Praxis pietatis melica (Practice of Piety in Song) is a Protestant hymnal first published in the 17th century by Johann Crüger. The hymnal, which appeared under this title from 1647 to 1737 in 45 editions, has been described as “the most successful and widely-known Lutheran hymnal of the 17th century”.1 Crüger composed melodies to texts that were published in the hymnal and are still sung today, including “Jesu, meine Freude”, “Herzliebster Jesu” and “Nun danket alle Gott”. Between 1647 and 1661, Crüger first printed 90 songs by his friend Paul Gerhardt.
The volume of hymns was intended for use in both church and private services. The explanation of the Latin title was given from the very first publication in 1647: “Das ist: Vbung der Gottseligkeit in Christlichen und Trostreichen Gesängen” (That is: practice of Godliness in Christian and comforting chants). The subtitle continued: “Herrn D. Martini Lutheri fürnemlich / und denn auch anderer vornehmer und gelehrter Leute. Ordentlich zusammen gebracht” (mostly by Martin Luther / and others of his faithful followers and confessors of pure Protestant doctrine. Collected meticulously). Subsequent text on the title page varied between editions, and could include the number of hymns in the volume—the fifth edition stated it had 500 hymns, while the penultimate 44th edition contained 1316.
Der Genfer Psalter und seine Rezeption in Deutschland, der Schweiz und den Niederlanden: 16.-18. Jahrhundert. Walter de Gruyter. 2004. pp. 157–158. ↩