Romance (music)

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The romance in music is a genre that historically ranging from the court music of the Spanish Middle Ages to the 20th century. The main types can be distinguished:

  • The spanish romance from the Middle Ages to the 20th century
  • The vocal French romance from the beginning of the 18th century to the 2nd half of the 19th century
  • The vocal German romance from the end of the 18th to the end of the 19th century
  • The vocal romance in Scandinavia, Italy, England and Russia from the late 18th to the end of the 20th century
  • The instrumental romance of European music from the middle of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century.

The romance in Spanish music until the end of the 17th century

A romance (from Latin romanice or Provencal romans , meaning "written in the Romance vernacular") is originally a form of narrative song, the content of which is comparable to the European folk ballad , and can be regarded as its Spanish variant. With the expansion of Spanish rule, it penetrated into all five continents known at the time from the 16th century. It has been documented as a genre since the 14th century and, according to the Spanish historian Ramón Menéndez Pidal (1953), goes back to orally transmitted epics , which were first sung by the juglares ( minstrels ) at the princely courts and thus from folk music were taken over. This musical form is widespread in all countries with Ibero-Romance languages ​​(Spanish, Catalan , Galician and Portuguese) and is still alive today; here the term Romancero means a collection of narrative folk songs. In Latin American countries today it is mainly cultivated by the black population. When the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century, they took the romances with them to their new homeland and kept them there ( Maghreb , Greece, Balkans, Middle East) for centuries, regardless of their previous homeland ; Old Testament themes carry more weight in these romances than in Hispanic romances.

The unanimous Spanish romances are divided into the following groups:

  • The traditional romances including minstrel romances ( romances juglarescos ),
  • the newer narrative songs.

In contrast, there are the following groups in the polyphonic romances:

  • The ancient romances ( romances viejos ), including the romances noticieros , which tell of contemporary events,
  • the art romances ( romances artificiosos ) with their variant of romances novelescos (fictional romances).

Both the unanimous folk-musical romance and the polyphonic versions are determined by their literary form, namely by a string of 8 + 8, less often 6 + 6 syllables with a rhyme ending, whereby this regularity has been broken in the oral tradition (irregular number of syllables, changing rhymes or the occasional lack of a half verse). The unison romances generally do not have a dedicated melody. The choice of melody did not depend on the text, but on the particular function of the song. The older melodies used are structurally often archaic with a small range ( third , fourth or fifth ) and often start from Gregorian melodies. The more recent tunes, often extensions of the elderly, with sixth - to octave -, rarely tenths scope, have four or more lines of verse are usually wavy or falling and falling. The romance as a song could belong to different song types, so pieces for the annual circle or church year circle (Christmas, Epiphany , Passion , May and Mary songs), for the curriculum vitae (birth, wedding, death); there are lullabies and children's songs as well as work songs (plowing, harvesting, threshing). There were also uncertain romances that could be sung, for example, in the spinning room, at a banquet or at church consecration; also the romances as dance songs belong to this. The rhythm of the chosen melody was determined by the type of romance, e.g. B. for harvest songs, work or dance rhythms or a free rhythmic melody, and isorhythmic melodies for Christmas and Mail songs. As a special form, the type of romance frontiziero (border romance) developed in the course of the Moorish wars , in which events on the border between the two opponents were narrated, and after the fall of Granada in 1492 the type of romance morisco emerged in the course of the emerging Maurophilia.

The possibilities of practical execution in the unanimous Spanish romance were very diverse. It was sung as a soloist or by a group. A solo performance could be accompanied by the singer himself or an instrumentalist, with a hurdy-gurdy (Galicia), violin , rabel or with plucked instruments (Galicia, Cantabria , province of Ávila ). When singing in the group, percussion instruments such as pandero , bell drums or castanets could be added , but also suitable everyday objects such as enamel plates, tin sacks and the like ( Tenerife , Galicia, Castile , Andalusia ), especially when a piece is a dance song in the spinning room, as " Heischelied " was heard at Christmas or as a processional song. The tempo and rhythmic design essentially determined the character of the performance, with a fast tempo with a narrow, even melody emphasizing the course of the event and a slow lecture with a rhythmically differentiated melody allowing the individual motifs of a story to emerge. In addition, there were various ways for the singer to enhance it, such as breaking up the rhythmic structure, contracting lines of verse and omitting repetitions and adding them later.

