“And, moreover, [these songs] have been arranged into four voices, for no other reason than that I fervently wish that young people, who should and must be trained in music and the other fine arts, had something to make them abandon love tunes and carnal songs and in their place learn something wholesome, and thus fill the good with pleasure, as is best for the young. Furthermore, I am not of the opinion that all the arts should be beaten down and fade away because of the gospel, as some of the superspiritual suggest, but would gladly see all the arts, particularly music, in the service of him who has given and created them.”

— Martin Luther, preface to Gesangbüchlein, 1524
(as found in Hymnology: A Collection of Source Readings, David W. Music: Scarecrow Press, 1996).

Allow me to attempt some take-away points (involving various levels of interpretation):

  1. Luther believed young people should be trained in a variety of fine arts.
  2. People have always tended toward love songs (and inappropriate ones at that).
  3. Luther believed God was more glorified by using all the musical richness at our disposal than by stripping it away (likely for reasons of distraction or association with old Catholicism).
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