Front Page Titles (by Subject) Helft mir Gott's Güte preisen. - Bach's Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works
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Helft mir Gott’s Güte preisen. - Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach’s Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works 
Bach’s Chorals. Part III: The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works, by Charles Sanford Terry (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
Part of: Bach’s Chorals, 3 vols.
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Helft mir Gott’s Güte preisen.
Two tunes are associated with Eber’s New Year hymn and were published with it in 1575  by Wolfgang Figulus, Cantor in the Furstenschule at Meissen. The first of them is practically identical with the contemporary “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen1 ” and derived from the same secular song, “Ich ging einmal spazieren,” to whose melody Ludwig Helmbold wrote “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen.” The second tune, presumably by Figulus himself, is printed supra in a four-part setting by him. Its Tenor, it will be observed, very closely fits the first melody. Bach uses it in the Orgelbüchlein and Cantatas 16, 28, 183 (c. 1724-c. 1736).
Though Bach’s use of the tune extends from his Weimar to his later Leipzig period, his text of the tune shows little variation. To himself must be attributed the improving change of the fifth note of the melody (supra) from B flat to C natural. Witt’s (No. 56) text, which Bach otherwise follows closely in the Orgelbüchlein, has B flat and Zahn (No. 5267) does not reveal any anticipation of Bach’s emendation. For the close of lines 2 and 4 of the melody (the last three notes before the middle double-bar supra), and for lines 6 and 7, Bach generally follows Schein’s (1627) text, which for lines 6 and 7 reads.
In the four places in which he uses the phrase Bach only once (in Cantata 28) (c. 1736) adopts Schein’s B flat as its fifth note. Elsewhere he writes D, as in the Orgelbuchlein, and as he found it in Witt.
N. xv. 39. The movement is the first of the New Year Preludes in the Orgelbuchlein. Besides the formula of jubilation which Bach introduces, his emphasis of the first four notes of the cantus will be remarked. The device has been noticed already in the Prelude “Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot’.” Schweitzer supposes1 that Bach, unlike his predecessors, did not introduce motives derived from the melody as being musically effective, but only when he desired to emphasize the associated words of the hymn. In the present case, the repeated opening phrase creates the impression of a multitude of voices reiterating the prayer “Help me to sing God’s praises.” The movement becomes, in effect, a joyous peal of gratitude ringing in the New Year2 .
[1 ]Psalmodia Germanica, p. 10. The original hymn has six stanzas.
[1 ] See it in Bach’s Chorals, Part I. 63.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 67.
[2 ] See also Sec. 59 infra.