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date: 18 November 2019

Reformed and Presbyterian church musiclocked

  • Andreas Marti
  •  and Bert Polman


The music of Protestant denominations belonging to (or inspired by) the Reformed tradition inaugurated by Ulrich Zwingli and, particularly, Jean Calvin in Switzerland during the early decades of the 16th century. In almost all the Churches metrical-psalm singing has remained the distinguishing musical element of their worship.

The Reformation ushered in by Ulrich Zwingli in Zürich in 1525 caused a break with traditional worship and its music. Unlike Luther, Zwingli did not preach within the framework of the Mass but in a special form of service based on the sermon. The liturgy employed for such a service, whose roots lay in late medieval practice, was entirely (or almost entirely) said rather than sung. At this early stage of the Reformation congregational singing within the liturgy was a rare occurrence, so that after the celebration of the Mass declined in Zürich and the preaching service became the central act of worship, liturgical music lost its foothold. That congregational singing was not introduced in Zürich in the years following the Reformation was probably connected with Zwingli’s death in ...

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Journal of the American Musicological Society
Musical Quarterly
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie