Abstract and Keywords
Aural culture, including music, was central to Protestant efforts to redefine authentic Christianity and Christian practice. Inheriting from medieval Christianity both a rich musical tradition and anxiety over the spiritual value of sound, Reformers sought to delimit and deploy music as means and mark of the spread of the Reformation and to employ it in their institutions: in churches and schools as well as in homes. Across confessional boundaries, but in ways distinct to each, the practice of music served to define confessional identity and to bridge or to separate public and private spaces, the sacred and the secular or profane. Despite significant differences in content and context, for the large majority of sixteenth-century Protestants (and in the eyes of their theological opponents), communal singing of hymns (chorales) or metrical psalms became a defining and enduring feature of Protestant identity.
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