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Medley (English medley , mix ',' mixture ') is a Anglizismus , with the one in the music , a song designated or a piece of music, the various multi-part self compositions composed and in which pass each part into one another. The name comes from the English Renaissance music; in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book such a piece A Medley is handed down under the name William Byrds .

The artistic compilation is often of a thematic nature: For example, selected pieces by a single artist / composer are compiled or selected across artists according to stylistic (such as the musical direction) and content criteria. In addition, titles that can be assigned to a specific topic can be linked to one another. A combination of these concepts is also possible. Musically, the different songs of the medley can be in the same key and at the same tempo , or there is a modulation from one key to the other and / or a change in tempo.


“Medley” and “ potpourri ” are often used synonymously. In some cases, however, a differentiation is made in that the transitions in the medley are softer than in the potpourri. Still others see the terms as essentially synonymous, but believe that the term “medley” refers more to arrangements of popular melodies from the field of light music.

In contrast to the medley / potpourri, the musical collage is a loose combination of different elements, whereby the missing transitions and the associated sound frictions are deliberately intended by the composer of the collage. The content of a collage is therefore limited to pre-existing materials.


Well-known examples are Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In from Fifth Dimension from 1969, the most successful medley in pop music. Also, are to name Jive Bunny & The Master Mixers ( Glen Miller medley ; 1989) or Weird Al Yankovic ( Hot Rocks Polka ; 1989). The most successful and most popular Medley series was the Dutch project Stars on 45 , that from March 1981 to a total of 11 singles newly produced hits in the disco sound put together; the first single in the series became a million seller worldwide . Medleys are also often played in the Schlager category; Examples of this are the famous medleys by James Last ( Non Stop Dancing from 1965) or The longest single in the world by Wolfgang Petry (1996). An example of a medley in the field of metal is the title Imaginaerum by Nightwish , which was composed of all the tracks on the album of the same name.


Medleys can be copyrighted as adaptations .

Web links

Wiktionary: Medley  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • COVER.INFO - Comprehensive database of cover versions, medleys, samples and other music quotes

Individual evidence

  1. In this sense: oA, entry "Medley", in: Carl Dahlhaus, Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht and Kurt Oehl, Brockhaus Riemann Musiklexikon in four volumes and a supplementary volume, Vol. 3, 2nd edition, Atlantis-Schott Musikbuch-Verlag, Mainz 1995 (definition of “medley” as “svw. Potpourri”); Markus Bandur, entry "Medley", in: Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht, Albrecht Riethmüller and Markus Bandur (eds.), Concise Dictionary of Musical Terminology , Vol. 5, Steiner, Stuttgart, status: 40th edition 2006 (this entry: 19. Lfg. 1991), p. 13 (“In the current usage of popular music, […] medley has established itself to denote the arrangements made up of familiar themes and thus succeeded the expression potpourri”); Afra Canaris, Melody, Timbre and Rhythm in Copyright: The Protection of Musical Works and Performances , Nomos, Baden-Baden 2012, ISBN 978-3-8329-6838-0 , p. 48.
  2. ^ So the entry "Medley" in Grove Music Online , doi : 10.1093 / gmo / 9781561592630.article.18254 , accessed on June 10, 2018.
  3. ^ So Andreas Ballstaedt, entry "Potpourri", in: Laurenz Lütteken (Ed.), Music in Past and Present Online , accessed on June 10, 2018.
  4. J. Peter Burkholder, entry "Collage", in: Grove Music Online , doi : 10.1093 / gmo / 9781561592630.article.53083 , accessed on June 10, 2018.
  5. Stefan Fricke, entry “Collage”, in: Laurenz Lütteken (Ed.), Music in Past and Present Online , accessed on June 10, 2018.