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  • Author: John Swarbrick x
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Abstract

This article seeks to demonstrate Martin Luther's often-overlooked credentials as a musician. Luther was convinced that music was the viva voce evangelii (living voice of the gospel), and unlike other more radical Reformation movements, he encouraged the use of choral and congregational singing in worship. Some of his familiar hymns – Nun freut euch, Ein’ feste Burg and Aus tiefer Not – offer insights into his ambitions to embed congregational singing into his vision of reformed worship, which went hand in hand with liturgical reform. Luther's Formula Missae and the vernacular Deutsche Messe lay the groundwork for Lutheran worship, which restructured the service around the centrality of the gospel proclamation. Luther's musical tradition reached its zenith in the work of J. S. Bach, which continues to echo in the Western musical canon, leaving Luther with a lasting musical legacy.