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choral prelude

choral prelude or chorale prelude (Ger. Choral Vorspiel). From the custom of playing org. preludes and interludes to the chorale grew the technique of 2 special forms of comp., one based upon a treatment of the chorale melody, often taken line by line and surrounded by other melodic parts woven together into elaborate counterpoint, and the other not reproducing the chorale intact but suggesting it to the minds of the hearers by taking its first few notes as the theme to be elaborated. For a north Ger. congregation, to whom the melodies were all known from childhood, such a piece of organ mus. had great interest and significance.

Among the composers who helped to develop this form were Sweelinck (1562–1621), Scheidt (1587–1654), Pachelbel (1653–1706), Buxtehude (1637–1707), Reinken (1623–1722), and Böhm (1661–1733). Such of Bach's forebears as were orgs. also took their part in the working out of the form, and he himself crowned the labours of all his predecessors and contemporaries.

In addition to the Chorale Preludes of Bach there are certain early works which he called Chorale Partitas, the word partita here, as with certain other composers, having not the usual sense of a suite but of an air with variations. The no. of variations corresponds to the number of the verses of the hymns, and each variation seems to be designed to re-express the thought of the corresponding verse. Since Bach many other Ger. composers have written chorale preludes, Brahms's last comp., Op.122, being a set of 11.

To some extent the same form was cultivated in Eng. Purcell has a Voluntary on the Old Hundredth that, in its way, is on the lines of the Bach Chorale Prelude.

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Choral

Choral (Ger.), chorale (Eng.).
1. Metrical hymn-tune characteristic of the Ger. Reformed Church and sung in unison. Martin Luther (1483–1546) wished to restore the congregation's role in church services and wrote simple devotional words to tunes familiar either as folk-songs or as old ecclesiastical melodies (i.e. plainsong chants). A famous example is Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Safe Stronghold our God is still). But the Ger. word Choral orig. belonged to the unreformed Church and means the ecclesiastical plainsong, the cantus choralis. Properly, the ‘choral’ in the Ger. RC Church is that part of the plainsong sung by more than one v. (the ‘concentus’ as distinguished from the ‘accentus’), but this distinction of terminology is not always observed.

The first Lutheran chorales had not the regular rhythms that they later took on. They had often a mixture of duple and triple time and, indeed, a good deal of the free rhythm of plain song. With Lutheran chorales, as with Genevan, Eng., and Scot. hymn tunes, the melody was at first in the ten. During the 17th cent. it gradually became usual to place it in the treble, as today. 4-part settings of chorales were made by many musicians in the 16th, 17th, and 18th cents.

The repertory of the Ger. chorale may be said to have been completed in Bach's day. He comp. only about 30, but he made 400 reharmonizations of existing chorale melodies and used some of them with memorable effect in his settings of the Passions.

2. The term is used in USA as a synonym for choir or chorus, e.g. Robert Wagner Chorale.

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Choral Symphony

Choral Symphony. A sym. in which a ch. is used at some point. By general usage the Choral Sym. means Beethoven's Sym. No.9 in D minor, Op.125, in which the finale is a setting for 4 soloists, ch., and orch. of Schiller's ‘Ode to Joy’. But Holst wrote a Choral Symphony (to poems by Keats, f.p. 1925), and there are many syms. since Beethoven which use soloists and ch. in one or more movts., e.g. Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony, Britten's Spring Symphony, Mahler's Syms. Nos. 2, 3, and 8, and Shostakovich's 2nd and 13th Syms. Bantock's Atalanta in Calydon is a choral sym. for vv. alone.

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Choral Fantasia

Choral Fantasia.
1. Beethoven's Op.80, in C minor, for solo pf., ch., and orch., comp. 1808. Comprises variations on Beethoven's song Gegenliebe (1794–5), a melody which resembles that of prin. theme of finale of his 9th Sym., for which this Fantasia seems to have been a preliminary experiment. Text is poem by Christoph Kuffner.

2. Holst's Op.51, for sop., ch., org., brass, perc., and str., to words by Robert Bridges (1844–1930), comp. 1930. F.p. Gloucester Fest. 1931.

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choral music

choral music Music written for several voices. Choral compositions were originally religious, cantata and oratorio being the most usual forms. The foremost composer of cantatas was J. C. Bach, and of oratorios Handel. Choral music varies greatly in size and style, from the small-scale, secular madrigals of the 16th century to the large-scale works of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Verdi's Requiem (1874), Elgar's Dream of Gerontius (1900), and the choral symphonies of Mahler.

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choral

cho·ral / ˈkôrəl/ • adj. composed for or sung by a choir or chorus. ∎  engaged in or concerned with singing. DERIVATIVES: cho·ral·ly adv.

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choral

choral 2 (often chora le) German choral song on a devotional theme. XIX. — G. choral, f. choralgesang, tr. medL. cantus choralis (cf. prec.).

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choral

choral 1 pert. to a choir XVI; pert. to a chorus XVII. — medL. chorālis; see CHORUS and -AL 1.

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Choral Vorspiel

Choral Vorspiel. See choral prelude.

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choral

choralapparel, barrel, carol, Carole, carrel, Carroll, Darrell, Darryl, Farrell •gambrel • spandrel •astral, plastral •cracker-barrel •Errol, feral •petrel, petrol •spectral •central, epicentral, ventral •ancestral, kestrel, orchestral •dextral • Sacheverell • mayoral •sacral • wastrel • cerebral •anhedral, cathedral, dihedral, tetrahedral •hypaethral (US hypethral), urethral •squirrel, Tyrol, Wirral •timbrel, whimbrel •minstrel • arbitral • sinistral • integral •triumviral •spiral, viral •amoral, Balmoral, coral, immoral, laurel, moral, quarrel, sorel, sorrel •cockerel, Cockerell •dotterel • rostral •aboral, aural, choral, floral, goral, oral •austral, claustral •scoundrel • cloistral • neutral • figural •augural •demurral, Durrell •mongrel • sepulchral • lustral •spheral • retiral •crural, jural, mural, neural, plural, rural •illiberal, liberal •natural • federal • peripheral •doggerel • mackerel • pickerel •bicameral, unicameral •admiral •ephemeral, femoral •humeral, numeral •general • mineral • funeral •spatio-temporal, temporal •corporal • tesseral • visceral •bilateral, collateral, equilateral, lateral, multilateral, quadrilateral, trilateral, unilateral •pastoral •electoral, pectoral, prefectoral, protectoral •clitoral, literal, littoral, presbyteral •dipteral, peripteral •doctoral • several • behavioural •conferral, deferral, referral, transferral

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