Many melodies have been expanded with sound syllables or refrains ; this ranged from short insertions to independent melody lines of independent length, which resulted in asymmetrical stanzas in which the text motifs thus separated stood out more clearly. Depending on the talent and flexibility of the singer, a great many melody variants could be created; it was even possible to improvise over an isorhythmic line of verse. There were romances as harvest songs for chopping grain, especially in the northern border area between Spain and Portugal (Spanish province Ourense / Portuguese district Bragança ), in which the free rhythmic, sustained melodies had priority over the text, because here the singing served and not the togetherness of the performers the presentation of a story. The melodies of the Sephardic romances did not differ fundamentally from the Iberian forms, but the singers, especially in the Middle East, adopted the melodies and singing practices of the respective countries. Especially in the eastern Mediterranean ( Rhodes , Saloniki ) there were melodies whose sequence ignored the text, so that it took a back seat to the solemn and expressive, melismatic melodies.

The newer unanimous Spanish romance from the 18th century

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, a type of the newer narrative song was created in Spain, which corresponds to the Moritaten song and the petty song of other countries, called romance de cordel ("string romance") or romance de ciego ("blind -Romance"). Blind singers, who earned their living at fairs and festivals, also by selling text sheets, spread this type in the country. The structure of the texts consisted of continuous double lines with changing rhyme; the texts themselves were sentimental, pompous or burlesque. In this way, this romance was quickly picked up by popular singing and especially popular with women.

Around the middle of the 19th century a new interest in popular romance arose, so that Agustín Durán (1789–1862) published a first romanzero (collection of romances) in 1849 and 1851 . This was followed by further collections and studies of this kind in various Iberian peripheral areas, for example in Asturias in 1856 , in Portugal in 1867 and in Catalonia in 1874 . On the basis of these publications, the Spaniard Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo (1856–1912) and the Portuguese Teófilo Braga (1843–1924) began their systematic collections of romances, and an increasing number of regional “romances” appeared. In 1900 Ramón Menéndez Pidal founded the Archivo Menéndez Pidal ; his working method became the model for the systematic collection and edition of romances. The melodies were largely disregarded here, however, because a romance was mostly understood in literary terms and the melodies were only viewed as a means of presentation. The earliest recordings of melodies were made by M. Manrique de Lara (Sephardic romances) around 1911 and by Dádasmo Ledesma in 1907 and Felipe Pedrell in 1919/20. The impact of romance since its rediscovery and collection extends into contemporary Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American literature.

At the end of the 19th century local carnival songs became known, which mostly took up current topics from politics and everyday life in a joking way. Here, locations, neighbors or professions were often targeted from stanza to stanza; there was also the peculiar, only regionally occurring burlesque special form of the animal testament song. These carnival songs are largely unknown today because they have only survived the oral tradition in fragments or have been completely forgotten.

The polyphonic Spanish romance

During the Spanish Renaissance and early Baroque , romance was one of the most widespread poetic and musical genres. In contrast to the ballads in other European countries, in Spain it was not only popular in the popular sphere, but in all social classes; it was cultivated in the Spanish "Golden Age" ( siglo de oro ), ie in the 16th and 17th centuries, by the leading representatives in literature and music. This rise of romance from folk music of the lowest strata to a respected art form at court can be read from the literary tradition of the time shortly before and during the rule of Isabella I and Ferdinand II (1469–1516). The romances were sung by the minstrels as well as by the singers of the court orchestra and the royal ladies-in-waiting. The poets at court provided the old romance texts with comments and wrote new texts, which were then set to music by musicians with several voices.

