Martin Luther and the pipe organ: His true sentiments affirmed
van Wyk, Theo
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Abstract Martin Luther’s views on the pipe organ as a functional instrument in the liturgy of the Reformation have been regarded as controversial for over 500 years. Based on selective research in the past, he has too often unjustifiably been stigmatised as the reformer who fervently rejected the instrument extensively throughout his lifetime. The main purpose of this research is to affirm empirically Luther’s insights into music in general, and particularly the pipe organ, by assessing his personal comments, his change in perceptions that followed in subsequent years, as well as addressing a number of fabrications attributed to him pertaining to the instrument. The research also endeavours to dismiss ultimately the tenuous narrative that he was completely opposed to the use of the pipe organ in the liturgy of the Reformation throughout his life. By focussing on ascribing the correct and proven opinions of Luther about the pipe organ and its liturgical purpose, it will endorse his position in history as a man of exceptional musical depth, camaraderie, appreciation and understanding. By applying this methodology, it becomes possible to re-envision Luther as someone who did not unwarrantedly reject all Roman Catholic musical traditions; he embraced it as a foundation for the implementation of a reformed musical liturgy, enhanced by the purposeful employment of the pipe organ in such a setting.