Music of Germany  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Germany claims some of the most renowned composers, producers and performers of the world. Germany is the largest music market in Europe, and third largest in the world.

German Classical is one of the most performed in the world; German composers include some of the most accomplished and popular in history, among them Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (also recognized as Austrian) was among the composers who created the field of German opera. One of the most famous film score composers is Hans Zimmer.

German popular music of the 20th and 21st century includes the movements of Neue Deutsche Welle (Nena, Alphaville), Disco (Boney M., Modern Talking, Dschinghis Khan, Milli Vanilli, Bad Boys Blue), Metal/Rock (Rammstein, Scorpions, Accept, Helloween), Punk (Die Ärzte, Böhse Onkelz, Nina Hagen, Die Toten Hosen), Pop rock (Herbert Grönemeyer and Indie (Tocotronic). Famous female singers were Marlene Dietrich and Hildegard Knef. German electronic music gained global influence, with Kraftwerk being a pioneer group in this genre. The Electro and Techno scene being internationally popular with Paul van Dyk and Scooter.

Germany hosts many large rock music festivals annually. The Rock am Ring festival and the Wacken Open Air are among the largest in the world. Since about 1990 the new-old German capital Berlin has developed a diverse music and entertainment industry.

Contents

Minnesingers and Meistersingers

Popular music

German popular music

Disco

German disco

Many European artists recorded disco music; in Germany, Frank Farian formed a disco band by the name Boney M around 1975. They had a string of number one hits in a few European countries which continued into the early 1980s, with songs such as Daddy Cool, Brown Girl in the Ring and By the Rivers of Babylon. Still today, the trademark sound of Boney M is seen as emblematic for late 70's German disco music.

Rock

The US military radio station American Forces Network (AFN) had a great impact on German postwar culture, starting with AFN Munich in July 1945, which was formative for the further development of German rock and jazz culture. Bill Ramsey, a senior producer at AFN Frankfurt in 1953 who came from Ohio, later became famous as a jazz and Schlager singer in Germany (while remaining almost unknown in the US).

Prior to the late 1960s however, rock music in Germany was a negligible part of the schlager genre covered by interpreters such as Peter Kraus and Ted Herold, who played rock 'n' roll standards by Little Richard or Bill Haley, sometimes translated into German.

Genuine German rock first appeared around 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 electronic sounds. The next few years saw the formation of a group of bands that came to be known as Krautrock or Kosmische Musik groups; these included Amon Düül, who later became the world music pioneers Dissidenten, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, Can, Neu! and Faust.

Electronic music and techno

German techno

Germany has the largest electronic music scene in the world. The band Kraftwerk was one of the first bands in the world to make music entirely on electronic equipment, and the band Tangerine Dream is often credited as being among the originators and primary influences of the "Berlin School" of electronic music, which would later influence trance music. Some other bands like Liaisons Dangereuses, Tyske Ludder, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft and Die Krupps created a style later called Electronic body music. Also well-known are Scooter. Recently a few electronica artists have become successful in the mainstream, such as Monika Kruse, Marusha, Blümchen and MIA. Artists on the cutting edge of German-language techno include Klee. Both Einstürzende Neubauten (collapsing new buildings, translated literally) and KMFDM (no pity for the majority, translated literally) are considered by many industrial and electronic music fans as the godfathers of their genre. Their sounds developed the modern styles of groups such as NIN, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and New Order. Einstürzende Neubauten can be recognized by their Prince-esque logo, which has been subliminally fused into several mainstream American movies (such as a tattoo in the movie Bug, directed by William Friedkin, starring Harry Connick Jr.). KMFDM has released many songs in English, making them more accessible to their huge American and worldwide audience. Since 2006 producer and DJ Paul Kalkbrenner gained popularity in Germany. He nowadays is one of the most famous performers of electronic music.

Trance music is a style of electronic music that originated in Germany in the very late 1980s and early 1990s, upon German unification. Following the development of trance music in Germany, many Trance genres stemmed from the original trance music and most trance genres developed in Germany, most notably "Anthem trance" or also called "uplifting" or "epic" trance, progressive trance, and "Ambient trance".

One of the most notable event referring to this scene was the Love Parade festival with up to 1.5 million participants from all over the world.

20th century

The first half of 20th century saw a split between German and Austrian music. In Vienna, Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils Alban Berg and Anton Webern moved along an increasingly avant-garde path, pioneering atonal music in 1909 and twelve-tone music in 1923. Meanwhile, composers in Berlin took a more populist route, from the cabaret-like socialist operas of Kurt Weill to the Gebrauchsmusik of Paul Hindemith. In Munich there was also Carl Orff, who was influenced by the French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. He began to use colorful, unusual combinations of instruments in his orchestration. His most popular work is Carmina Burana.

Many composers emigrated to the United States when the Nazi Party came to power, including Schoenberg, Hindemith, and Erich Korngold. During this period, the Nazi Party embarked on a campaign to rid Germany of so-called degenerate art, which became a catch-all phrase that included music with any link to Jews, Communists, jazz, and anything else thought to be dangerous. Some figures such as Karl Amadeus Hartmann remained defiantly in Germany during the years of Nazi dominance, continually watchful of how their output might be interpreted by the authorities.

After the dissolution of the Third Reich, musicians were also subjected to the Allied policy of denazification. But here, the supposed non-political nature of music was able to excuse many, including Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan (who had actually joined the Nazi Party in 1933). They both claimed to have concentrated mainly on music and to have ignored politics, but also to have conducted pieces in ways that were meant to be "gestures of defiance."

In West Germany in the second half of the 20th century, German and Austrian music was largely dominated by the avant-garde. In the 60s and 70s, the Darmstadt New Music Summer School was a major center of European modernism; German composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Werner Henze and non-German ones such as Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio all studied there. In contrast, composers in East Germany were advised to avoid the avant-garde and to compose music in keeping with the tenets of Socialist Realism. Music written in this style was supposed to advance party politics as well as be more accessible to all. Hanns Eisler and Ernst Hermann Meyer were among the most famous of the first generation of GDR composers.

More recently, composers such as Helmut Lachenmann and Olga Neuwirth have extensively explored the possibilities of extended techniques. Hans Werner Henze largely dissociated himself from the Darmstadt school in favour of a more lyrical approach, and remains perhaps Germany's most lauded contemporary composer. Although he had lived outside the country since the 1950s and until his death in 2012, he remained influenced by the Germanic musical tradition.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Music of Germany" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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