Volksmusik (German: “people’s music” or as a Germanic connotative translation, “folk’s music”) is the common umbrella designation of a number of related styles of traditional folk music from the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and South Tyrol (Italy).
It tends to be dialect-heavy and invokes local and regional lifestyles, cultures and traditions, particularly, those of the Alpine farmers and peasants.
Originally transmitted by oral tradition, the oldest historical records like the Appenzell Kuhreihen by Georg Rhau (1488–1548) date back to the 16th century. Volksmusik is characterized by improvisation and variation, uncomplicated major key melodies and simple harmonies. Typical instruments range from alpenhorns to hackbretts, zithers and acoustic guitars, and even violas and harmonicas. Harmonized singing is frequent, but other pieces may require yodeling, while instrumental arrangements are particularly frequent for fast dances or brass pieces.
Volksmusik continues to be performed by many local ensembles and bands throughout the European Alps and should not be confused with Volkstümliche Musik, which is largely to be found in broadcasting media and on ancillary merchandise. Since the 1970s, artists of a Neue Volksmusik genre, such as Werner Pirchner or Biermösl Blosn, attempt to combine traditional styles with jazz, folk, electronic music, rock et al. as a kind of world music. Popular proponents include Hubert von Goisern, Attwenger and Christine Lauterburg.
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.
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 20th century; 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 (people’s singer) 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.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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