The most important polyphonic compilation from this period is the Cancionero Musical de Palacio from around 1500; about two thirds of the 37 romances with three to four voices contained in this collection are anonymous. The remaining 12 or so romances are composed by composers such as Juan de Anchieta (around 1462–1523), Juan del Encina (1468–1530), Lope Martines , Francisco Milán , Antonio de Ribera († around 1529) and Francisco de la Torre (fl. 1483–1504) attributed. The Cancionero Musical also contains canciones and Villancicos , but the romances set to music, in contrast to the latter, show clear characteristics of a certain genre in three respects. On the one hand, they consist of quatrains with four phrases each, which correspond to four eight-syllable verses (occasionally also have a couplet structure instead ). Secondly, most of the pieces consist of homorhythmic, chorale-like movements with a fermata at the end of a phrase, with the upper part only having a small range in the relatively lower register; Moreover, many musical settings have suspensions and be graced cadence formulas , suggesting the influence of Burgundian Chanson suggesting. The third characteristic is the setting in proportio dupla with slow movement with relatively longer tone durations; this style is later continued in the tempo markings of the romances in the Vihuela prints of the 16th century.

After book printing had spread across Europe at the end of the 15th century, texts of romances were distributed on large leaflets ( pliegos sueltos ); More important were printed collections like the Cancionero de romances (published Antwerp 1547/49) and Silva de varios romances ( Saragossa 1550–1552), whereby the romances known up to then were called romances viejos ("old romances") because of their historical knowledge Origins. These collections each contain around 30 pieces, mostly for voice and vihuela accompaniment. The various types of romances have largely been preserved, at most the framing of a romance with two four-line single stanzas, repetitions and internal variations should be mentioned. It includes pieces by Luis de Milán , Luis de Narváez , Alonso Mudarra , Enríquez de Valderrábano , Juan Bermudo , Diego Pisador , Miguel de Fuenllana and Luis Venegas de Henestrosa . The simplest pieces by Luis de Milán are closest to the original folk romances. Other instrumental composers orientated themselves strongly to the vocal polyphony of their time, which means that many of their romances were probably created by intabulating existing pieces for singing voices.

The texts of the romances contained in the above-mentioned traditions have many equivalents in contemporary text collections, but it is not certain whether the associated melodies are traditional or represent new creations in the old style, because folk melodies were usually not notated. Only where there are literary-musical parallel traditions can the adoption and adaptation of popular melodies be recognized. Furthermore, it is not certain that the oral tradition of romances also retained the melodies into the 20th century; the majority of the ancient romances have probably adopted new melodies over five centuries. However, it has recently been shown that some melodies from Sephardic romances correspond to those of the 16th century or have similar stylistic features.

The deliberately artistic Spanish romance

In the eighties of the 16th century, artistic and stylized poems appeared, which were called romances nuevos , also romances artificiosos . An outstanding representative of this direction was Lope de Vega (1562-1635), next to him the poets Luis de Góngora (1561-1627), Juan Salinas , Pedro Liñán de Riaza , Antonio Hurtado de Mendoza (1586-1644) and Francisco de Quevedo (1580 -1645). Many of these romances, mostly those with rural or love themes, soon spread as folk songs, were collected in many anthologies and became part of novels and plays. In the first half of the 17th century, hundreds of polyphonic settings of such romances for two to four voices, performed for solo voice with instruments, were recorded in manuscript-style cancioneros . The composers here are Matheo Romero (around 1575–1647), Juan Blas de Castro (1561–1631), Gabriel Díaz (around 1590 - after 1631), Álvaro de los Ríos , Juan de Palomares (around 1575 - before 1609), Joan Pau Pujol (around 1575–1626), Manuel Machado (1590–1646), Manuel Correa (around 1600–1653) and Carlos Patiño (1600–1675) should be mentioned.

