Definition of chorale in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After the final word, ‘it is done’, the chorus sang the well-known chorale from the St Matthew Passion: ‘Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden’.’
    • ‘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 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 Organ Sonata #2 (for a burial ceremony) is an imposing work based on church chorales, but interspersed with moments of extreme romantic fervour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘Fervent disputes were aroused by prayer in the vernacular, chorales after Protestant models, mixed choirs, and organ-playing.’
    • ‘The Psalm, essentially a chorale, sings sweet enough to break your heart.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Three of the Latin choruses are directly followed by Lutheran chorales (their tunes taken from the St Matthew and St John Passions).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You asked me if I could perhaps play at the beginning of the service - in this instance - the first of Bach's Advent chorales.’
    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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shaw (and every other conductor so far) has problems with shaping the final chorale, rushing both the climax and the closing diminuendo.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The splendid music on this CD's a fine vindication of Bach's teaching, with its emphasis on thorough bass and chorales.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of the firmly harmonized chorales were impressive (though some were thin or too slow), as were those with colourful instrumental interludes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The solemn opening Persichetti calls a ‘chorale,’ but it's definitely a chorale filtered through Stravinsky.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rhythmic values are quarter, eighth and half notes, and only the major finger pattern is used in the first chorale.’
      • ‘Although a fugue, it moves very much like a chorale.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When already thirty, he decided on a return to basics, busying himself with contrapuntal puzzles, fugues and harmonization of chorales.’
      • ‘I do have to caution that the booklet notes and texts for the chorales are in French and German only.’
  • 2US A choir or choral society.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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