Luther, Martin


The famous German reformer; born in Eisleben, Prussia, where he died. He was himself quite a musician, had a good voice and could play the flute and lute. The music of the mass had become long drawn out and he made many alterations to shorten it. He called together Conrad Rupf, chapelmaster to the Elector of Saxony, and Johann Walther, cantor at the Court of Frederick the Wise, and with them in 1524, published the Order of the German Mass. He was also interested in songs for the people and was at the same time, writing and adapting hymns for the service. The first Protestant hymn-book appeared the same year, and contained four of Luther s hymns. These hymns became very popular. In 1538 he wrote a short essay in praise of music and he also wrote a poem, Frau Musica, on the same subject. There are thirty-six hymns either written or arranged by him, and thirteen hymntunes, though there is doubt about some of these being his.