I will admit, I haven’t gotten very far in my research yet. I’m currently stuck between two topics that I find equally as interesting: why the Bay Psalm Book was a failure despite its heavy use, or why Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony demonstrates the ultimate sign of Lutheranism despite Mendelssohn’s Jewish ancestry.
Initially, I was set on writing about Mendelssohn, but after reading about the Bay Psalm Book, I found it somewhat comical enough to steal my heart. Most of the sources I’ve been reading from hype the book as if it’s the best thing that has happened to humanity, then immediately acknowledge it’s failure and describe how badly it was written. The fact that this poorly written psalm book was fought over so badly makes me wonder what would’ve happened if a well-written book had taken its place. Would it have died out as rapidly as it did? The only issue with this topic is, I’m unsure what stance I would take or what argument I could make about it. Much like my previous paper on Ein feste Burg, most of the information is a bit too straight-forward to twist into an opinion of my own.
My other topic, Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony, falls a bit into the same boat. I feel it would be inaccurate to argue that Mendelssohn underwent a musical revolution by converting to Lutheranism especially since it was his family, not him, that decided to make the switch. I also don’t believe this was done under very happy terms, and my research has indicated he and his siblings weren’t necessarily pleased with it. I think there are a lot of great details in the Reformation Symphony I could reference in a paper, but I don’t have a firm grasp on a broader thesis.
I’ve found that, when I’m researching, I get too caught up in the facts and theories to remember what I’m actually trying to say. While both of these topics interest me, I know I’ll need to make them more substantial and focused before committing.