M510. Chorale settings 1500-1750

Daniel R. Melamed

Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

                Fall 2017





I. The chorale repertory and its origins

Wed 23 Aug        1. Introduction

Fri    25 Aug        2. Chorales in the reformed liturgy/The earliest hymnals

Written assignment 1

Wed 30 Aug        3. Martin Luther's chorales

Fri      1 Sep            (cont.)

Written assignment 2

Wed  6 Sep         4. 17th-century chorales/Tools for research

II. Vocal settings

Fri     8 Sep         5. The earliest polyphonic settings

Written assignment 3

Wed 13 Sep            

Fri    15 Sep             (cont.)

Written assignment 4

Wed 20 Sep        6.  Cantional settings                               

Fri    22 Sep             (cont.)

Written assignment 5

Wed 27 Sep         7. Michael Praetorius

Fri    29 Sep             (cont.)

Written assignment 6

Wed  4 Oct          8.  J. H. Schein and the concerto  

Fri     6 Oct              no class--Fall Break

Written assignment 7

Wed 11 Oct             (cont.)

Fri   13 Oct             no class

Written assignment 8

Wed 18 Oct        9. H. Schütz, Musicalische Exequien    

Fri    20 Oct       10. Vocal concertos of Buxtehude and others

Written assignment 9

Wed 25 Oct             Vocal concertos of Buxtehude and others (cont.)

Fri   27 Oct        11. Cantatas of J. S. Bach

Written assignment 10

Wed 1 Nov              (cont.)

Fri    3 Nov              (cont.)

Written assignment 11

Wed  8 Nov       12. Motets

Fri   10 Nov            no class


III. Instrumental settings

Wed 15 Nov      13. Variations/partitas                                             

Fri    17 Nov      14. Preludes and fantasias of Buxtehude

Written assignment 12

Thanksgiving Break


Wed 29 Nov      15. J. S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein

Fri      1 Dec       16. J. S. Bach: Large-scale settings

Written assignment 13

Wed   6 Dec       17. J. S. Bach: Schübler Chorales

Fri      8 Dec       18. J. S. Bach: Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch"




Instructor: Prof. Daniel R. Melamed, dmelamed (AT) indiana (dot) edu.
Office: M325C, (85)5-8252. Office hours by appointment
Course Web page: http://chorales.melamed.org/  or  http://dmelamed.pages.iu.edu/M510-Chorales-2017.htm


Aims and methods:  We will explore Renaissance and Baroque compositional style by tracing the setting of German hymns (chorales) from their appearance in the first printed hymnals in the early16th century to their use as the basis for vocal and instrumental compositions in the 17th and 18th.

This is largely an analysis course. We will spend much of our time in class and all of our time in the written assignments on the close musical analysis of chorales and settings.

Prerequisites. Proficiencies in music history (M501) and written music theory (T508).

Requirements. Reading, listening, score study; class attendance and participation; short written assignments. Please keep the marked-up copies of your written assignments to hand in at the end of the semester.

Materials and assignments. Scores are available in the library and online. Recordings are available online on Naxos and Music Collections online. Readings, scores, and recordings are online. Daily assignments are on the course Web page; please check each time for changes and revisions. Note that many online resources reside on Canvas but it is not necessary to log on there--everything is linked from the course page. Please have texts, scores and other materials available in class. Questions in the assignments are for study; you do not need to write them up. There is no required textbook.

Attendance. Every student is expected at each class meeting; exceptions are only for illness or personal emergency. Please inform the instructor in advance if you are forced to miss a class. You should come equipped with materials (scores, posted handouts) and fully prepared to take part in discussions. There's no point in being in the course otherwise.

Grading. The course grade will be based on the written assignments and on active, frequent and well-informed class participation. Expectations:

Written assignments: A--carefully prepared, edited, and proofread; substantively insightful.
                                B--fundamentally OK but with problems in presentation or substance.
                                C--poor presentation or substance

Class participation:    A--frequent, insightful, respectful of other
                                B--fundamentally appropriate but less frequent
                                C--infrequent, poorly prepared

Disability and Religious Observance. These will be accommodated according to University guidelines (http://www.iu.edu/~code/). Please speak with the instructor in advance of your need.

