In at least two locations Bruckner allowed this sort of writing to spread over quite a long period; these are the song-themes or Gesangsperioden of the finales of the Third and Seventh Symphonies. In the chorale from the 1873 version of the Third, the thematic rhythm is also iambic, but with six syllables rather than eight to each line. In 1873, the chorale was often very lightly scored, but in the 1878 and 1889 rewritings, though substantially abbreviated, it is much more richly harmonized, and begins an octave lower than in the early score. Bruckner’s pencil notation at this point in ÖNB Mus.Hs. 6033, the basis of the 1874 variant of the Third Symphony: “Throughout the Gesangsperiode the wind band must stand out”, and under the strings, “the Gesangsperiode the strings must keep back”, might be the first stirrings of the later revision. At any rate they were written so forcibly that the pencil nearly cut through the paper.
 See Thomas Röder’s Revisionbericht, 1997, page 111.
Plotting the emotional contour of such a large structure is an ambitious task, but one would have to do that if the effects of the various revisions are to be investigated and analyzed. The original 1873 chorale seems discursive or even prolix to listeners accustomed since birth to 1889, but upon more study the 1873 version can be seen to have a large-scale rise and fall of tension which, in grouping the lines into four stanzas, makes the prominent citations of Tristan and the Second Symphony seem quite natural, and their absence in 1889 thus short-breathed.
 The conductor Herbert Blomstedt is firmly of this opinion, and for many years has taken a great interest in the performance of the 1873 version.
At any rate, if the whole chorale is to be rendered in either version, we are far from the ability to sing it in church, although any small section would sound appropriate enough by itself, divested of the polka which skips along beside it in the symphony. Erwin Doernberg speaks: “August Göllerich tells in his Bruckner biography how he was once walking home with the composer late in the evening, when, passing the Schottenring, they heard the music of a festive ball from one of the stately mansions. Not far away, in the Sühnhaus, the body of the cathedral architect Schmidt lay in state. Göllerich relates how Bruckner remarked to him: ‘Listen! Here in this house is a grand ball and yonder in the Sühnhaus the master in his coffin! That is life and that is what I wanted to show in the last movement of my Third Symphony: the polka means the fun and joy of the world and the chorale the sadness and pain of life.’” Thus the music must be performed at a pace which makes the polka dance, at least half note = 72, while also allowing the chorale to mourn: Sunt lacrymæ rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt. The meticulously-organized ebb and flow of the scoring of the 1873 version gives it a more organized structure, but the somber richness of the 1889 texture might make that version more thoughtful and thought-provoking.
 The Life and Symphonies of Anton Bruckner, New York 1960, page 145.
In the finale of the Seventh Symphony the mood of the chorale, which has only a walking bass as accompaniment, is a self-possessed calm amid the hurly-burly of the first and third themes. Again, there are so many phrases that the relationship of each to the whole is difficult to discern, and here there are no competing versions from different times to tease out our thoughts. Meanwhile the mellow Wagner tuben supply a counterpoint evenly divided between solemnity and humor.
The strophic structure which seems appropriate to the presentation of a theme need not apply in a chorale which arises from development. In the middle of the first movement of the Fourth Symphony a majestic brass chorale arises from the horn theme, with a striding counter-texture in the strings. In the 1888 version, the strings play pizzicato against the brass chords, unforgettably described by David Aldeborgh as Aa great mountain profile set against a tapestry of stars@.
 This was in a paper delivered at the Bruckner Journal Readers’ Conference of 2003.
The distinguished musicologist Constantin Floros has suggested a category of these complete or even over-complete chorales as “Harold-type”, because of a supposed resemblance to the pizzicato-accompanied pilgrims’ music in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy of 1834. In his Fourth Symphony, Bruckner provides a pizzicato background for the Gesangsthema or second theme of the slow movement which is in chorale style. If it is isolated from the score and played in a sustained manner, it loses its familiarity and takes on a greater and more mysterious meaning. Should we not accept the pizzicato texture as a real chorale, and the well-known viola tune as a counter-melody? After all, that is the only way in which the music could be sung: the singers with the conjunct pizzicato chords, and an obbligato instrument with the familiar octave-leaping melody. There is an even grander instance in the first movement of the Fifth, where the pizzicato chorale accompanying the second theme, of twelve syllables per line, cries out to be sung. Here and elsewhere, the attention of the thoughtful listener should be focused on what seems to be the background, but is really the essence of what is going on.
 Appropriate words for this chorale, coming uncannily close to Bruckner’s own feelings, can be taken from a poem by George W. Caird published in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1983/2000, no. 338: “We are thy stewards; thine our talents, wisdom, skill; / our only glory that we may thy trust fulfil; / that we thy pleasure in our neighbours' good pursue, / if thou but workest in us both to will and do.”