The hymn tune of the German Protestant Church played a central role in the life of church worship. Long before any other people, the Germans developed a hymn tradition in their own language. As a result, the hymns were well know and widely sung as part of their tradition. Because of this, the chorale held a central position in the development German baroque music, which, in turn, became a major influence in the development of Protestant church music. Not only were the tunes and texts used as a basis for the rich cantata tradition, they were used in the development of instrumental music, and particularly in the development of the organ chorale, or chorale prelude.
In this tradition, Linda often plays a work that is based on a hymn tune as one of the special pieces she prepares each week. In some case, these come from a contemporary composer, in others, she draws on compositions from this rich musical heritage. If the piece is one from the Baroque Era, often the hymn tune or chorale is played first or sometimes, the chorale is played at the end. Then there are a series of variations on the tune in a polyphonic style which embellish and interpret the hymn. The hymn tune is often included in the variations used as a cantus firmus or ‘fixed song’, sometimes an elongated manner, while it is being embellished. Bach and Pachelbel often put the cantus firmus in the pedal. Sometimes there are free variations on the tune that use the original chord structure of the chorale without the chorale tune being present. In any case, at least the shadow of the hymn and its words color the composition with rich meaning.