Academic conduct. You may consult and collaborate with classmates in preparing daily assignments. You may discuss topics and analyses for written assignments with others, but all written work must be entirely your own. Every use of the work of others (rarely necessary in analytical assignments) must be fully documented. Violations of the standards of academic conduct will result in a failing grade for the course.


LU                         Liber Usualis with Introduction and Rubrics in English edited by the Benedictines of Solesmes. Tournai, 1936. [M2151 .L4 1961a]

EKG                      Evangelisches Kirchengesangbuch. [M2138 .E82]

Zahn                      Johannes Zahn. Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder. 6 vols. Gütersloh, 1889; reprint Hildesheim, 1997. [Ref ML3129.Z22 M5] [Volumes I   II   III   IV   V   VI]


Wackernagel          Philipp Wackernagel. Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der ältesten Zeit bis zu Anfang des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 5 vols. Leipzig: Teubner, 1864-1877. [BV355.G3 W12] [Volumes I   II   III   IV   V]

Fischer-Tümpel      Albert Fischer and Wilhelm Tümpel. Das deutsche evangelische Kirchenlied des 17. Jahrhunderts.  6 vols. Gütersloh, 1904-1916 reprint Hildesheim, 1964. [BV480 .F53] [Volumes I   II   III   IV   V   VI]

                              Albert Fischer. Kirchenlieder-lexicon. Hymnologisch-literarische nachweisungen über ca. 4500 der wichtigsten und verbreitetsten kirchenlieder aller zeiten, in alphabetischer folge nebst einer uebersicht der liederdichter. 2 vols. Gotha: F. A  Perthes, 1878-79. [BV480 .F533]

EdK                       Edition des deutschen Kirchenlieds. RISM B/8. [formerly known as Das deutsche Kirchenlied]

                               Joachim Stalmann et al. Das deutsche Kirchenlied, Abteilung III. Melodien aus gedruckten Quellen bis 1680. 6 vols. [Ref 128.H8 D33]




Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (Norrington)


Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (von Karajan)

Texts and translations

Chorales in the reformed liturgy/The earliest hymnals

1. For background on Luther and the earliest hymnals, please read:

Friedrich Blume. Protestant Church Music. A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974. Pp. 5-14 and 51-72.


Robin A. Leaver. "The Lutheran Reformation." In The Renaissance: From the 1470s to the End of the 16th Century, ed. Iain Fenlon, 263-85. London: Macmillan, 1989.

Robin A. Leaver. "Luther, Martin." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.  

2. Read Luther and Walther's writings excerpted in section 27 of:

Pierro Weiss and Richard Taruskin, eds. Music in the Western World. A History in Documents. New York: Schirmer Books, 1984.

3. Study the contents of Luther's German liturgy:

Martin Luther. Deudsche Messe und Ordnung Gottesdiensts. Wittenburg, 1526.  A online copies here and hereAnd a translation here.  <--NEW

Can you identify the text and function of each of the musical units Luther specifies?  What is their relation to the units of the Latin Mass?  Come prepared to sing the piece that begins "Jesaia dem propheten das geschah"; the clef marks "C."  (This is also found as EKG 135.)

4. Read the following brief discussion for orientation:

Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver. "Chorale." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Section 9, "Earliest hymnbooks."

5. Examine the following early hymnals:

"Achtliederbuch" (Nuremberg, 1523/4)   Online copy here<-- NEW

Erfurt Enchiridion (Erfurt, 1524)  [M2138 .E74 1983]  Maler printing online here.    Loersfeld printing here.         <-- NEW

Klug, Geistliche Lieder (Wittenberg, 1529)  [1529 edition lost; facsimile of 1531 reprint M2138 .K66; expanded 1543  reprint online]

Babst, Geistliche Lieder (Leipzig, 1545)  [M2138 .B115 1988]

How are the hymnals organized?  What kind of musical notation do you find in them?  By what technical means were the books produced?  Does their appearance tell you anything about their production and their intended purpose?


Written assignment 1 (due Wednesday of next week)


Transcribe the music of "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" from the Erfurt Enchiridion into modern notation. You will have to make some decisions; write 250 words of carefully edited prose in which you briefly explain the problems and your solutions.


Guidelines for writing analytical papers are here. Note that a few guidelines are less applicable to very short essays.


Martin Luther's chorales


1. Please read the following as background:


Friedrich Blume. Protestant Church Music. A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974. Pp. 14-44, esp. 35-44.


Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver. "Chorale." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Sections 2-5.


