This booklet is the fourth in a series of similarly presented small song selections, published by the Francke Foundations and ortus musikverlag since 2007. Now 23 German church hymns or spiritual songs are presented, which bear witness to the development and consolidation of a melodic 'jargon' reaching into the emerging church song,
on the basis of "Bohemian" repertoire according to the understanding of our definition. The selection made is an attempt to convey factual situations and developments as steps towards an understanding of 16th century hymn melody, as confirmation of its rounding off, existence and changed survival. This includes here and there testimonies of bows to history, tangible consideration of knowledge, and to the point of playing with them. Thus, developments do not seem to run through individual concrete melodies or even their lyrics at all infrequently. [...]
The first part contains the songs themselves, some even in more than one version. Some of the songs in this compilation are among the most familiar, that we have of hymns, even if not always in the versions given here. Others are certainly little known today [...]. In the second part, the songs are presented in short contributions in accordance with our intention as milestones for the formation of a repertoire and its comprehensibility. The sequence of the presentations at the front is arranged in such a way that the explanations in the second part can be arranged into ten chapters. Johann Crüger's PRAXIS PIETATIS MELICA, Berlin since 1640, and the Geistreiche Gesangbuch of Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen (1670-1739), Halle since 1704, are used as far as possible. Both series of hymnals, which have many connections with Francke's institutions and are the focal points of editions and research at today's Francke Foundations, already confirm in themselves the overall cultural-historical situation that we are concerned with here.
Hans-Otto Korth (from the introduction)