The Chorale and Church Cantata

The Chorale and Church Cantata

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The Chorale and Church Cantata

Chorale is a musical piece designed to praise God. It is usually sung in church by a large number of people. Lutheranism had emphasis on the believer-Christ connection. This connection had to be achieved through direct communication; that was to be conducted using vernacular language. Chorales composed in German and easy to sing and remember were harmonized into church choirs.Cantata, on the other hand, was a musical piece composed to reinforce the sermon from a minister who were mainly Epistle and Gospel readings on Sundays and any other Bach holidays. They were long recitations in different movements that included a duet, aria, recitatives, and choruses.

Cantata No. 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, by Bach

Movement I

Four phrases of different lengths make up the first movement. The phrases’ lengths vary between two and five bars. A A B is the form of the chorale and there are three vocal melodies that have been employed to resonate out movement I. The chorale melodies are sopranos that have been doubled by horn.Three voices enter imitatively with note runs that are joyous to paint the word alleluia(01:25) in the first movement. The same scenario is repeated with the phrase Wake up(01:18) The text for this painting is; Wake up and take your lamps.

Movement IV

The chorale melody is carried by the tenor in this movement. The other presentations in this movement are soprano and base. The chorale tunes also have with them a faster rhythmic value in comparison to the other movement discussed above.

Movement VII

The chorale of movement IV has all voices taking part, in contrast to the other movements. The texture of the homophones is simple with four voices that are doubled by the instruments. The instruments do not play their own melodies.

Ev’ry Valley Shall be Exalted, by Handel

There are different word paintings in which rapid musical lines are formed from numerous notes. In the first instance, in the Orchestral section(00:00), phrases are repeated at different dynamic levels at the Instrumental Introduction. The second instance, in the text Ev’ry valley, shall be exalted, there are rapid notes on exalted(00:21). At 00:55, there is a low tone on low in the line And ev’ry mountain and hill made low. The fourth instance has a wavy melody on crooked and a smooth melody on plain(01:01). The text for that painting is; The crooked straight and the rough places plain. Lastly, there are word paintings on exalted, mountain, low, crooked and plain(01:41). These are derived from the text; Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

Hallelujah Chorus

In the chorus, there is as sweeping variety by impulsive changes in the polyphonic, monophonic and homophonic textures. Handel also repeats the phrases and words overly, as has been the ordinary in choral music.

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