2. Study the following chorales.


          Materials from EKG, Babst, Klug and other sources cited below  

A. A Latin hymn and its three derivative Lutheran hymns.


Melody                                                            Where to find it

Veni redemptor gentium                                    B. Stäblein, Hymnen, Monumenta monodica medii aevi, vol. 1, p. 217)                                                                             [Ref. M2 M8137 v.1

EKG   1 Nun komm der Heiden Heiland           Erfurt Enchiridion

EKG 142 Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort     Babst

EKG 139 Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich           Klug


Texts and translations


Write out the four melodies, lined up so that you can see the relationship among them.  Come prepared to discuss the four tunes and the process of adaptation of the Latin original.

B. Two tunes taken over more or less intact.


EKG  15 Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ                 Klug

EKG 239 Nun freut euch, lieben Christen            Achtliederbuch


Texts and translations


What are the distinctive characteristics of these tunes?


For background you can read

Johannes Riedel, ed. Leise settings of the Renaissance and Reformation era. Madison: A-R Editions, 1980. Pp. vii-xiii.

C. Two original tunes.


EKG  16 Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her       Use EKG

EKG 201 Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott                  Klug


Texts and translations


What are the characteristics of Luther's melodic style?


D. A sequence and its offspring.


Victimae paschali laudes                                         LU p.780

EKG 75  Christ ist erstanden

EKG 76 Christ lag in Todes Banden


Texts and translations


Write out the melodies, lined up. What characteristic features of sequence melodies and texts find their way into the derived hymns?


E. A Psalm reworked into rhymed poetry.


EKG 195 Aus tiefer Not                                         Klug, Psalm 130


Compare the Psalm to the versified hymn text.


Texts compared


Written assignment 2 (due Wednesday of next week)


Write 250 words of carefully edited prose analyzing the tune "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist."

17th-century chorales/Tools for research


1. Please read Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver. "Chorale." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Sections 10-11.


2. Examine the following chorales. What musical features are characteristic of these later tunes?

Herzliebster Jesu (EKG 60)

Nun danket alle Gott (EKG 228)

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (EKG 63)

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig (EKG (EKG 327)

Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (EKG 298)

Jesu, meine Freude (EKG 293)

Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist (EKG 24)

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (EKG 48)

O Traurigkeit (EKG 73)

Pages from EKG


3. Spend some time with the research tools known as Wackernagel, Fischer-Tümpel, and Zahn. What do they cover? How are they organized? Look up some chorales from the earliest hymals and from the list above in the appropriate tools.


Written assignment 3 (due Wednesday of next week)


Choose one of the tunes above and look it up in Zahn. Write 250 words of carefully edited prose discussing the melodic variants of the main version listed.

The earliest polyphonic settings


NB: Please bring copies of scores and the original parts linked below. And come prepared to sing!


1. Please read the following as background:


Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver. "Chorale settings." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.  Section I.1.


Friedrich Blume. Protestant Church Music. A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974. Pp. 72-105.


Théodore Gérold. "Protestant Music on the Continent." In Gerald Abraham, ed., New Oxford History of Music 4, 428-35. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.


2. Survey this collection: Johann Walter, Geistliche Gesangk Buchlein (Wittenburg, 1524)


T and B partbooks online.


Facsimile: Ed. Walter Blankenburg. Cassel, 1979. [M2.W23 G4]


Modern edition: Johann Walter. Sämtliche Werke. Ed. Otto Schröder.  Vols. 1-3. Cassel and Basel, 1953-5. [M3 .W23]


a. You will often read that there are two types of chorale settings in the Geistliche Gesangk Buchlein.  Is this true?  Examine the collection  and identify the two basic types.  What role does the chorale melody play in each?  How strictly does a chorale tune determine the contents of the other voices and the outlines (harmonic, phrase structure, etc.) of whole pieces?


b. Study closely the three settings of "Christ lag in Todesbanden"


In original print    Voices     In complete works

     IX                 4vv           Vol. 3, p.6

      X                 4vv           Vol. 1, pp.11-12

     XI                 5vv           Vol. 3, pp. 6-7


How are these pieces organized harmonically?  Where are the cadences?  What makes a cadence?  What's the role of the chorale-bearing voice in the cadences?  What implications does that have for the overall harmonic organization of the piece?




c. Spend some time with the facsimile of the original print.  What is the relation between the print's format and musical notation, and the musical content of the pieces? 


