Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Minnesang was the tradition of lyric and song writing in Germany which flourished in the 12th century and continued into the 14th century. People who wrote and performed Minnesang are known as Minnesingers (Minnesänger).
Minnesang had much in common with the troubadour tradition of France, and it likely stemmed from that tradition, though it developed unique features. Like the troubadors, the Minnesingers mainly sang of courtly love (this is where the Minne part of their name comes from).
Several of the best known Minnesingers are also noted for their epic poetry, among them Wolfram von Eschenbach and Gottfried von Strassburg. Other noted Minnesingers include Dietmar von Aist , Neidhart von Reuental, Heinrich von Morungen , and Walther von der Vogelweide.
A number of Minnelied have survived to the present day, although mainly in manuscripts dating from the 15th century or later, which may present the songs in a form other than the original one. Additonally, it is often rather difficult to interpret the musical notation used to write them down. Although the contour of the melody can usually be made out, the rhythm of the song is frequently hard to fathom.
Minnesang died out in the 15th century, and the tradition of the Meistersingers began. The two traditions are quite different, however (Minnesingers were mainly aristocrats, while Meistersingers were merchants, for example).
The following love poem, of unknown authorship, is found in the 14th century Manessa Codex.
Middle High German original
- Du bist Min! Ich bin Din.
- Des sol(s)t du Gewis sin.
- Du bist besdozzen
- In Minen Herzen.
- Verlorn ist das Slüzzelin.
- Du muost immer drinne sin!
- Du bist mein! Ich bin dein.
- Dessen sollst Du gewiss sein.
- Du bist fest
- In meinem Herzen.
- Verloren ist das Schlüsselein.
- Musst wohl für immer drinnen sein!
- You are mine, I am yours
- Of that you may be sure
- Deep within my heart
- You're safely locked away
- But I have lost the key
- And there you'll ever stay
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