I’m starting the process of expanding my first paper, which was about Luther’s Christ lag in Todes Banden chorale and its medieval musical roots. I considered a couple different ideas for how to expand the scope or depth of my paper- my first thought was to continue exploring how the Victimae/Christ lag melody was used after Luther’s time; maybe by examining later works that quoted the melody. However, I was worried that pursuing this line of research wouldn’t fit with the core of my original argument, and that the paper would turn into more of a narrative re-telling of where the melody has been through the centuries, when it should instead be an expanded, thesis-driven analysis.
So I’ve chosen to go a different route, and contextualize the Christ lag chorale a bit more fully. Hopefully I will be able to make some larger claims about Luther’s hymnody that use Christ Lag (and maybe another chorale tune or two) as an example/examples. I’m starting off by trying to find information on some questions that remained unanswered in my first version. These questions are:
- Luther’s chorale text shares some images with the text of the original sequence, but are there significant differences between the two texts that reflect Luther’s new theological ideas?
- How many of Luther’s chorales had similar roots in Catholic liturgical music? Exploring this question could either strengthen my thesis (by showing that Luther preserved a great deal of earlier tunes) or bring up a counterargument that is worth addressing (that the inclusion of melodies with medieval roots was inconsequential, rare, or not generally representative of Luther’s hymn-writing process).
- How significant was Christ ist erstanden to the development of Christ Lag in Todes Banden? I essentially dismissed its influence in my first version of the paper, but I’d like to find a source that gives more information about the hymn or about leise in general.
- What other information can I find about hymn-singing practices in Luther’s congregations? The tidbits I found about the ways Luther’s hymns were sung and incorporated into worship were really interesting to me, and more information might shed some more light on how churches actually experienced new worship music in contrast with previous traditions.