Praetorius, H. L Haßler, G. Erythräus, J. Jeep, M. Altenburg, and J. H. Schein. The best example for what is meant as 'concentus' are the barely homophonic, quite figural settings by Eccard which prove that the choirs were not simply harmonic support for congregational singing, but rather a side-by-side, one-after-the-other participation by choir and congregation. From the Cantional/Kantional settings we can learn something more specific about the changes in the meter/tempi of congregational singing. While Osiander demanded that "young students should adjust their singing to that of the congregation, not singing the notes faster or slower than that which the congregation is used to singing, so that the chorale and the figural music still remain the same in comparison and that both groups will then constitute a pleasant 'contentum;' it is Eccard who states: "Finally I would declare to every cantor that he should use a fine, slow beat, because then he will be able to get the ordinary member of the congregation to hear the common melodies better, and he will then be able to attain better success with his choirs." From this we learn that the congregations generally sang slower than the choirs.

The Age of Figured Bass in the 17th century, as a result of the Baroque desire to present various Affekts brought with it gradually a desire for harmonizations of the chorales. It is during this period that the beginnings of organ accompaniment for congregational singing are found. After a report as early as 1581 in Bern of congregational singing accompanied by a cornett and 3 trombones or an organ that played along, the first mention of this occurring in Germany (organ accompaniment of congregational singing) was in Hamburg (1604), Danzig (1633) and Nürnberg (1637). In the latter instance "the organ kept the congregation together and helped out with the high and low notes in the range." Generally there still were no hymnals with all the parts written out, but the introduction of the bass voice in hymnals (after 1640) {still mainly dedicated to home use} was somehow connected with the increased use of the organ as accompaniment for congregational singing. The organ, as an accompanying instrument for congregational singing, did little to help speed up congregational singing tempi; on the contrary, it becomes part of the problem why there was a steady slowing down of singing tempi on the part of the congregation. During the 17th century there was also a general movement away from the 'integer valor notarum' [one 'tactus' in 16th-century music equaled a semibreve of normal length {the 'integer valor notarum' and one tactus equaled the pulse of a man breathing normally: c. 60 to 70 beats a minute.}] to slower tempi. Not really linked to organ accompaniment as a cause of slower tempi, was the tendency toward total isorhythmization of the chorales (making all the notes of the chorales become quarter notes except perhaps for longer note values at the end of a musical line or phrase) beginning in the middle of the 17th century. Isorhythmization has had the most far-reaching consequences for congregational singing of chorales after the early 17th century composers such as J. H. Schein, M. Vulpius, M. Frank, J. Crüger, J. Ebeling, among others, had influenced chorale melodies with secular rhythms, particularly with those of the canzonetta and the balletto. After the middle of the 17th century even in newly composed melodies, isorhythm predominated and even began to modify existing chorale melodies to make them fit this rhythmic pattern. There was even a new tendency to lengthen the notes between the lines/phrases. [I assume the word "Zwischennoten " refers to the notes at the very beginning and end of a line.] It was also in the second half of the 17th century that the use of fermati at the end of musical lines was introduced into the printing of chorale melodies in hymnals. Fermati had been used only occasionally during the time of the canzonetta and balletto. There is also evidence that, toward the end of the 17th century, breaks between the lines of the chorale were being observed everywhere which even allowed for the organ to play short passages between the lines of a single verse of the chorale. All these influences left their stamp on congregational singing and did little to improve and foster a continued development of congregational singing; on the contrary, they continued to hold it back. One question which has not yet been sufficiently clarified pertains to the introduction of chorale verses sung by the congregation in 'historical' compositions (Christmas story, etc.), in particular the Passions as well as cantatas toward the end of this period. At the beginning of the 20th century it became the subject of very lively musicological discussions and arguments without ever being able to resolve this issue once and for all (see Wustmann.) There is proof that in certain locales there was a practice that had the congregation participate in the performance of the Passions; however, one is not able to conclude from these isolated instances that this was generally done. Philipp Spitta's assumption that this situation prevailed in the 17th century, but not in Bach's time is certainly false, since the general development was directed toward including the congregation more actively during the church services throughout this period. One can find the beginnings of this tradition already in South Germany in the 16th century where the Passion, performed by a choir, was interrupted by the congregation singing Sebald Heyden's "O Mensch, bewein' dein Sünde groß" and in Leipzig , even during the time of N. Selnecker around 1580, the congregation sang before and after the performance of the Passion by the choirs. A manuscript of a repeat performance of the St. Matthew Passion by J. Walter shows chorale verses from a later time (17th century.) These were to be inserted into the places indicated in the score. The same thing happens in the St. Matthew Passion by Thomas Mancinus to which J. G. Kühnhausen, in his Book of the Passion (Celle, 1637) added/inserted chorales and sinfonias. The fact that chorales were being sung by the congregation in the middle of a performance is also documented in a Passion by the Danzig composer, T. Strutius in 1664. It has been suspected that J. Sebastiani's inclusion of chorales in the form of instrumentally-accompanied arias as they appear in his St. Matthew Passion (Königsberg, 1672) was an attempt to remove/replace the earlier tradition of congregational singing of the chorales in the middle of a Passion. In the preface to his St. Matthew Passion (Lübeck, 1673), J. Theile writes: "The arias in question have been simply set without instruments - in place of these arias German chorales can be sung." This does not definitely prescribe congregational singing at these points, but the possibility of this does exist and can not be excluded. The most important evidence for what may have prevailed around 1700 is contained in Gerber's "History of Church Ceremonies in Saxony": "Until now the Passions have been performed in a plain and simple manner and sung with reverence, but now the Passions use all sorts of instruments to perform this music very artistically, a nd, from time to time, mix in a setting of a chorale, where the entire congregation will sing along, but then the great number of instruments start up again. When this was first performed in a distinguished city [unnamed here], there were 12 violins, many oboes, bassoons and other instruments. Many people were astonished at this and did not know what to think. In one of the boxes for the nobility were many highly-ranked officials and women of the nwho were all singing the first chorale from their hymnals with great devotion, but when this theatrical music (recitatives and arias) began, all of these people were highly astonished."

