Metrical hymn tune associated in common English usage with the Lutheran church in Germany. From early in the Reformation, chorales were to be sung by the congregation during the Protestant liturgy. The words of the Lutheran chorales were often Latin plainsong hymn texts translated into the vernacular. The melodies were often borrowed from secular song and therefore displayed great melodic and structural simplicity. In modern times the chorale is considered to be a musical setting, usually polyphonic (multivoiced), of a traditional religious text.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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