Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Music of Germany
Forms of German music include Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW), krautrock, hamburger schule , volksmusic, German hip hop, Schlager and multiple varieties of folk music. Classical composers include Richard Wagner and Johann Sebastian Bach, while Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was among many opera composers who created the field of German opera.
The beginning of what is now considered German music could be traced back to the 12th century compositions of mystic abbess Hildegard of Bingen, who wrote a variety of hymns and other kinds of Christian music.
Minnesingers and meistersingers
Main articles: Minnesingers and meistersingers After Latin-language religious music had dominated for centuries, in the 12th century to the 14th centuries, minnesingers (love poets), singing in German, spread across Germany. Minnesingers were aristocrats travelling from court to court who had become musicians, and their work left behind a vast body of literature, Minnelied . The following two centuries saw the minnesingers replaced by middle-class meistersingers, who were often master craftsmen in their main profession, whose music (meistergesang ) was much more formalized and rule-based than that of the minnesingers. Minnesingers and meistersingers could be considered parallels of French troubadours and trouvères.
Among the minnesingers, Hermann, a monk from Salzburg, deserves special note. He incorporated folk styles from the Alpine regions in his compositions. He made some primitive forays into polyphony as well. Walther von der Vogelweide and Reinmar von Hagenau are probably the most famous minnesingers from this period.
Classical music: 16th century to the present
Main article: German classical music
At the beginning of the 15th century, German classical music was revolutionized by a man named Oswald von Wolkenstein. Wolkenstein travelled across Europe learning about classical traditions, spending time in countries like France and Italy. He brought back some techniques and styles to his homeland, and within a hundred years, Germany had begun producing composers renowned across the continent. Among the first of these composers was the organist Conrad Paumann.
Main article: Chorale
Beginning in the 16th century, polyphony, or the intertwining of multiple melodies, arrived in Germany. Protestant chorales predominated; in contrast to Catholic music, chorale was vibrant and energetic. Composers included Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, as well as Dietrich Buxtehude and Heinrich Schütz.
Main article: German opera
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute (1791) is usually said to be the beginning of German opera, which was further advanced in the 19th century by composers like Ludwig von Beethoven and Richard Wagner.
An earlier starting date for German opera, however, could be Heinrich Schütz's Dafne from 1627. Schütz is said to be the first great German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach, and was a major figure in 17th century music.
Main article: Baroque music
Baroque music, which was the first music to use tonality in the modern sense, is also known for its ornamentation and artistic use of counterpoint. It originated in Northern Italy at the end of the 16th century, and the style migrated quickly to Germany, which was one of the most active centers of early Baroque music. Early German Baroque composers included Heinrich Schütz, Michael Praetorius, Johann Schein, and Samuel Scheidt. The culmination of the Baroque era was undoubtedly in the work of Johann Sebastian Bach in the first half of the 18th century. Bach wrote numerous Baroque works, including preludes, cantatas, fugues, concertos for keyboard, violin and wind, orchestral suites, the Brandenburg Concertos, The Passion of St. Matthew, The Passion of St. John and the Christmas Oratorio . Bach's contemporaries included Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frideric Handel, the latter best known for the oratorio Messiah.
Main article: Classical music era
By the middle of the 18th century, the cities of Vienna, Dresden, Berlin and Mannheim had become the center for orchestral music. The Esterházy princes of Vienna, for example, were the patrons of Joseph Haydn, a German who invented the classic format of the string quartet, symphony and sonata. Later that century, Vienna's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart emerged, mixing German and Italian traditions into his own style.
The following century saw two major German composers come to fame early -- Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. Beethoven, a student of Haydn's in Vienna, used unusually harmonies and composed numerous pieces for violin concerto, symphonies, chamber music, string quartets and an opera. Schubert created a field of artistic, romantic poetry and music called lied; his lieder cycles included most notably Die schöne Müllerin (1823).
The later 19th century saw Vienna continue its elevated position in European classical music, as well as a burst of popularity with Viennese waltzes. These were composerd by people like Johann Strauss the Younger. Other German composers from the period included Albert Lortzing, Johannes Brahms, Robert Alexander Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Anton Bruckner, Max Bruch, and Gustav Mahler. These composers tended to mix classic and romantic elements.
Main article: German opera
In the 19th century, two figures were paramount in German opera: Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner. Wagner introduced devices like the leitmotiv, a musical theme which recurs for important characters or ideas. Wagner (and Weber) based his operas off German history and folklore, most importantly including the Ring of the Nibelung (1874). Into the 20th century, opera composers included Richard Strauss (Der Rosenkavalier) and Engelbert Humperdinck, who wrote operas meant for young audiences. Across the border in Austria, Arnold Schoenberg innovated a form of twelve-tone music that used rhythm and dissonance instead of traditional melodies and harmonies, while Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht collaborated on some of the great works of German theater, including Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany and The Three-Penny Opera .