Wustmann points to markings in a hymnal by G. Vopelius (1682), and to markings in the St. Mark Passion by Kuhnau (1722) and Telemann (1725) which call for the insertion of chorale verses to be sung by the congregation. Wustmann claims that the same occurred in Bach's Passions, oratorios and even cantatas, but this assertion can not be substantiated. It would appear that since Osiander's time, it could have been likely that the congregation may have been permitted to sing along with the figural choir and perhaps even required to do so when very simple chorale melodies were involved. Although the possibility might exist that some of J. S. Bach's chorale melodies which generally conform to those used after 1700 could conceivably be used with the congregation even with the instrumental intermezzi between the lines of the chorale (intermezzi otherwise supplied by the organ when the congregation sang the chorales,) it becomes a serious problem when Bach's 'simple' chorale settings are embedded deeply in the overall structure of his chorale movements and when any consideration for the abilities of the congregation are completely overlooked. Thus, for instance, the final chorale at the end of Part II of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248 ) "Wir singen dir in deinem Heer" is simply too high for any congregation to sing comfortably. One might be able to imagine that it could have been left up to the congregation to sing along when very simple settings of the chorales were involved; but this would have been conditional based upon many factors and may not have happened at all. Another hindrance is due to the Bach's use of unknown chorales in his oratorios.

Gerber complained about this as follows: "In our churches the entire congregation can not sing along because the musical version of a text, not known to the congregation, is used. Because of the loud sound of the instruments, you can not understand the words and when an aria is performed, it is entirely new and unknown. In contrast, however, when a well-known chorale is being sung and the instruments play along, then the entire congregation can sing along and praise God together with the instruments." This quote demonstrates a historical and basic relationship/connection between the very simplest chorales in cantatas and oratorios and congregational singing

IV. Evangelical congregational singing during the time of the Enlightenment, the Restoration as well as the following period including the 1st quarter of the 19th century.

