Popular music - developments in Germany

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Popular music - developments in Germany

Music has been part of everyday life since time immemorial - and nothing has changed to this day. We now want to take a short excursion into the musical landscape of Germany in order to understand why you find the sheet music you find there at the Seifert music publishing house and the reason why both classical and folk music are still so popular.

Classical Music: The Three Bs

German classical music has experienced a development period of several hundred years, which began in the 16th century and has remained alive to this day. But it was the composers of old - particularly the "three Bs" - who arguably put the country on the musical map.

Johann Sebastian Bach , considered one of the most important composers of all time, is best known for his contributions to the Baroque, a musical style characterized by elaborate compositions shaped around strong tonal chord progressions. Although his music was written primarily for organ, he also wrote pieces for harpsichord and clavichord, along with sonatas and suites for orchestral and chamber groups, and even pieces intended for performance by choral groups. Some of his better-known works are the Preludes and Fugues in "The Well-Tempered Clavier" and the "Brandenburg Concertos". Other influential German baroque composers include Johann Pachelbel, Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frideric Handel.

The Romantic era of classical music also produced a handful of famous Germans, most notably Ludwig van Beethoven, whose nine symphonies are considered by many to be his greatest works. Beethoven's music can be divided into three periods. His early period, which began with imitation of other classical composers, consists of a handful of piano pieces and string quartets. Later, he began to discover his own voice and incorporate music that experiments with themes. In Beethoven's middle period, he shifted his emphasis to large orchestration , along with the inclusion of motifs. In the later period, as Beethoven's deafness became more apparent, his works took on a more fervent, emotional depth. Another important Romantic composer of this time was Richard Wagner, who wrote operas. In fact, Ludwig II of Bavaria built Neuschwanstein as a tribute to Wagner, a man with whom he had a questionable obsession.

The trio of German Bs is rounded off by the pianist Johannes Brahms, a traditionalist and perfectionist who had a strong contrapuntal orientation in his compositions. Although he strived to live up to Beethoven's greatness, Brahms was also fond of the Austrian composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn.

Popular music: cabaret, swing and theater

As the cultural and political climate in Germany changed drastically between the First and Second World Wars, German music also saw itself changing. People abandoned the tradition of classical music and wanted music that expressed their feelings, which was often (but not always) political.

In contrast to the commercial music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cabaret music in Germany first appeared in the club scene of the 1920s and served as a culturally enjoyable and racy musical form that gave its performers room to experiment. Marlene Dietrich was one of the more popular characters after she became famous in the film "The Blue Angel", in which she appeared as a cabaret artist. She sang in both English and German.

In addition to cabaret, many Germans - especially young people - were interested in swing music . Although there were virtually no German swing groups in Germany, many young adults idolized American musicians, and listening to swing music was seen as a sign of a counterculture.

Around the same time, people like Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht also made a name for themselves. Most famous was the satirical musical piece "The Threepenny Opera" which they composed together, which was an adaptation of an earlier British ballad opera.

Music of the people: folk music and hits

The definition of "German folk music" varies depending on the time frame and geographical region. In general, the older tradition consists of workers' and political songs. However, over the years, folk music has branched out to include different cultural groups and different styles (such as the brass bands and Bavarian yodelers associated with beer festivals).

There are now Schlager songs in Germany, just as there is easy listening or “soft rock” music in Americans, virtually everywhere and for everyone. Its roots go back to the beginning of the 20th century, but the hit's true peak in popularity came in the 1960s and 1970s with musicians like Rex Gildo and Heino. Schlager is a popular folk music style with pop-rock and ballad sensibilities. The lyrical themes are light-hearted and often deal with love and emotions, not unlike today's French chanson.

For these many reasons, we are very happy to be able to offer you a wide range of different grades from a wide variety of areas.