Chorale Prelude

   An organ composition that prepared the congregation to sing a Lutheran chorale by using it as the principal thematic material. Such pieces were commonly improvised from the late 16th century onward, but composers also made and collected formal compositions based on well-known chorales for use throughout the liturgical year, such as the Orgelbü chlein of Johann Sebastian Bach. In modern times, it functions much more often as a prelude to the entire liturgy, and its chorale may or may not be sung within that liturgy, although it usually refers to the liturgical theme or season in some way.
   The most common ways of using the chorale melody are: as a cantus firmus, in durations much longer than the surrounding texture, most often in the soprano voice (e.g., Der Tage, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605); as an ornamented version that blends the melody into the texture by adopting the same rhythmic motives (e.g., Nun {}komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599); by using each melodic phrase to construct a fughetta (e.g., Komm, Heiliger Geist, BV 652); as a canon (e.g., Gottes Sohn ist kommen, BWV 600). Many of Bach’s works combine these methods.
   Composers’ interest in chorale preludes declined along with liturgical music generally in the late 18th century. In the 20th century, however, the genre has revived somewhat, and preludes upon hymn tunes of all Christian traditions abound in publishers catalogs. Among the more renowned American composers of hymn preludes are Michael Burkhardt (1957– ), Charles Callahan (1951– ), Wilbur Held (1914– ), and Paul Manz (1919– ).

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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  • Chorale prelude — In music, a chorale prelude is a short liturgical composition for organ using a chorale tune as its basis. It was a predominant style of the German Baroque era and reached its culmination in the works of J.S. Bach, who wrote 46 (with a 47th… …   Wikipedia

  • chorale prelude — Music. a composition usually for organ that is based on a chorale or other hymn tune and is typically contrapuntal in style. [1920 25] * * * ▪ music       a short setting for organ of a German Protestant (Protestantism) chorale melody, used to… …   Universalium

  • chorale prelude — chorale′ pre′lude n. mad a contrapuntal musical composition for organ based on a chorale • Etymology: 1920–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • chorale prelude — noun a composition for organ using a chorale as a basis for variations • Hypernyms: ↑prelude …   Useful english dictionary

  • chorale prelude — noun Date: circa 1924 a composition usually for organ based on a chorale …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Chorale composition — is an important class of Baroque organ composition based on chorale melodies. It became popular in the early seventeenth century and flourished in middle and northern Germany until the early eighteenth century. Description Chorale compositions… …   Wikipedia

  • Chorale Composition — is an important class of Baroque organ composition based on chorale medodies. It became popular in the early seventeenth century and flourished in middle and northern Germany until the early eighteenth century.DescriptionChoral compositions are… …   Wikipedia

  • Chorale setting — A chorale setting is any of a very wide variety of musical compositions, almost entirely of Protestant origin, which use a chorale as their basis. They are vocal, instrumental, or both. Although the bulk of them are German in origin, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Chorale — This article is about the musical composition. For a singing group (sometimes called chorale), see choir. A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of… …   Wikipedia

  • Prelude (music) — A prelude is a short piece of music, which its form will vary from piece to piece. While, during the Baroque Age, for example, it may have served as an introduction to succeeding movements of a work that were usually longer and more complex, it… …   Wikipedia

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