History of German Music

In the music field Germany boasts of some of the world’s most renowned producers, composers and performers. Germany is the third largest music market in the world and the largest in Europe. The earliest roots of the music culture in Germany are within monastic chants and religious music.  The 12th century saw the mystic abbess Hildegard who was from Bingen writing storing compositions and hymns. These were sought to be free musical expressions coming from narrow conventions.  Between the 12th and 14th century, minnesingers who were wandering nobles and knights wrote and recited love poems in country version in the tradition of French trovers and troubadours. Out of the many minnesingers during that period of time, Reinmar Von Hagenau and Walther Von de Vogelweide were the most famous ones. Apart from the minnesingers there was also the development of a secular folk music tradition. There are collections of vagabond ands student music that have survived that include the Carmina Burana verses wrote in the 13th century Bavaria. These were set off in the 20th century by Carl Orlf. Between the 14th and 16th century the German middle class was in favor of rigid music styles that were composed by musicians and poets that were part of the Meistersinger guild (Counterquest, 2009).

Classical music in Germany started out from the 16th century to the present day. Germans had assumed a leading role when it came to the development of classical music.  This kind of music is valued all over Germany. Children are often encouraged to play musical instruments or take part in choirs and orchestras. Many schools in Germany support classical German music and teach children about this music.
The period between 16th and 17th century saw the arrival of polyphonic music that involves interweaving of simultaneous melodies in Germany in form of protestant chorale.  In contrast to the traditional catholic service music, the protestant chorale that was now coming up was slowly becoming participant music of the faithful.

The baroque music age that comprised of exuberant ornamentation started with Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest composers in Germany. His work of the early 1700s as admired because it had an artistic touch through the use of counterpoint. This includes formal Brandenburg; concertos for violin, four orchestral suites, keyboard and several wind instruments such as fugues, preludes and a large volume of choral works that include his Christmas Oratorio.

As at the 1740s princely courts in cities such as Dresden, Berlin, Vienna and Mannheim had come up to sponsor orchestral music, the composers and also musicians. Esterhazy the princes of Vienna were patrons of Joseph Haydn an Australian that came up with the classical format of symphony, string quartet and sonata. Later within tat century, Wolfgang Mozart came up and he mixed German and Italian traditions using his own style.

The century that followed saw tow German composers gaining fame; Franz Schubert and Ludwig Van Beethoven. Beethoven used daring harmonies and rhythm and came up with numerous pieces for violin, string quartets, symphonies, piano and an opera. Schubert on the other hand came up with a field of artistic romantic poetry and music that was known as lied. Early in the 19th century, Richard Wagner was branded as a person for music of the future; he did not like the strict traditional style of German music. He developed leitmotivs that were simple recurring themes found in his operas. His course brought about changes in opera as well as German music in general. The late 19th century saw Vienna continues elevation of its position in European classical music (Joseph, 2012).

In the 20th century there was a split between German and Australian music. In Vienna, Arnold Schoenberg together with his pupils moved along an avant-garde path and pioneered atonal music in 1909 and also twelve tone music within 1923. Composers within Berlin on the other hand took a populist route from the cabaret-like socialist operas to Gebrauchsmusik.

In the second half of the 20th century, West Germany German and Australian music was dominated largely by avant-garde. On the other hand composers in East Germany had ben advised against avant-garde and compose music in keeping with tenets of socialist Realism.
Germany music has many regions that have their own folk music and dance. Most of the 20th century saw a large part of the German culture being appropriated for ruling powers. In East and West Germany, children were taught folk songs called volkslieder. These songs were sunny, popular and optimistic but had very little relation to authentic German folk traditions. Germany went through many changes inspired by American and English root rivals and this saw new songs that featured political activism and realistic sadness, joy and passion being written and performed within the burgeoning folk scene. Some of the popular folk songs in Germany include emigration songs, work songs, and democracy oriented folk songs. There are several types of folk songs in Germany these include Oom-pah which is a type of music played by brass bands and linked to beer halls.  Bavaria is folk music that is well known outside Germany.

German schlager is a form of German music that combines elements of the traditional German music and popular entertainment. These are jolly songs that are mostly apolitical and they address an older audience as opposed to youth oriented pop music. This type of music is common in carnival in cologne or the Oktoberfest in Munich.

Music fans in Germany also listen to English-speaking pop music just like other countries. The pop music scene undergoes frequent changes and only a few bands have been able to maintain their popularity over time. Among the most vibrant and prominent music styles in Germany today is hip hop. There are bands that have taken pride in coming up with German-speaking pop, jazz, hip hop and even reggae (InterNations, 2014).

Joseph, A. (2012). Ten Reasons to love German culture: German Giants of classical Music. Retrieved September, 26 2014 from http://theculturetrip.com/europe/germany/articles/ten-reasons-to-love-german-culture-german-giants-of-classical-music-/
InterNations.org. (2014). The German Music scene. Retrieved September, 26 2014 from http://www.internations.org/germany-expats/guide/16030-culture-shopping-recreation/the-german-music-scene-16028
Countriesquest. (2009). Culture, Music. Retrieved September 26, 2014 from http://www.countriesquest.com/europe/germany/culture/music.htm