The main difference to the earlier romance was the addition of an estribillo (refrain), which usually came from the literary-musical tradition outside of the romance. The estribillo interrupted the romance after any number of stanzas or followed at the end. Additional possibilities for expansion were created by including the elements letrilla , romancillo and copla to form the estribillo, which in the course of such expansions became the focus of the composition and the whole romance nueva achieved a stylistic diversity in this way, from the interplay of rhythmic patterns to the various madrigal-like shapes came. With their diverse contrasts, their interruption effects and unexpected harmonic progressions as well as their freer treatment of dissonances, these can be seen as the first forms of early Baroque polyphony.

The development of the dramatic musical forms of the Baroque and its combination of stylistically very different elements such as recitatives , arias and choirs then gradually brought about the end of the romance as a unified, polyphonic art song. The later romances appeared under names that mostly came from the stage area, such as tono humano , tonada humano , aria , copla , baile and jácara ; many others became part of cantadas and spiritual villancicos. In the first half of the 17th century such romances hardly differed stylistically from the polyphonic Cancioneros ; however, stronger variants can be found in the second half and in the early 18th century.

The vocal French romance

The first conceptual mention of romance in France understands it exclusively as a literary genre; In the Nouveau Dictionnaire de l'Académie française dédié au Roy ( Paris 1718) it says: “Une sorte de Poësie en petits vers, contenant quelque ancienne histoire”. Here the most important novelist of the 18th century was François-Augustin Paradis de Moncrif (1687–1770), who in part drew on Spanish models. It was only after 1750 that the associated melodies were also called romance , as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) in his Dictionnaire de musique (Paris 1768): “air sur lequel on chante un petit Poëme du même nom”; he demanded an emotional simplicity in the sense of the current song aesthetic and used Romance as the song title for the first time in 1752. Vowel romances, unanimous and easy to sing, first appeared in collections by Charles Delusse (around 1720–1774; “Le Recueil de romances historiques, tendres et burlesques”, Paris 1767 and 1774) and by Arnaud Berquin (1747–1791; “Romances par A. Berquin “, Paris 1776). Berquin understands romances as a means of character formation and also as a counterforce to the Italian aria.

From the 1780s onwards, Romance appeared in France as a strophic solo song with piano accompaniment (but also with guitar , harp or lyre ), also expanded with preludes and epilogues, and the salon became the preferred place of performance (historically only from the French Revolution interrupted); defining characteristics were the sentiment , the feelings in the content and in the presentation. The main compositional representatives before 1800 were Charles-Henri Plantade (1764–1839), Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842), Henri-Philippe Gérard (1760–1848), Pierre-Jean Garat (1762–1823), François-Adrien Boieldieu (1775 –1834) and Henri Montan Berton (1767–1844). The romance had already found its way into the French Opéra comique , beginning with Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711–1772; “Titon et l'Aurore”, 1753), followed by Pierre Gaviniès (1728–1800; “Le Prétendu”) , 1760) and François-André Danican Philidor (1726–1795; “Le Bucheron”, 1763), whereby a romance mostly served as an insert to represent moods and feelings, or a color or as an inserted story. With regard to the origins of romances in the Middle Ages, they play a significant role in operas with related themes. In the opera “Richard Löwenherz” (1783) by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741–1813) the romance “Une fièvre brulant” (A burning fever) is, according to the composer, “the pivot around which the whole piece moves ". Instead of brave arias, the “touching” romances were the core of such operas. Another typical example is “A peine sortie de l'enfance” by Étienne-Nicolas Méhul (1763-1817) in his opera “Joseph”, 1807. In individual cases, melodies were even used as a “leitmotif” or as a memory motif (Luigi Cherubini: “Les Deux Journées”, 1800, or Méhul: “Une folie”, 1802). Some of these early operatic romances remained popular until the late 19th century. During the French Revolution, romances served as a means of political propaganda, after which they again dominated the bourgeois salons. The most famous roman singer around 1800 was Pierre-Jean Garat.

