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An excerpt from the Preface:
In the present volume those of the Cantatas and Motetts are considered.
The author approaches the Chorals from the historical rather than an aesthetic standpoint.
His object is to reveal the origin and authorship of the Hymns and Hymn melodies which, like jewels, decorate Bach's concerted Church music.
The melodies are printed here in their earliest form and, where possible, Bach's variations of them are traced to an earlier tradition or attributed to himself In similar manner, the text of his Hymn stanzas, as printed by the Bachgesellschaft, has been collated with the originals in Philipp Wackernagel's Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der ältesten Zeit bis zu Anfang des XVII Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 5 vols. 1864-77) or Albert Fischer and W. Tümpel's Das deutsche evangelische Kirchenlied des siebzehnten Jakrkunderts (Gütersloh, 1904-16). The few Hymns which are not in those collections are marked with an asterisk in the following pages. The author has not had the opportunity to examine their original texts elsewhere.
For the help of students and others the author, on the first occurrence of every Choral melody, states where Bach uses it elsewhere in his concerted Church music and Organ works*. Thus, Bach's treatment of a particular tune can be studied exhaustively.
Since all but a few of the Cantatas are published only with German texts, it has seemed advisable to provide an Appendix of translations of the Hymn stanzas, upwards of two hundred and fifty in number, which Bach uses in the Cantatas and Motetts. Wherever it is available, the text of Novello & Co.'s and Messrs J. & W. Chester's Editions has been used, with the permission of the two firms.
Six melodies that occur in the "Passions" and Oratorios are not found in the Cantatas or Motetts.
They are printed in an Appendix. This volume therefore contains all the Choral tunes used by Bach in his concerted Church music.
* The references throughout are to Novello's Edition of Bach's Organ Works, Books xv-xix.
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