The Enlightenment brought with it for evangelical church services over large areas "the dissolution/disintegration of the old forms." Lost were the original connection of the Lutheran church service with the Order of the Mass of the Middle Ages and as well the form of the evangelical chorales as it existed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The order of church services concentrated solely upon the sermon, the task of which was to provide reasonable, moralistic teachings to the general populace. There was little room left for worship and, as a result, the 'de-tempore' character of the church service faded into the background with congregational singing having its main purpose in preparing for the sermon and echoing it afterwards. The main Sunday chorale was now called the Sermon chorale and the traditional order of chorales transmitted by the Gradual was no longer observed. The chorale texts were 'remodeled' and changed until their origins were no longer recognizable. From now on the hymnal was not used according to any specific order or guiding principle; the choice of hymns was left entirely to the discretion of the pastor. The Age of Enlightenment and Rationalism was, at the same time, the Age of Sentimentality [Empfindsamkeit] in regard to congregational singing. While, on the one hand, there was a strong drive to understand everything rationally, there was, on the other hand, a sudden urge to be impressed emotionally. The attitude toward congregational singing, at least in certain social circles, above all among the educated class, was becoming more and more passive. It was considered fashionable not to sing along with the congregation. There was a general degradation of congregational singing taking place at this time. The number of chorale melodies being sung was kept to a bare minimum. More and more chorale texts were being sung to the same melodies. In the new edition (1828) of a hymnal published for Gotha (both for church and home use) there were 1001 hymns included. One chorale melody "O daß ich tausend Zungen hätte" was used for 109 chorale texts, "Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort " had 49 separate chorale texts (even Luther's "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her" was sung to this melody. With only 6 melodies in mind, you could sing one-third of the hymnal. At the same time, congregational singing became even slower than it had ever been One hymnal published by Christmann and Knecht (Stuttgart, 1799) explains: "The chorale is the simplest and slowest song that you can ever imagine." Instead of using quarter notes generally for notating chorales as in the 1st half of the 18th century, the notation now changed to half or even whole notes as the basic notation. According to K. W. Frantz, each note should be held for 4 seconds. With such a tempo achieved, isorhythmic notation had achieved its final goal and purpose so that by the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, not a single chorale melody was printed in an uneven meter (all the notes were the same value.) Now the organ accompaniment of congregational singing became an absolute necessity as it provided the necessary harmonic support to keep the congregation from going flat. The musical interludes/intermezzi played by the organ between verses were essential/imperative. K. W. Frantz explained it this way: "the congregation will have enough time to read the following line in advance and prepare the voice accordingly." W. H. Riehl described what congregational singing was like around 1800: "The melody moved forward very slowly in step according to the whole notes in the hymnal. At the end of each line of the chorale melody the tempo became even slower and after each verse the organist would improvise a bridge to the next verse often making use of the most tasteless curlicues/flourishes you can imagine." The organist now received the task of creating religious feelings for [to inspire] the congregation based upon the hymn text and to awaken, guide and entertain the congregation." [This advice is taken from a book printed in Meißen in 1815.] Accordingly, tone painting using chromatic passages, numerous 7th chords and even pathos engendering unison passages found their way into the hymnals of that day. Indications to the organist for his bridges would be captioned 'heroic courage' for "Ein feste Burg." There is even one indication that has been documented: "mit Himmelsvorgefühl" ["with a premonition/anticipation/presentiment of being in heaven."] The organ provided relief from the monotony of a single line melody sung by the congregation; however, increasingly the hymnals contained 4-pt. harmonies for the hymns. This type of setting arose from an awakening appreciation of the 'a cappella' ideal and the accompanying settings for the chorale were set so that a mixed chorus could perform them. Following the model set by Nägeli in Switzerland, Württemberg, at the end of the 18th century tried to introduce 4-pt. singing by the congregation, but without any success. Although new chorale melodies were written and introduced, hardly a single one could take its position alongside the venerable chorale melodies of the past. They were simply dropped and forgotten. The period of Romanticism at the beginning of the 19th century did not recognize the great extent to which congregational singing had suffered but did concentrate on removing the dis/disfigurement of the original chorale texts which were important to the Romanticists who sought the elevation of feeling Now an effort was being made to restore much of the Order of Church Services as they had been during the Reformation. Along with this, they were forced to examine as well the original chorale texts. This, of course, did not improve congregational singing, but it was a new beginning to create a more meaningful integration of congregational singing into the 'de-tempore'-type church service that had once existed. During the period of Romanticism there was awakened a special feeling for folksongs and the early evangelical chorales did qualify for consideration in this regard. There was also budding feeling of nationalism. For these reasons, which derive not from a real concern about the nature of church services, there was an increasing call for a standardization of the chorales irregardless which evangelical beliefs were involved. With bitter arguments exchanged on various sides, it nevertheless proved itself easier to restore the original texts than to reintroduce the original form of the chorale melodies, particularly in regard to the 'rhythmic' chorales. The 19th century never even touched upon the accidentals which had been introduced into the chorale melodies much later. Now it was the task of all congregations to learn how to sing the chorales in an entirely new manner. This could only take place in stages over a longer period. Only at the present time has this goal been partially accomplished. Standardization had the effect of moving things forward. After the middle of the 19th century, the place for the musical intermezzi (bridges) between one line and the next, even from one verse to the next, disappeared from the printed hymnals. But there was a long road ahead. Ph. Spitta reported in 1892 that "there is no congregation today that really genuinely knows more than 20 melodies." In 1917, an anniversary year for the Reformation, William Nelle reported: "The reformation of our congregational singing in our churches in most areas is still at the very beginning." In the 20th century, the organ was relieved of its special duty to provide mood-setting for the congregation as it sang its lines and verses. It returned to its purpose of serving/supporting the chorales sung by the congregation. The chorale settings, when they appear [current hymnals in North Germany still show only the chorale melody and text] should be simple and objective without decoration. The tempo for congregational singing should be about one second for each quarter note (where quarter notes were once again being used.) This was reported by W. Nette in the hymnal published in Dortmund in 1910. This meant that congregational singing had been livened up considerably after what had occurred in 18th and 19th century, even if it had not returned completely to its original pace. Spitta and Smend both pointed out the significance of the congregational responses and the antiphonal exchange with the choirs and the pastor: "It is the oldest form of singing, particularly ritual singing. Aesthetically it is the most satisfying form of conversation in a church service (for every church service is a conversation) because it means that there is a dialogue using similar means. It is the true evangelical form of singing because, by engaging in this, Christians admonish/exhort and teach each other using psalms and songs of praise and spiritual songs." For the first time during this period we encounter works that include congregational singing such as Reger's chorale cantata "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her" and Arnold Mendelssohn's "15 Chorales for Mixed Chorus (alternating with the congregation) 1912.

