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The Whole Church Sings
Congregational Singing in Luther's Wittenberg
PAPERBACK; Published: 5/12/2017
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7375-0
220 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies

Authoritativ e study by a renowned musicologist and Reformation scholar

Many scholars think that congregational singing was not established in Lutheran worship until well after the start of the Reformation. In this book Robin A. Leaver calls that view into question, presenting new research to confirm the earlier view that congregational singing was both the intention and the practice right from the beginning of the Wittenberg reforms in worship.

Leaver's study focuses on the Wittenberg hymnal of 1526, which until now has received little scholarly attention. This hymnal, Leaver argues, shows how the Lutheran Reformation was to a large degree defined, expressed, promoted, and taken to heart through early Lutheran hymns. Examining what has been forgotten or neglected about the origins of congregational hymnody under Martin Luther's leadership, this study of worship, music, and liturgy is a significant contribution to Reformation scholarship.
REVIEWS
Stephen A. Crist
— Emory University
"Though focused on a significant reevaluation of one specific hymnal published in Wittenberg in 1526, this book is a virtuosic study of Lutheran congregational song in its formative first two decades (1517–36). The depth and breadth of Leaver's erudition are dazzling. This is the lucid and detailed account of the origins of Protestant hymnody that we have been awaiting."
Bryan D. Spinks
— Yale Institute of Sacred Music
"Robin Leaver is one of the leading scholars of the musical traditions of the Reformation. In this detailed and comprehensive study he presents and discusses the rich contributions of both Luther and the Wittenberg Reformation to congregational hymns. This is an important book both for historians of music and for liturgical studies."
Paul Westermeyer
— Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
"A most welcome addition to Reformation studies generally and to Luther's contribution to the church's song particularly. The text tells the story, but for those who want even more details, the footnotes and appendices amply provide the data to pursue them. We owe Leaver deep and abiding gratitude."
Michael Marissen
— author of Bach & God
"Drawing on a lifetime's experience and expertise, Leaver has charted not only a superb introduction to the world of Lutheran hymnody but also a fundamental rereading of its early history."
William Weedon
— LCMS Director of Worship
"A masterful refutation of the relatively recent notion that congregational singing was not integral to Luther's program for the renewal of the liturgy. . . . A must-read!"

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