The sacred lute: intabulated chorales from Luther's age to the beginnings of pietism



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Chorale and psalm intabulations were an integral part of the German repertory for lute, both in print and in manuscript, from the beginnings of the Reformation through the seventeenth century. While these works are regularly present, if in modest proportion, in extant sources through the period, the study of these intabulations remains a lacuna in the scholarly literature. The repertory, however, is an important topic for study as it reflects key aspects of Early Modern life for devout Lutheran households: debates over orthodox and Pietist theology, private devotion and the use of domestic space, conservatism versus progressive musical approaches, and the intersection between instrumental practices and traditions of Protestant sacred song. In an effort to address this lacuna, this study catalogs chorale and psalm intabulations for lute in both print and manuscript from the early sixteenth century to the emergence of Pietism. Most importantly, it attempts to provide a context for the performance of this repertory, arguing for an assessment of lute chorales and psalms as a crucial part of domestic devotional practice.