V. The Present
Congregational singing benefited from a general 'singing movement' that took root in the 1920s. An hour dedicated solely to congregational singing at some churches eventually led to courses dedicated to congregational singing being taught at church music schools. Congregational singing has improved immensely. The historically-founded dragging of the tempo has been overcome for the most part. There are even signs that it may have gone to the other extreme of being too fast and restless. The ideal is a combination of liveliness and calm. In the 1930s the fermata-question was examined in detail and today there are generally only very short interruptions for breathing at the end of the chorale lines. Chorales were 'improved' to try to represent the original form of the melody. This included bringing back some of the older rhythmic structures. A new understanding and feeling for the older form of tonality of melodies from the 16th century was awakened. Leading tones were removed and the original forms restored. Attempts were made to introduce new forms of accompaniment for congregational singing (brass choir or other instruments.) New chorales are being composed, but there is no way to tell how successful they will be in the long run. There are even attempts to involve the congregation once again in the performance of a Passion. G. Wolters published a textbook containing all the 4-pt. chorales contained in J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244 ) and writes in his preface: "This edition is directed toward the listening congregation which would like to become a singing congregation when the chorales are performed." Chorales sung by the congregation are once again organized according to their weekly position within the liturgical church year, thus reestablishing a tradition which had been interrupted for about two centuries. To be sure, these changes are not prescribed for all evangelical churches and may not even be conceivable in those churches where the notion of de-tempore congregational singing is barely developed, if at all.

 

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Last update: ýJanuary 22, 2011 ý11:13:31