Episode 254: The Reformation of Music and the Music of the Reformation

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Music! Reformation! Reformation Music! Oh, ok... so maybe I say "look at this slide".  And you are all, "I can't see with my ears, dummy". And then I am like, "they were bad slides and would have confused you more". Problem solved.

Today's show is on another Reformation theme and taken from a lecture Dan gave on the eve of the Reformation a few years ago. 

Also, there might be a ticket or two for you last stragglers to join the crew in San Diego this weekend (Oct. 19 2017).  Go here to see what you can get!


I have not  read this article yet, but when you have a picture of Luther on the Lyre and name the article "The Reformation: classical music's punk moment" and you are publishing it in the UK Guardian? Dang. 

Spotify playlist! There are some better versions, and I would also like an Apple Music version, but... maybe later (or, be the first to make it so I can post it and we will send you a free shirt). If there are versions of this songs you dig more, email me or shoot us a tweet at @viwpodcast or on the Facebook page.  Check out the notes below.


Maybe you know this song and hate it.  Maybe you think Lost and Found are sophomoric or some such fancy word.  For the rest of you, here you go, a song celebrating famous and obscure Lutherans. 

The Reformation of Music and the Reformation in Music


Why we sing:

We emote

We learn

We confess

We are actively engaged in culture


Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.


Ephesians 5:19 “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart’

1 Corinthians 4:15 “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.”


Part of a series- you can check it out here!


“Culture”- entire way of a life of a society (music, clothes, family, food, beliefs, etc...)


A few names and styles mentioned:

 Josquin- cantus firmas (a tenor carries the tune while other voices are decorative- Josquin added more voices to also carry the tune and other voices to respond in dialogue- Musicians do what they can with notes, Josquin does what he wants”-Luther

Vittoria- National musical expression- worked in Rome, studied under Palestrina, went to Rome, returned to Spain to work for Empress Maria, Widow- no secular music, intense and varied emotions. - lifespan coincided with spanish mystics

Palestrina- served under 8 popes, composed 100 massess 500 motets, 100 secular madrigals, he was confirmed by the council of Trent as the model of church music


Lutheran Music


Luther and the Chorale- German language verse in stanza form- similar to secular music.

Deutsche Messe (The German Mass, a slightly modified version of the traditional Catholic Mass

Bach, the Theologians (Paul Gerhardt) and the Passion Chorale


Reformed Music


no music appropriate


pure Psalmody

Fewer things have a more profound influence on human emotions than the combined force of music and words- but the music must be the vehicle for the words.

Huguenots (French Calvinists) sung psalms going into battle during the French Wars of Religion



Catholic style of liturgy while embracing Reformed theology- The Anthem- The words are selected from Holy Scripture or in some cases from the Liturgy, and the music is generally more elaborate and varied than that of psalm or hymn tunes- being written for a trained choir and not for the congregation

Check. this. out. And see if you can find the possibly apocryphal story about this song. If you do, just believe it.  It's too good a story to not at least pretend it is true,

Daniel van Voorhis