The settings in the original notation.


Some recordings of miscellaneous Walter settings: Himlische CantoreyCapella Fidicina


[We'll probably get only this far in the first two class meetings on this topic]


 d.  Here are Walter's two settings of "Christ ist erstanden." Please examine them and be prepared to sing and discuss them. What is new or different?


3. Survey this collection:

J. Kugelmann, Concentus novi trium vocum (Augsburg, 1540)

Modern edition: Ed. Hans Engel. Das Erbe deutscher Musik. Sonderreihe, vol. 2. Cassel and Basel, 1955. [M2.E66 S7 v. 2]

Examine "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr" (no. XXII).  Is Kugelmann's constructive model the same as Walter's?  What consequences does the use of three voices have?


4. Survey this collection:

Georg Rhau, Newe Deudsche Geistliche Gesenge. (Wittenburg, 1544)

Facsimile: Ed. Ludwig Finscher. Cassel, 1969.  [ML96.5.R468]

Modern edition: Ed. Johannes Wolf and Hans Joachim Moser.  Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst 54.  [M2 .D3 v. 34]

Ed. Joachim Stalmann. Musikdrucke aus den Jahren 1538 bis 1545 in praktischer Neuausgabe 11. [M2 .R46 v. 11]


Investigate the two settings of "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland".  How do pieces of such different length result from the same tune?  Does the longer behave more independently of the tune than the shorter?


5. Secular model


Study Ludwig Senfl, "Unsäglich Schmerz," (Complete Works, vol. 2, pp.58-9 [M3 .S47 M6]).  What is the connection between this work and the repertory of chorale settings?


    Recording [Basler Madrigalisten; track 15]


6. A later derivative


Examine the settings in this collection:

Hans Leo Hassler.  Psalmen und Christliche Gesänge auff die Melodeyen fugweiss componiert.  Nuremberg, 1607.

Modern edition: Ed. C. Russel Crosby. Hans Leo Hassler: Sämtliche Werke 7. Wiesbaden, 1965.  [M3 .H35 v.7]

What do you make of the description "fugweiss" (=fugweis, or fugally) on the title page?  What compositional techniques can you identify?


Study the two settings of "Aus tiefer Not." How do they work?

Written assignment 4. (Due Wednesday or Friday, if you need the time.)

Write 250-300 words on an analytical topic about this setting by Kugelmann of "Ein feste Burg."


Cantional settings


1. Please read the following as background:


Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver. "Chorale settings." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.  Section 2.


Werner Braun. "Cantional." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Section 2.


Friedrich Blume. Protestant Church Music. A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974. Pp. 133-38.


2. Examine the Cantionalien of Hassler, Schein, and Praetorius.  How are they organized?  What principles govern the settings? What do you make of the multiple settings? What are the placement and role of the melody? How do the figures (when present) relate to the settings? Be prepared to sing the selections below.

Hassler, Hans Leo.  Kirchengesäng: Psalmen und geistliche Lieder, auff die gemeinen Melodeyen simpliciter gesetzt. Nuremberg, 1608.  Ed. C. Russel Crosby, Hans Leo Hassler: Sämtliche Werke, vol. 8. Wiesbaden, 1965.  [M3 .H35  v.8]

Study the settings excerpted here.

Schein, Johann Hermann.  Cantional oder Gesangbuch Augspurgischer Confession.  Leipzig, 1627; 2nd enlarged ed. 1645.  Ed. Adam Adrio, Johann Hermann Schein: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, vol. 2.  Cassel, 19  .  [M3 .S312  v.2/1 and 2/2.]

Study the settings excerpted here.

Praetorius, Michael.  Musae Sioniae . . . deutscher geistlicher . . . üblicher Psalmen und Lieder . . . sechster/siebender/achter Theil. Wolfenbüttel, 1609-10.  Ed. F. Blume, M. Praetorius: Gesamtausgabe der musikalischen Werke, vols 6-8.  Wolfenbüttel, 19  .  [M3 .P89  vols. 6-8]

Study the settings excerpted here.

Written assignment 5. (Due Wednesday or Friday, if you need the time.)

Write 250-300 words comparing Cantional settings of the same tune by Schein and Hassler. Choose a tune we haven't discussed in this context.