The romance did not develop any further after 1800. The main tonal steps (I, IV, V) remained the harmonic basis, the stanzas remained in the text and the accompaniment was technically simple. Baron Paul-Charles Thiébault (1769–1846) wrote a treatise on the composition and performance of romances (1813), and the implemented principles of simplicity, emotionality and easy realizability led to a widespread use of the genre in all social classes, including prints six or twelve romances, soon to be sold in large numbers. It is reported that 30,000 of the “Ma Normandie” collection by Frédéric Bérats (1800–1855) were sold within a few weeks; the composer and singer Felice Blanghini (1781–1841) writes in his memoirs that he sold his collection “Il est trop tard” to the Paris publisher Leduc for 200 francs, and that the latter made a profit of 20,000 francs. The market value of popular romances was very high, for example 500 fr. for a single composition and up to 6000 fr. for the collection of six pieces by a fashion composer (J.-A. Delaire 1842); In addition, a good visual representation of the cover motif ( lithography ) contributed significantly to the successful numerical distribution of an edition. In some cases, romances were also produced in collaboration with the text, melody and accompaniment being contributed by different authors.

From around 1830 there were magazines in Paris that only appeared to distribute romances, for example by the editor and singer Antoine-Joseph Romagnesi (1781–1850) with “L'Abeille musicale” (from 1828), “La romance” (1833) / 34) and "Le Ménestrel" (from 1834). A personality cult developed around roman singers, who often worked as composers at the same time. According to the contemporary Belgian music historian François-Joseph Fétis (1784–1871) from 1829, after Pierre-Jean Garat, the following roman singers held the “scepter of the genre”: Martin-Pierre Dalvimare (1772–1839) and Felice Blangini , Amédée de Beauplan (1790–1853), Auguste Mathieu Panseron (1796–1859), Édouard de Bruguière (1793 - after 1853), but also women like Edmée Sophie Gail (1775–1819), Loïsa Puget (1810–1889) or Pauline Duchambge (1778-1858), with the aforementioned Antoine Romagnesi being the most successful. He also published the treatise "L'Art de chanter des romances" (1846) with detailed instructions for the effective rendering of romances; he also recommends restraint with ornamentation and a heartfelt presentation. Pauline Duchambge went even further with the statement that she “composes her romances with her tears”.

From 1820 onwards, romance became the collective term for all solo songs in France. Around the middle of the century, however, romances came under criticism and sometimes devalued because of their stereotypical nature; the writer Marie-Henri Stendhal (1783–1842) wrote the sentence “J'abhorre ce qui est la romance française” (“I detest everything that is called French romance”). In other reviews of romances collections, the strong similarity between romances was criticized (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 1858). The fact that Franz Schubert's (1797–1828) songwriting gradually became known in France from 1835 onwards contributed significantly to the devaluation of romances (Ernest Legouvé in 1837 in the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris ). When designating more sophisticated chants, the term mélodie instead of romance became more and more common, and the latter name was used less and less in the second half of the 19th century; the type of music lived on under various other names (primarily chanson ).

Romance remained an integral part of French opera in the first half of the 19th century. In addition to the aforementioned piece from the Méhul opera "Joseph", the two romances from the opera "Cendrillon" (1810) by Nicolas Isouard (1775-1818) also achieved great popularity. The singing of romances was often transmitted to simple and simple people, such as the country girl Alice from Normandy in the opera "Robert the Devil" (1831) by Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791–1864). There are romances of him in other works that have been formally and expressively expanded, for example in his operas “Die Huguenots” (1836, insertion of recitative and arioso sections) and “The Crucified in Egypt” (1824), where a scene romanza becomes a dialogue that carries the story . There are also well-composed romances by Meyerbeer in the operas “Robert the Devil” (here “Va! Va! Va!”) And “Die Afrikanerin” (1865, “Adieu, mon doux rivage”). These pieces lack all of the characteristics essential for romances; here only the musically non-binding headline is left. After the previous number opera faded into the background from the middle of the 19th century, opera romance also lost its importance.

