Köthen hymn book from the year 1768
A hymnbook is a collection of songs designed for singing together. These are mostly religious songs.
German hymns experienced a first high point in the early 16th century with the songs of Martin Luther, which he wrote in the language of the people. These songs were sung during the service, drowning out the Latin chants of the clergy. Within the framework of Pietism, a flood of new hymns arose, which was reflected in new hymnals. The most important hymn book of Pietism was the Freylinghausensche hymn book published in Halle in 1704. The “Collection of Cöthnische Lieder” published by the Halle university printer Johann Heinrich Hesse in 1768 also refers to this hymn book. The hymn book, printed in the typical, very narrow portrait format, is dedicated to Princess Louise Ferdinande (1744-1784) of Anhalt-Köthen.
The book only contains the lyrics, but no sheet music. This can be explained by the fact that the songs are sung to well-known melodies. These melodies are indicated in each case. For example, the song “Don’t forget me” is to be sung to the tune of “It costs a lot to be a Christian”.
Today, historical hymnals are important sources of cultural history for Germanists, liturgists and musicologists.
Collection of the Cöthnische Lieder, in three parts. Hall 1768
Dessau-Roßlau City Archives, Anhalt State Library, call number: 58 286