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[kuh-ral, -rahl, kaw-, koh-; kawr-uh l, kohr-] /kəˈræl, -ˈrɑl, kɔ-, koʊ-; ˈkɔr əl, ˈkoʊr-/
a hymn, especially one with strong harmonization:
a Bach chorale.
a group of singers specializing in singing church music; choir.
Origin of chorale
1835-45; < German Choral, short for Choralgesang, translation of Latin cantus chorālis choral singing; see choral Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for chorale
Historical Examples
  • Often had he lingered upon the idea in chorale and cantata; but now he felt himself to have passed beyond the gulf.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
  • The chorale was the exact opposite of the motette of the Netherlands.

  • First they sang a chorale; and, this duty ended, soon turned to a medley of secular songs.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
  • It is not a play, it is a chorale of woe, malediction, and want.

    Iconoclasts James Huneker
  • At the close of it he raised his hands and the chorus burst into the chorale from the last scene of "Die Meistersinger."

  • The chorale was introduced by Luther; it was perfected by Bach.

  • He set the chorale When we are in the greatest need in four parts, dictating them to Altnikol, his son-in-law.

    Bach Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • Then all the congregation sang the chorale, and the choir kept silence.

  • The overture leads into the first piece of song, the chorale that forms a vital part of the musical texture as the opera proceeds.

    Richard Wagner John F. Runciman
  • Later the chorale is sounded by the full band, with intermediate beats of rhythmic march.

British Dictionary definitions for chorale


a slow stately hymn tune, esp of the Lutheran Church
(mainly US) a choir or chorus
Word Origin
C19: from German Choralgesang, translation of Latin cantus chorālis choral song
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chorale

1828, "sacred choral song," from German Choral "metrical hymn in Reformed church," shortened from Choralgesang "choral song," translating Medieval Latin cantus choralis, from Latin cantus (see chant (v.)) + choralis (see choral). The -e was added to indicate stress. Meaning "group of singers" is 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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