Definition of chorale in English:



  • 1A stately hymn tune, especially one associated with the German Lutheran Church.

    • ‘The Organ Sonata #2 (for a burial ceremony) is an imposing work based on church chorales, but interspersed with moments of extreme romantic fervour.’
    • ‘This is a new musical language only made possible when the traditional and emotive vocal wailing of the Ntaria women is applied to Lutheran chorales - the hymn tunes that were the basis of much of JS Bach's music.’
    • ‘The four-part chorale is presented first sans pedal in Movement I; Movement II is a sprightly voluntary in ABA form, which serves as the framework for an embellished version of the hymn tune in its midsection.’
    • ‘You asked me if I could perhaps play at the beginning of the service - in this instance - the first of Bach's Advent chorales.’
    • ‘In their tenderness and intimacy, their heartfelt experience of Jesus' final hours, and their prayerful, awestruck participation in the mercy poured out in him, the chorales and choruses became prayer.’
    • ‘The Lutheran chorale became the sure spiritual foundation of Bach's output, no more tellingly than in the Eighteen Chorales Bach revised towards the end of his life.’
    • ‘Three of the Latin choruses are directly followed by Lutheran chorales (their tunes taken from the St Matthew and St John Passions).’
    • ‘It also deliberately evokes them as models through the use of a Narrator, together with large - scale choruses and Lutheran chorales, the latter punctuating the action at three key points.’
    • ‘That language is enfleshed in different ways in different contexts: in gospel music and chant, in oil for anointing and in silence, in chorales and hymns and dance.’
    • ‘The Psalm, essentially a chorale, sings sweet enough to break your heart.’
    • ‘There are very few chorales in the work but the resounding conclusion with full chorus is strikingly similar to the ending of the much more celebrated ‘St John Passion’.’
    • ‘Lutheran chorales were so often the basis of Bach's counterpoint, and Wagner devised for his Nuremberg mastersingers a counterpoint that was both traditional and contemporary.’
    • ‘The Thirty Years War severely disrupted German liturgical life and fostered the composition of comparatively subjective chorales which could also be used for personal devotions.’
    • ‘I suspect that many more organ chorales were accompaniments for hymn-singing than we now appreciate: hymn books with melody were rare, and somehow the organist had to play and harmonise the tune.’
    • ‘This work consists of a collection of 7 chorales with preludes and postludes with which the organist can make his contribution to all the liturgical parts of the religious service.’
    • ‘After the final word, ‘it is done’, the chorus sang the well-known chorale from the St Matthew Passion: ‘Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden’.’
    • ‘I doubt an orthodox Lutheran composer thought he had ‘left behind’ a chorale's confessional significance when he wrote variations on it: perhaps the very opposite.’
    • ‘Fervent disputes were aroused by prayer in the vernacular, chorales after Protestant models, mixed choirs, and organ-playing.’
    • ‘The second movement, most directly connected with a funeral, pits the second choir, singing a chorale on the fragility of human life, against a florid commentary on God's mercy.’
    • ‘The ravishing harmony of the final invocation of Christ and ‘the glory of Paradise’ brings to mind the very similar chorales of Bernstein's Mass.’
    hymn, song, song of praise, psalm, paean, plainsong, chant, canticle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A musical composition consisting of or resembling a harmonized version of a chorale.
      • ‘The solemn opening Persichetti calls a ‘chorale,’ but it's definitely a chorale filtered through Stravinsky.’
      • ‘He states that high school music theory students should be given myriad opportunities to compose melodies, chorales and ensemble warm-ups to develop basic compositional skills.’
      • ‘I do have to caution that the booklet notes and texts for the chorales are in French and German only.’
      • ‘The splendid music on this CD's a fine vindication of Bach's teaching, with its emphasis on thorough bass and chorales.’
      • ‘Essentially, all music historians are trained in tonal harmony by studying Bach chorales and classical music, but music before 1700 worked under rather different assumptions.’
      • ‘Rhythmic values are quarter, eighth and half notes, and only the major finger pattern is used in the first chorale.’
      • ‘Depending on the student's learning style, a teacher might ask a student to play the chord while naming the next chord in the chorale.’
      • ‘When already thirty, he decided on a return to basics, busying himself with contrapuntal puzzles, fugues and harmonization of chorales.’
      • ‘It's not a huge piece, more a quiet reflection starting from the chorale and developing a certain drama midway through, with a moment of inspired clarity at the end, as high chords soothe away the preceding tensions.’
      • ‘No pianist has ever taken the Busoni transcription of a Bach chorale so slowly, revealing the giant edifice behind it, nor has anyone, the composer included, filled Rachmaninov's G# minor prelude with such foreboding.’
      • ‘Although a fugue, it moves very much like a chorale.’
      • ‘One of the joys of this collection is the variety: from traditional brass chorales of traditional old carols to more contemporary seasonal favorites given a jazzy-bluesy or big-band swing treatment.’
      • ‘Through a chromatic mist of string ostinatos, a plainsong chorale gradually emerges in the brass climaxing in resplendent fanfares, before fading away into a haze of sound as the procession recedes.’
      • ‘In his Clavierübung it was Krebs's way to treat the chorales in three sections: first a ‘praeambulum’ hinting at the mood of the tune and its contour; second a chorale prelude; and third the chorale itself.’
      • ‘The third movement, an elegy to the murdered child, is sad, but cool, working through the conventions of the musical elegy - the slow march, low, dark timbres, chorales, and so on.’
      • ‘Amateur singers were packing the boxes on either side of the proscenium - to jolly the audience along in three of the chorales - their voices providing a stark and, for me, a more pleasing contrast to the professionals.’
      • ‘Time seems to stand still in the chorales, which are sung by the Harvard and Radcliffe groups with an honesty that precludes boredom and concerns about stylistic refinement.’
      • ‘Most of the firmly harmonized chorales were impressive (though some were thin or too slow), as were those with colourful instrumental interludes.’
      • ‘Shaw (and every other conductor so far) has problems with shaping the final chorale, rushing both the climax and the closing diminuendo.’
      • ‘The slow playing of the melody, which is a pop song that nobody will recognise, is done by the winds and strings; they also play in slow fourpart harmony, like a chorale.’
  • 2US A choir or choral society.

    • ‘As the group's mission statement states, ‘the Eastern Youth Chorale is a movement of young people pursuing musical excellence,’ and their aim is to groom young singers for the adult chorale.’
    • ‘Not only does Long Beach boast an eclectic art scene, the city is home to world-class art museums, internationally renowned theater companies, its own symphony orchestra, opera company and master chorale.’
    • ‘One chorister, who had previously sung in both the choir and the chorale formed a point of connection between groups, but there was little, if any, direct interaction.’
    • ‘Together the chorale perform a wide repertoire of classical music from Bach, Handel and Vivaldi as well as traditional spiritual and Filipino pieces, several a cappella works and well known songs of praise.’
    • ‘In addition to his work at WOI Radio, Compton sings in his church choir, assists with Iowa State's Chamber Singers student chorale and serves as organizer/agent for an a cappella men's vocal group, The Music Men.’


Mid 19th century: from German Choral(gesang), translating medieval Latin cantus choralis.