The vocal German romance

In the late 18th century, the romances françaises reached all of Europe as part of the Opéras comiques , and the term romances was included in other musical dictionaries. Because of the popularity of this genre, especially in Germany, publishers and music retailers soon recognized the possibility of profitable sales of these simple chants. With the somewhat upscale bourgeoisie around 1800, such pieces became really fashionable. As a result, local composers also saw the opportunity for rapid success in adopting this style. One of the first to emerge as French romances with the composition of texts was Johann Gottlieb Naumann (1741–1801), who used the term “Ariette” for this. Other composers of this direction were for example Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831), Friedrich Heinrich Himmel (1765-1814), Conradin Kreutzer (1780-1849), Johann Friedrich Heinrich von Dalberg (1760-1812), Augustin Harder (1775-1813) and Ferdinando Paër (1771–1839), who brought a large number of imitative salon romances of short life to the market.

An independent composition of romances was also created on the basis of ballad poems. The German poet Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim (1719–1803) wrote his “Drei Romananzen” in 1756, from which the understanding of romances as “upscale petty singing” arose. In response to this, Johann Friedrich Freiherr von Loewen (1752–1812) published romances with melodies, set to music by Johann Adam Hiller (1728–1804); Typical for these romances were long titles, bloody and gruesome motifs, invocation of the audience, exact location and name information as well as a final “moral”. In 1767 Daniel Schiebeler (1741–1771) followed with the publication of " travested " works by ancient poets, which he titled "Romances", with contents from ancient mythologies , which were also set to music by Hiller. After the "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" were published by the English poet Thomas Percy (1729-1811) in 1765, this acted as a decisive stimulus for the well-known German poet and theologian Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), under his influence soon the trend prevailed that romances were understood as epic-lyrical poems, partly synonymous with the ballad, partly as a supplement to it. Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) used the romance in this sense. It later emerged that ballads were more associated with "northern and dark" and romances more with "southern, warm and mild"; or according to the aesthetician Friedrich Theodor Vischer (1807–1887), the characters of romance and ballad correspond to the ratio of “major” to “minor” ( Aesthetik , Volume 4, Stuttgart 1857). The play "Leonore" by Gottfried August Bürger (1747–1794) was seen as a prime example of this type of poetry.

In France, however, no such distinction was made; the question was only addressed sporadically (e.g. the article “Sur la ballade” in Gazette musicale No. 1, 1834). In Germany, the settings of these poems retained these designations, and the stylistic ideal of the “Romanzentons” was a narrative, i.e. word-stressed manner of presentation (Gerhard Friedrich Wolf in his “Kurzgefasstischen Musical Lexikon”, Halle 1787). In the late 1820s, the journalist Johann Ernst Häuser equated “romance tone” with “romantic” : “Romance or story song is a song [...] with a pleasant, natural, rural melody [...]; according to this, the expression "in the romance tone" or "romantic" can easily be explained "(Musikalisches Lexikon, Volume 2, Meißen 1828); mainly in the early 19th century, both terms were often used as attributes for certain songs. "Im Romanzenton" was occasionally used as a term for a performance, for example by Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814) and Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758–1832). Quote: "After a short introduction, the singing begins in a very simple narrative romance tone" (Allgemeine musical Zeitung No. 20, Leipzig 1818).

In contrast to the French Opéra comique, the German Singspiel in the last quarter of the 18th century knew romances as interludes with a narrative function about events far away from the stage, with themes from the “legendary Middle Ages” being particularly popular. The composer Georg Anton Benda (1722–1795) processed the literary romances “Zu Landgraf Ludwigs Zeiten” from EW Wolf's “Der Abend im Walde” as well as “Your husband was called Herr von Lilienfeld” in his singspiel “Das Findelkind” (1787). The romance “Im Mohrenland was prisoner” from the musical play “The Abduction from the Seraglio” (1780/81) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) is an example of exotic and historicizing themes . According to the German poet Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg, 1772–1801), romantic poetics was “the art of alienating in a pleasant way, of making an object strange and yet known and attractive”. In this sense, romance was given a heightened significance in the emerging German romantic opera, even becoming a basic pattern and conveying "romantic moods" in the sense of demonic, bizarre or at least "somehow strange". Outstanding examples of this are the romances in the opera “Undine” (1816) by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776–1822), in “Freischütz” (1821, the romance of Ännchen “once dreamed of my blessed cousin”) and in “ Euryanthe ”(1823) by Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826), in“ Der Vampyr ”(1828) by Heinrich Marschner (1795–1861), in“ Night Camp in Granada ”(1834) by Conradin Kreutzer and in Peter Joseph von Lindpaintners (1791–1856) “The Power of the Song” (1836). Significantly, Kreutzer's 'Spanish' Granada opera contains three romances. An example from the German comic opera is the romance of Fenton "Horch, the Lerche singt im Hain" from the opera "The Merry Women of Windsor" (1849) by Otto Nicolai (1810-1849).