Michael Praetorius

1. Examine in detail some of Michael Praetorius' settings of "Vom Himmel hoch" and "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" contained in the Musae Sioniae (published in nine volumes, 1605-10).  (Links to scores and some recordings below.)

What techniques of musical organization does he use? Is a three-voice setting just a two-voice with an added voice? A four-voice piece? Eight-voice? Do any of his polyphonic settings resemble those of Walter, Kugelmann, or Rhau's composers? Are cantus firmi treated the same way? Do they serve the same function as in the earlier settings? How are cadences made?

2. In the preface to Musae Sioniae, vol. 9, Praetorius states that his aim has been to set each tune for two or three voices in each of the following ways (Arten):


1. gar schlecht auff Muteten Art      1. simply in motet style


2. auff Madrigalischer Art                2. in madrigal style


3. [auf Clausul-Art]                          3. [in Clausel style]

   . . . ist etwa eine Clausel                         a segment with text

   mit dem Texte aus dem Choral               is taken from the chorale

   genommen unnd dieselbe Contra-          and worked contrapuntally

   punctsweise zum gantzen Choral            all through the rest of

   durch und durch geführet                        the chorale . . .



His further aim is to provide each of the following kinds of settings of every tune:


1. mit vier Stimmen Fugeweiß          1. for 4 voices, contrapuntally,

   ad aequales                                      ad aequales


2. mit 4. oder 5. Stimmen die           2. for 4 or 5 voices with

   Canonen . . . observiret                    canons


3. mit 5. Stimmen ad imitationem      3. for 5 voices in the

   Orlandi de Lasso auff Muteten         manner of Orlando di

   Art                                                  Lasso in motet style


4. mit 5. Stimmen ad imitationem      4. for 5 voices after

   Lucae Marentij und ander                 Luca Marenzio and

   Italorum auff Madrigalische               other Italians in

   Art                                                   madrigal style


5. mit sechs Stimmen auf Ludovici     5. for 6 voices after

   de Victoria Art, gleich als                   Th. Luis de Victoria,

   wenn sie per Choros gesetzt               just as if they were

   wehren                                              for double choir


To what extent can you match these descriptions with the settings of the two chorales you have examined?  What kinds of pieces by Lasso, Marenzio, and Victoria is Praetorius refering to?

Settings of "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland"

Scores: Part I    Part II    

Recordings of some settings: Frankfurt Renaissance Ensemble/Isaak Ensemble Heidelberg

Track 3. a 6 = LV
Track 4. a 4 = LII
Track 5. a 3 = LI
Track 6. a 3 = III
Track 7. a 8 = II

Recordings of some settings: Viva Voce, Track 2

a 3 = LI
a 3
a 4 [Cantional]
a 4 = LII
a 6 = LV

Settings of "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her"

Scores: Part I        Part II        Part III   <--new

Recordings of some settings: Frankfurt Renaissance Ensemble/Isaak Ensemble Heidelberg

Track 9. a 3 = LXXI
Track 10. a 4 = LXXII
Track 11. a 5 = LXXIV

Recordings of some settings: Viva Voce, Track 8

a 4 = LXXII
a 1
a 4 = LXXIII
a 3 = XXXIV
a 4 = LXXIII
a 3 = VIII
a 1
a 4 = LXXIII

Recording of a setting: Caplla Fidicina, Tracks 27-29

a 8 = II, III, IV

Written assignment 6. (Due Wednesday .)

Write 300-350 words on a (non-Cantional) Praetorius chorale setting from Musae Sioniae vol. 9, available here. (Not "Nun komm" or "Vom Himmel hoch!")

J. H. Schein and the concerto

1. Read Arthur Hutchings, et al. "Concerto." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Section 1.


2. Examine the following settings from


Johann Hermann Schein, Opella nova: Geistlicher Concerten mit 3, 4, und 5 Stimmen zusampt dem General-Bass auf Italienische Invention componirt (Leipzig, 1618).  Modern edition ed. A. Adrio, Johann Hermann Schein: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, vol. 4. [M3 .S312 v.4-5] [Online, lacking SI and Bc]


"Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland"           Score   Recordings: Ricercar Consort    Sagittarius Vocal Ens

"Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ"                Score   Recordings: Ricercar Consort    Thios Omilos

"O Jesu Christe, Gottes Sohn"                Score   Recording    Ricercar Consort  

"Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam"     Score   Recordings   Ricercar Consort     Sagittarius Vocal Ens

What's the role of the chorale in each?  What does the last phrase in the collection's title mean--what is Italian about these pieces?


