Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
The chief contributions of Martin Luther to Western civilization are in the fields of theology and religious reform; but his influence upon, and even his direct contributions to, the development of music also are of considerable importance. Luther has established a place for himself in history as "the great German religious reformer who began the Protestant Reformation" (Brit., 436), but his abilities as a musician are often overlooked. That Luther had a great love for music is clear from a letter which he sent to Ludwig Senfl, the court musician at Munich, on October 4, 1530, in which he says: "I firmly believe, nor am i ashamed to assert, that next to theology no art is equal to music; for it is the only one, except theology, which is able to give a quiet and happy mind. ... By why do i praise music now, trying to depict--or rather to disfigure--so great a subject on so small a slip of paper? But my love for music, which has often refreshed me and set me free from great worries, abounds and bubbles." (quoted in Plass, 983). Indeed, Luther's influence in the history of music cannot be underestimated. "The fact that we possess a great body German Protestant church music mainly attributable to Luther's understanding and love of music." (Buszin, 80).
Hill, Charles L., "Luther the musician" (1968). Honors Theses. 533.