Choral society

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A stamp of ownership in a songbook with a choral society signet. Around 1910/1920
Flag of the Gesangverein Kindenheim ( Rhineland-Palatinate ), around 1849, with a black, red and gold frame

A choral society is an association for the care of singing . He almost always has at least one choir . His focus is usually on the non-professional area of secular music. For the religious area see Geistliches Lied und Kirchenchor .

History of the choral societies

In the 19th century a wave of male choirs was founded. Several factors contributed to this. At first, romanticism was enthusiastic about the unaccompanied song performance and the folk song . They searched systematically for old songs and recorded them. At the same time, new forms of sociability emerged, including clubs. In addition to political associations, numerous gymnastics and choral associations were founded, which were often politically motivated. The emerging bourgeoisie, demanding national unity in Germany, organized themselves in them, especially in the wake of the revolution of 1848 . That is why many associations were viewed critically by the authorities. As with the gymnastics festivals of the gymnastics clubs, regional and national singing festivals were held, at which hundreds or thousands of singers came together, including the General German Singing Festival 1847 in Lübeck . The choral societies organized themselves in "Gauen".

Special impulses came from two men: The Berlin master mason, musician , professor , music teacher , conductor and director of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758–1832) founded the first Berliner Liedertafel (Zeltersche Liedertafel) in 1809 . Hans Georg Nägeli (1773–1836) founded the first men's singing association in Switzerland in 1810, structurally going back to the Singgesellschaft Wetzikon founded in 1755 , which is considered the world's first choral society in today's sense. While Zelter's Liedertafel represented an exclusive circle of educated personalities in Berlin society, the von Nägeli choral society was basically open to anyone interested in keeping with the idea of ​​popular education propagated by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827). Both men have also emerged as composers and arrangers . The classic song for male choir was composed in a four-part setting for two tenor voices and two basses.

At the end of the 19th century, supporters of the growing social democracy gathered in workers' choirs . By the middle of the 20th century, the singing movement experienced a climax. However, after the founding of the Reich in 1871 , it allowed itself to be instrumentalized for patriotic purposes and, even during the Nazi era , it subordinated itself to the political goals of the NSDAP without much resistance.

Bonn 1971: A choir sings for the Belgian royal couple

Between 1950 and 1970 the male choirs experienced a new renaissance, since in the period after the Second World War traditional values ​​such as family and home (see Heimatfilm ) counted again. With the 1968 movement , however, the singing movement got into a crisis because the younger generation often viewed it as conservative, backward-looking and kitschy. The folk songs were by no means despised as a whole, but rather arranged and interpreted differently by folk singers (e.g. by the group Zupfgeigenhansel or by Hannes Wader ). Also in the well-known songbook series "Student for Europe", originally from the left-wing scene (the name has been preserved in everyday language, although only the first three volumes were published by the association "Student for Europe - Student for Berlin eV" until 1981) ; the songbooks are now published in the kunter-bund-edition by Schott-Verlag ), they contain a great number of folk songs, mostly with an interpretation of their political or emancipatory message.

In the association of singing groups Klingende Brücke , European songs are sung in their original languages.

Todays situation

The choral societies initially tried to counter the sometimes dramatic loss of singers by accepting women and thus becoming mixed choirs . Due to aging, however, numerous choirs had to be closed. Efforts have also been observed since the 1990s to address young people through an internationally oriented repertoire and modern pop music . In the age of easily consumable mass music, in which the tradition of demanding choral singing has largely been broken off, these efforts are problematic. In addition, there are factors that also affect other associations, such as the fact that today there is a wide range of leisure activities with which the choirs have to compete, and greater mobility (young people often leave their place of birth for vocational training or study and do not necessarily return) that sometimes in a family for several generations, the traditional membership in a choir breaks off.

It turns out, however, that young people also find joy in singing and found young choir groups, which mostly achieve good success with a lot of enthusiasm because they deal with modern, lively, international songs. Long-standing choral societies are in some cases not open to this song material and hardly find any support, which makes a dissolution of the choir inevitable. It should be noted, however, that women in particular have easier access to singing and therefore pure female choirs and mixed choirs (sometimes with a large proportion of women) clearly have the majority compared to pure male choirs.

See also


  • Friedhelm Brusniak: Choir and Choral Music: II. Choirs since the 18th century. In: MGG2, Sachteil Volume 2, 1995, Sp. 774–824.
  • Dietmar Klenke: The singing "German man". Choral societies and German national consciousness from Napoleon to Hitler. Waxmann, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-89325-663-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. Formulation of many association statutes
  2. ^ Report in the Gießener Allgemeine , accessed on November 18, 2018