3. In his preface, Schein explains that the pieces are to be performed with two sung parts (with text) and an instrumental bass (no text).  He refers the reader to the following for instructions on how to perform this type of piece.


Ludovico Viadana, Cento concerti ecclesiastici (Venice, 1602). Modern edition  M3 .V598  Ser. I v. 1

Examine these settings from Viadana's collection and read the composer's preface (translation in O. Strunk, ed., Source Readings in Music History).  How do these pieces compare to the works in the Opella nova?  What should the performer learn from them about the Opella nova?

"Quem vidistis pastores"  Score    Recording (Rene Jacobs)

"Ego sum pauper"            Score    Recording (Henri Ledroit)

Written assignment 7. (Due Wednesday or Friday.)

Write 300-350 words on a setting from Opella nova that we have not discussed (scores available here).

Musicalische Exequien dess Herrn Heinrichen dess Jüngern und Eltisten Reussen [op.7] (Dresden, 1636)  

1. Study and listen to Schütz's Musicalische Exequien.

Recordings: La Petite Bande [Chorton]   Alsfelder Vocal Ens   Vox Luminis    Schütz Academy [Chorton; w insert]  Weser-Renaissance        

Score: Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4

Text and translation here.

Schütz's preface in translation (George Buelow)


2. For background, please read

Breig, Werner. "Heinrich Schütz's Musikalische Exequien: reflections on its history and textual-musical conception." In Church, stage, and studio: Music and its contexts in seventeenth-century Germany, ed. Paul Walker, 109-125. Ann Arbor, 1990.

3. What kinds of texts are represented in this work? How are they organized? What is the relationship between adjacent texts, especially biblical texts and the following chorale text?


What kinds of settings (musical style) does each receive? What aspects of musical style does the composer use to distinguish between biblical and chorale texts?


How do the chorale settings themselves compare to others we have seen?  What is the structural role of the chorales in the work?


What forces are needed to perform this work? How are the forces used?


Written assignment 8. (Due Wednesday.)

Write 350-400 words on one of these chorale settings from the Musicalische Exequien:

    "Es ist allhier ein Jammertal" (mel: Ich hab mein Sach Gott heimgestellt)
    "Ach, wie elend ist unser Zeit"



Vocal concertos of Buxtehude and others


1. For background, please read


Friedhelm Krummacher. "Cantata." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Section 2, parts 1-4.

There is a lot of detail packed into a short essay, but focus your reading on this question: Is Krummacher most interested in musical types to distinguish works, or some other element?

2. Study and listen to the following works. Consider their text types, degree of dependence on chorale melodies, division of texts into units, types of musical settings, relationship of voices and instruments, and harmonic organization,

Franz Tunder, "Ach Herr lass deine lieben Engelein"    Score        Recordings: Purcell Choir        Berliner Barock Compagney   


Nicolas Bruhns, "Erstanden ist der heilige Christ"        Score        Recording: Ricercar Consort


Dietrich Buxtehude, "Gen Himmel zu den Vater mein"    Score        Recording: Kirkby       

Buxtehude, "Jesu, meine Freude"    Score    Recordings: Purcell Quartet        Capella Angelica        Currende

Texts and translations are here.

Written assignment 9. (Due Wednesday.)

Write 350-400 words on one movement or one segment of one of the vocal concertos on this assignment.

Cantatas of J. S. Bach

1. "Christ lag in Todes Banden" BWV 4 [for the first class]

Resources:   Score     Text+Translation   Original parts    Outlines of BWV 4 and Pachelbel setting 

Recordings: Junghänel [please start with this one]    Suzuki   Harnoncourt      Rilling


1. One way to look at this piece is as a sampler of musical styles and techniques, each applied to this chorale tune and text. What kind of movements are represented?

2. Study the text and music of Johann Pachelbel's setting of this same text. What points of comparison are there to Bach's work?

                             Score       Les Agremens  Rosenmülller Ens

2. "Jesu, der du meine Seele" BWV 78 [for the second class]

Resources: Score     Text and translation     Complete hymn text   Gospel for 14.Trinity

Recordings:   Suzuki        Koopman      Gardiner    Rifkin     Rilling

1. This cantata, from the so-called chorale cycle, begins with the stanzas of a hymn transformed into a mixed-text libretto. Carefully compare the original hymn with the derived cantata text. What are the various ways in which the chorale's words become the cantata's? What role does the Gospel text for the day play?

