BWV 278

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Original source: Chorale, Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 278
Chorale Text: Christ lag in Todesbanden*, by Martin Luther (1524)
Tune: Christ lag in Todesbanden, by Martin Luther (1524), based on sequence Victimae Paschali laudes (Zahn 7012a)
First Performance: Unknown
Appearance in Early Collections (Key): Riemenschneider 371; Breitkopf 370; Dietel 133
Other Harmonizations: BWVs 4.8, 158.4, 277, 279

Comparative score: Five settings of Christ lag in Todesbanden aligned and placed in the same key (PDF)


This chorale survives without text. The text that appears here is the one provided by editors of the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA).

Speculation regarding liturgical occasion: According to Häfner, BWV 277, BWV 278, or BWV 279 could have served as the closing chorale for the lost Picander–Jahrgang cantata Es hat überwunden der Löwe written for Easter Day (Picander 28), in which case verse 6 of the hymn would have been used. (See NBA III/2.1 KB, pp.95–96; for BWV 279 see III/2.1 KB, p.50 or III/2.2 KB, p.276)

View a complete listing of speculations regarding the liturgical occasions of individual BWV 253–438 chorales.

Parallel fifths: Measure 3/7 contains parallel octaves between the soprano and tenor (A–B), created by an embellishment figure in the T. For a complete account of consecutive fifths and octaves in the Bach chorales, see "Consecutive Fifths & Octaves in the Bach Chorales" featured on the Articles & Research page.

bach– by Luke Dahn. Copyright 2018.