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Édith Piaf (1962).

Lied (from mhd. Liet , "stanza") is the collective term for smaller, tightly structured sung compositions of music and lyrics . This short form exists in all cultures . A typical structure of songs is that they consist of several stanzas , which are textually different, and a refrain that is repeated several times in the song.

The focus is on the singable melody , which is usually limited in pitch , and rhythmically and metrically, mostly following the flow of speech in the text.


The song is the most original and simplest form of lyric poetry , in which the human feeling in its moods and relationships finds a pure and intense means of expression. The folk ballad was a popular, epic and strophic song from chivalrous circles in the Middle Ages , which later became a folk good . This includes the “song on the farewell scene between Elisabeth and Ludwig of Thuringia” from 1227 when Ludwig set out on the crusade . Jörg Widmann praises the defenders of the city in “Ain beautiful song from Vilshofen” 1504. In 1516, Hans Umperlin wrote a poem in which he said of himself at the end: "The man who sings the song newes for us / he calls himself Hans Umperlin / he has twelve living children ..." Around 1518, the Cologne printer Arnd von Aich published the oldest German Collection of songs under the title “75 nice songs myt treble, alto, bass and tenor” (75 pretty songs with soprano, alto, bass and tenor).

The word “folk song” comes from Johann Gottfried Herder , who displaced terms like “Gassenhauer”, “Bauerngesang” and “Cantio rusticalis”. In the folk song, a singable melody was an essential prerequisite so that anyone could sing it without special vocal training. With the collections “ Voices of the Nations in Songs ” published by Herder in 1778, attention is focused for the first time on the folk song in Europe. From the beginning of the early romantic period , the folk song was considered to be the reflection of the “people's spirit”, summarized in famous collections ( Clemens Brentano , Des Knaben Wunderhorn ; 1806). It was a song created by the people or taken up by them. The folk song was often regarded as an ideal type of song because of its strophic form and catchy melody.

By Franz Schubert the song to a more complex art form, resulting in about 1830 to a split in serious and entertaining song forms was. This led to the later subdivision into E, light and F music , which had its origin in GEMA's endeavors to promote demanding but not lucrative art. The controversially discussed division is only carried out by GEMA. It means that a composer of serious music receives eight times the royalties of an underground music composer on publication .


The clearly structured song form has historical dimensions and possesses regional and stylistic diversity from simple folk songs to accompanied art songs. The song can be divided into different song genres according to its text , compositional technique , instrumentation and its aesthetic demands.

The lyrics of the song have always dealt with the different everyday situations of humans, their environment, nature and other topics. The main representative of this form is the folk song . The structure of the composition usually corresponds to the structure of the stanza , so that the partial sentence ends at the end of the stanza. This sub-area belongs to metrics as the theory of musical sentence structure. German folk songs are usually structured in an upbeat manner because their text begins with unstressed syllables. At all levels of the sentence structure, the following element is considered to be more important than the preceding one ("upbeat"). In the case of choral instrumentation , one speaks of a choir song , piano and singing are called art songs with melodies often decorated with leaps in intervals . It is the "lecture song of trained voices and accompanists". In terms of music aesthetics, a distinction is often made between E, U and F music, a controversial classification that is only strictly followed by GEMA.

Songs can be passed down orally (such as folk songs, religious-ritual, fighting or dance songs ) or can be traced back to composers as musical works . They consist of several identically built, mostly rhyming stanzas or a composed varying melody for each stanza.

A song can be performed by a soloist , an ensemble , a choir , a cappella or accompanied by musical instruments .

Even purely instrumental arrangements of songs were referred to as “songs”.

Different types of songs

Folk songs , love song , song of spring , morning song , Evening Song , Song of Ascents , Wanderlied , drinking song , Carnival song , Sacred Song , Advent hymn , carol , student song , hymn , couplet , ballad , chanson , pop

Song - Chanson - Song

The word song also exists as a foreign word in some neighboring European countries, mostly in the meaning of the art song , and is associated with German culture ( le lied in France , the lied in Great Britain ). Conversely, foreign language words for song ( French chanson ; English song , tune or hymn ; Italian canzone ) were partially adopted into the German language, in particular chanson and song to designate French or Anglo-Saxon works.

See also


Web links

Commons : Songs  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Lied  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Song  Quotes
Wikisource: Music Belletrics  - Sources and Full Texts

Individual evidence

  1. song . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 12, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1908, pp.  536-537 .
  2. a b Wieland Ziegenrücker, Peter Wicke : Sachlexikon Popmusik . 1987, p. 219.
  3. Hedwig Heger: The German literature from the late Middle Ages to the Baroque . 1994, p. 188 f.
  4. Rochus Freiherr von Liliencron, Franz Xaver von Wegele: General German biography: Van der Aa - Baldamus . Volume 1, 1875, p. 165.
  5. ^ Norman Lloyd, Großes Lexikon der Musik , 1987, p. 658
  6. ^ A b Karl Heinrich Wörner, Wolfgang Gratzer, Lenz Meierott: History of Music . 1993, p. 442 ff.
  7. a b Mandy Risch-Kerst, Andreas Kerst: Event law compact . 2009, p. 293.
  8. ^ Wieland Ziegenrücker, Peter Wicke : Sachlexikon Popmusik . 1987, p. 30.
  9. Peter Hahnen: The “New Spiritual Song” as a contemporary component of Christian spirituality . 1998, p. 212
  10. See for example Adalbert Quadt : Lute Music from the Renaissance. According to tablature ed. by Adalbert Quadt. Volume 1 ff. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1967 ff .; 4th edition, ibid. 1968, Volume 2, pp. 60–62 (“German song”, “Not long I went for a walk”, “A very sad song”).