2. How is the transformation you investigated above translated into musical settings? To what extent does the chorale melody make itself felt, including outside the first and last movements?

3. On the first movement and its musical types, please read

Robert L. Marshall. “On Bach’s universality.” In The music of Johann Sebastian Bach: the sources, the style, the significance, 65–79. New York, 1989.

Alexander Silbiger. "Bach and the Chaconne." Journal of Musicology 17 (1999), 358-85.

4. Study the chorale melody. What are its musical characteristics and possibilities? Bach's setting in the first movement depends on fitting each phrase of the chorale tune to the chromatic lament bass. How does that work?

5. What is the overall musical design of the cantata (use of forces, movement types, key scheme)?

Written assignment 10. (Due Wednesday.)

Write 350-400 words comparing Pachelbel and Bach's setting of the first stanza of "Christ lag in Todesbanden."

Written assignment 11. (Due Wednesday.)

Write 350-400 words on Bach's handling of original chorale lines in one of the movements of "Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott" BWV 101 (other than the final chorale). You can see the version of the melody Bach used in that last chorale. The text (with chorale lines indicated is available here. A score is available from links here. The stanzas of the hymn are here. And a translation of the cantata text is here.


 1. Read the following contemporary discussion of motets:

Friedrich Erhardt Niedt, Musicalische Handleitung, 3 vols. (Hamburg, 1710-17), 3:34-7.

English translation by Pamela L. Poulin and Irmgard C. Taylor (Oxford, 1989).

What issues does Niedt find most important?  What is his attitude toward motets?


2. Listen to and study the following works :

Johann Michael Bach

                           "Das Blut Jesu Christi"    Score    Recording:    Cantus Cölln    Vox Luminis

                           "Fürchtet euch nicht"       Score    Recording:    Vox Luminis     Ricercar Consort

                           "Halt, was du hast"          Score    Recording:    Vox Luminis    Capella Sancta Michaelis


Texts are here

J. S. Bach  "Jesu, meine Freude" BWV 227    Score    Recordings: La petite band    Tafelmusik    Bach Collegium Japan       


 Text is here.


What kinds of texts are represented ?  How are they organized?  What is the relationship between the two texts in a given motet?  How is chorale material used?  Do these pieces follow Niedt's guidelines?


Does J. S. Bach's composition work the same way as the others?


[Written assignment 11 above]


1. Listen to and examine the following sets of chorale variations and related pieces.  What musical elements do the composers vary from verse to verse?  To what extent does the relationship between the chorale melody and other parts change in the course of a set?  What logic is there to the ordering of verses and to the overall structure of the sets?

S. Scheidt, Tabulatura nova (1624)


     Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz    Score    Recording: McVey    Lagacé

     Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund            Score    Recording: Lagacé     Jacobs


J. Pachelbel, Musicalische Sterbens-Gedanken (1683)


     Was Gott tut, das ist wohl getan          Score    Recordings: Kelemen    Vogel     Bouchard    Payne


J. P. Sweelinck


     Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott          Score    J Christie     Kelemen


J. S. Bach


    Christ, der du bist der helle Tag BWV 766    Score     Recordings: Zerer    Fagius

2. The following work is something of an an exception among contemporary pieces.  To what musical types does it owe its organization and the nature of its variations?

     D. Buxtehude,   Auf meinen lieben Gott BuxWV 179    Score    Recordings: Brown (organ)    Mortensen (harpsichord)

Preludes and fantasias of Buxtehude

1. Preludes are short settings suited for the introduction of chorale singing in the liturgy. Study these works. How is the melody treated? What is evidently Buxtehude's standard procedure? How do the two settings of "Nun bitten wir" differ?

"Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist" BuxWV 208    Score    Recordings: Cramer    Bryndorf

"Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist" BuxWV 209    Score    Recordings: Bryndorf    Kraft

"Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" BuxWV 189           Score    Recordings: Cramer    Bryndorf

2. Fantasias, usually not called that in the seventeenth century, are closely related to improvisation. Study these two very large settings. How does Buxtehude generate such long pieces from the chorale tune? What techniques of elaboration are used?

"Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein" BuxWV 210    Score    Recordings: Kraft    Davidsson

"Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" BuxWV 188                    Score    Recordings: Kraft    Davidsson

Written assignment 12. (Due Wednesday.)

Write 350-400 words on an analytical topic concerning one of the works on this assignment.

J. S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein


Autograph: D B Mus. ms. Bach P 283

Modern score: BG ["Leere Blätter im Autographe" means "Empty pages in the autograph"]

Recordings: Rubsam I  II        Weinberger I  II        Zerer        Bowyer    Lagace

1. For background, please read

Russell Stinson. Bach. The Orgelbüchlein. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Chapter 1.

2. Stinson suggests (in a later chapter), as do other authors, that most of the chorales in this collection fall into one of three categories distinguished by their treatment of the chorale melody. Look through the entire collection; can you discern three basic types? (Note: "Christum wir sollen loben schon" and "In dir ist Freude" are outliers.)

3. Study in particular the following settings. Excerpted scores are here.

"Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" BWV 599

"Das alte Jahr vergangen ist" BWV 614

"O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid" BWV Anh. 200 [BG score p. 38; autograph score page here]

"Christ lag in Todesbanden" BWV 625

"Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag" BWV 629

"Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" BWV 637

Written assignment 13. (Due Wednesday.)

Write 400-500 words on a setting from the Orgelbüchlein not from this assignment.



J. S. Bach: Large-scale settings

Study the following chorale settings, representative of various types and procedures. There is an overview in

Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver. "Chorale settings." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.  Section 2.5

1. A fantasia in the North German tradition

Christ lag in Todes Banden BWV 718    Score    Recordings:     Fagius       Butler

2. Preludes of the so-called Pachelbel type.

Aus tiefer Not BWV 686                          Score    Recordings:    Albrecht    Johannsen

Aus tiefer Not BWV 687                          Score    Recordings     Lippincott    Chapuis

What do these have in common? How does Bach derive such different pieces from the same tune and technique?

3. A concertante fugue

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr BWV 664    Score    Recordings:    Fagius    Rakich

From the construction of this piece, what do you understand by the (modern) term "concertante fugue?"

4. Extended cantus firmus settings cast as other musical types

A fugue: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 661    Score    Recordings:    Tillmanns    Oortmerssen

A trio sonata: Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam BWV 684    Score    Recordings:    Weinberger    Dirst

A three-part invention: Komm, Heiliger Geist BWV 651    Score    Recordings:    Bryndorf    Bowyer

[written assignment above]

J. S. Bach: Schübler Chorales

Study the following six chorale setting published by Bach in the late 1740s, the Sechs Choräle von verschiedener Art, known as the "Schübler chorales." How do they work? How is the collection organized? What makes these a group?

Resources: Score        Recordings: Lippincott    Rubsam [with other pieces]    Oortsmerssen   

At least five of the six organ works are transcriptions of cantata movements. Study the models, listed below. Why did Bach choose these pieces for transcription? How much of their original character do they bring with them? Are the cantata movements, in retrospect, organ-like? What do you suppose the model for BWV 646 looked like, assuming there was one?

BWV   Model    
645 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 140/4 Score Recording
646 Wo soll ich fliehen hin ?    
647 Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten BWV 93/4 Score Recording
648 Meine Seele erhebt den Herren BWV 10/5 Score Recording
649 Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 6/3 Score Recording
650 Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter BWV 137/2 Score Recording

 J. S. Bach: Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch" BWV 769

Study the following settings published by Bach around the same time as the Schübler chorales (late 1740s), probably after submitting it for his admission to a society of learned musicians.

Resources: Score        Recordings:    Dirst        Oortsmerssen    Albrecht        Stravinsky's arrangement.

The order in the printed edition is this:

Var. I. Canone all' ottava
Var. II. Alio Modo in Canone alla Quinta
Var. III. Canone alla Settima
Var. IV. Canon per augmentationem
Var. V. L'altra Sorte del'Canone all'rovercio, 1) alla Sesta, 2) alla Terza, 3) alla Seconda è 4) alla Nona

The order in an autograph copy evidently made after the print is I, II, V, III, IV.

What aspects of the tune does Bach explore? How are the "variations" organized?

[Writing portfolio, including all versions in marked-up copies, due in class on Friday.]