The Nazis came to power in Germany during the 1930s, and many musicians fled the country. Following the war, German composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Werner Henze began experimenting electronic sounds in classical music.
Germany has many unique regions with their own folk traditions of music and dance. Much of the 20th century saw German culture appropriated for the ruling powers (who fought "foreign" music at the same time), and thus it remained decidedly "unhip" until later in the century. Most recently, the East German regime promoted folk music as long as it was what they saw as an expression of pure German tradition, and a tool for spreading party propaganda.
In both East and West Germany, folk songs called volkslieder were taught to children; these were popular, sunny and optimistic, and had little relation to authentic German folk traditions. Inspired by American and British roots revivals, Germany underwent many of the same changes following the 1968 student revolution in West Germany, and new songs, featuring political activism and realistic joy, sadness and passion, were written and performed on the burgeoning folk scene. In East Germany, the same process did not begin until the mid-70s, when folk musicians began incorporating revolutionary ideas in coded songs.
Popular folk songs included emigration songs from the 19th century, work songs and songs of apprentices, as well as democracy-oriented folk songs collected in the 1950s by Wolfgang Steinitz . Beginning in 1970, the Festival des politischen Liedes , an East German festival focusing on political songs, was held annually and organized (until 1980) by the FDJ (East German youth association). Musicians from up to thirty countries would participate, and, for many East Germans, it was the only exposure possible to foreign music. Among foreign musicians at the festival, some were quite renowned, including Inti Illimani (Chile), Billy Bragg (England), Dick Gaughan (Scotland), Mercedes Sosa (Argentina) and Pete Seeger (United States), while German performers included, from both East and West, Oktoberclub , Wacholder and Hannes Wader .
Main article: Oom-pah
Main article: Music of Bavaria
Bavarian folk music is likely the most well-known outside of Germany. Yodeling and schuhplattler dancers are among the stereotyped images of German folk life, though these are only found today in the southernmost areas, and to cater to tourists. Bavarian folk music has played a role in the Alpine New Wave , and produced several pioneering world music groups that fuse traditional Bavarian sounds with foreign styles.
It was around the turn of the 20th century, across Europe and especially in Bavaria, many people became concerned about a loss of cultural traditions. This idea was connected to the Heimatschutz movement, which sought to protect regional identities and boundaries. What is considered Bavarian folk music in modern Germany is not the same as what Bavarian folk music was in the early 1900s; like any kind of folk or popular music, styles and traditions have evolved over time, giving birth to new forms of music.
The popularity of the Volkssänger (folksinger) in Bavaria began in the 1880s, and continued in earnest until the 1920s. Shows consisting of duets, ensemble songs, humor and parodies were popular, but the format began changing significantly following World War I. Bally Prell , the "Beauty Queen of Schneizlreuth ", was emblematic of this change. She was an attractive tenor who sang lieder, chanson and opera and operetta.
Main article: Music of Swabia
Main article: Music of Northern Germany
Main article: Sorbian music
The beginning of a Sorbian nationalist music scene can be traced back to the first sorbian song festival. Held in Lausitz in 1845, and directed by Korla August Kocor , the festival helped revitalize Sorbian folk music. The same period saw the publication of more than five hundred Sorbian songs by Smoler and Haupt in the collection Folksongs of Upper and Lower Sorbs .
Main article: Music of Denmark
Main article: Cabaret
The first form of German pop music is said to be cabaret, which arose during the Weimar Republic in the 1920s as the sensual music of late-night clubs. Marlene Dietrich and Margo Lion were among the most famous performers of the period, and became associated with both humorous satire and liberal ideas. "Wenn die beste Freundin" (1928) was an early lesbian-themed song. A more modernized version with lyrically incisive words later developed; this was called liedermacher.
Main article: German hip hop
Outside of the United States, Germany generates the most sales for recorded hip hop, and has one of the more vibrant scenes in the world. Hip hop arrived in the early 1980s, and graffiti art and breakdancing became well-known quickly, with hip hop crews appearing soon thereafter.
Main article: German rock
German rock first appeared in about 1968, just as the hippie countercultural explosion was peaking in the US and UK. At the time, the German musical avant-garde had been experimenting with electronic music for more than a decade, and the first German rock bands fused psychedelic rock from abroad with bizarre electronic sounds. The next few years saw the formation of a group of bands that came to be known as krautrock groups; these included Popol Vuh , Can, Neu! and Faust.
Probably Rammstein is the most famous German Heavy Metal band. Very well-known punk bands are Die Ärzte (The Doctors) and Die Toten Hosen (The dead pants). Both were formed in the early 1980s. There are also many successful newcomers like Wir sind Helden, Sportfreunde Stiller, Silbermond or Rosenstolz , who are very well known in Germany.
Neue Deutsche Welle
Main article: Neue Deutsche Welle
Neue Deutsche Welle is an outgrowth of British punk rock and New Wave which appeared in the mid-to late 1970s. The field did not last long, however, done in by over-commercialization in the early 1980s. Today, in 2004/05, it seems that a new "Neue Deutsche Welle" has arrived. Many German singing young pop and rock groups become successful in Germany, although the international break through is not yet in sight.
Main article: Hamburger Schule
Hamburger Schule (School of Hamburg) is a underground music-movement that started at the late 1980s and was still active til around the mid 1990s. It has similar traditions as Neue Deutsche Welle and mixed all that with punk, grunge and experimental pop music. Hamburger Schule is (and was) an important part of Germany's youth and and gave pop a new definition, as now it was "ok" (or "cool") to sing in German language. Hamburger Schule is also about intellectual lyrics with postmodern theories and social criticism.
Main article: Burger-highlife
Main article: Volksmusik
Volksmusik is typically sung by one or more people, especially a duet, and is very popular among older people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Main article: Schlager
Schlager is a kind of vocal pop music, usually in the form of sentimental ballads sung in German. It is popular in Germany, as well as Scandinavia and, to a lesser degree, France and The Netherlands. Though usually considered old-fashioned now, schlager is still popular and a perennial part of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Main article: German klezmer
Germany has become a hotbed for klezmer music since about the 1980s, and has produced many of the most popular bands in the field since then. Controversially, many or most of the German klezmer bands are not, in fact, Jewish.
Before World War II and the Holocaust, Jews in Germany had not taken much interest in klezmer, at least compared to Jews in places like the United States. During the Cold War, East German Jews like Lin Jaldati and Perry Friedman tried to establish a German Jewish musical scene, but failed due to interference by the Communist Party.
As a result, the East German klezmer scene didn't take off until the arrival of Aufwind in 1984. The West German klezmer scene, on the other hand, got started soon after the student revolutions of the late 1960s. Among some of the intellectual activists, guilt over the Holocaust turned into extreme admiration for anything Jewish. The tour of Kapelye , an American klezmer band, in 1984 also added some energy to the scene, which soon began thriving.
Bavarian New Wave
Main article: Alpine New Wave
Bavaria has been part of the Alpine New Wave of folk music alongside Switzerland and Austria. Drawing on pioneers like Biermösl Blosn , musicians from Munich and other cities have fused Bavarian folk with foreign genres and instruments, especially BavaRio 's Brazilian samba fusion. Drawing on stubenmusik , native string bands with hammered dulcimers, zithers, guitars and harps. Other bands, like Die Interpreten , have fused jazz and saxophone music. Biermösl Blosn, however, is the most well-known band of the alternative boom; they are famous for their humorous lyrics poking fun at right-wing politicians and controversial satires, such as replacing the Bavarian national anthem's lyrics with words attacking Bavaria's Minister President Franz Josef Strauss in 1980, leading to a long-time ban from TV.
The 1990s saw the rise of Neue Volksmusik , or Alpine New Wave. Inspired by traditionalists like Sepp Eibl , a new group of bands brought a modern sound to traditional music. Artists included most famously Hundsbuam , who formed in 1994.
Main article: The Swing Movement in Nazi Germany
The strict regimentation of youth culture in Nazi Germany through the Hitler Youth led to the emergence of several underground protest movements, through which adolescents were able better to exert their independence. One of these consisted mainly of upper middle class youths, who based their protest on their musical preferences, rejecting the völkisch music propagated by the Party for American jazz forms, especially Swing. While musical preferences are often a feature of youthful rebellion - as the history of rock and roll shows - jazz and especially Swing were particularly offensive to the Nazi hierarchy: not only did they promote sexual permissiveness, but they were also associated with the American enemy and worse, with the inferior African race. To the Nazis, jazz was "Negro music."
See also: List of German bands
- Wagner, Christopher. "The Alpunk Phenomenon". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 7-12. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
- Hunt, Ken. "Kraut Kaunterblast". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 114-125. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
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