German folk song collectors used the term romance as early as 1800, as Friedrich David Gräter (1768–1830) used the “Jägerromanzen” in his publication “About the German folk songs and their music in Bragur” (1794); The romances named by the title in the collection “ Des Knaben Wunderhorn ” (1806) by Achim von Arnim (1781–1831) and Clemens Brentano (1778–1802) became particularly well known . This also applies to the folk song collections of Johann Gustav Gottlieb Büsching (1783–1829) and Von der Hagen (collection of German folk songs, Berlin 1807), and also of Joseph Goerres (1776–1844; Old German folk and master songs , Frankfurt am Main 1817), Joseph Georg Meinert (1773–1844; old German folk songs in the dialect of the Kuhländchen, Vienna / Hamburg 1817), August Zarnack (1777–1827; German folk songs, Berlin 1818 and 1820) and also by Andreas Kretzschmer (1775–1839; German folk songs with their original ways, Volume 1, Berlin 1840). According to today's classification, such narrative chants are called folk ballads.

Even if the type of romance corresponded to the stanza form with the same melody for each stanza from the beginning, later through-composed songs (different melodies for each subsequent stanza) were called romances; Typical examples are the songs "A Fräulein laments in the dark tower" (D 114), "Romanze des Richard Löwenherz" (D 907) and the fragment that remained "In the Väter Halls rested" (D 144) by Franz Schubert. Here romances are only present according to their content, stylistically there is no hint of a romance tone. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, romance faded into the background in favor of the ballad. In Carl Loewe's (1796–1869) collection op. 9 , the composer only used the word “Romance” in the title; Robert Schumann (1810–1856) used this term in the four song collections op. 45 and op. 49 (“The Two Grenadiers”) as well as in op. 53 and op. 64, and in the “Romances and Ballads for Mixed Choir” op 67, op. 75, op. 145 and 146. In the second half of the 19th century, Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) used this term in his works "Lieder und Romanzen" op. 14, "Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone " op. 22, "Twelve songs and romances for female choir a cappella" op. 44 and "Romances and songs for one or two voices" op. 84.

The vocal romance in Scandinavia, Italy, England and Russia

The French romance spread in the music centers outside France and Germany in the late 18th century, primarily through the Opéra comique. It often found its way into the so-called national operas because its melodic and poetic simplicity made it particularly suitable for depicting national idiosyncrasies, for example in the opera “Fiskerne” ( Copenhagen 1780) by Johan E. Hartmann. The romance has a special weight in the area of ​​Scandinavian folk music; In the foreword to their folk song collection “Svenska folkvisor från fortiden” ( Stockholm 1814), the editors EG Geijer and AA Afzelius use the term “romance” in the same meaning as “folk song”. In contrast to this, Carl Envallson defined romance in the sense of Rousseau in his "Svenskt musiskt Lexikon" (Stockholm 1802). In Denmark, the composition of romances reached a heyday around 1800, whereby in addition to romances in operas and French "Romances", Danish solo songs were also called romance . There were three different types: the artful romance, the romance as a folk song and the popular and simple romance. For some composers, such as Andreas Peter Berggreen (1801–1880), verse songs were referred to as romances, and carefully composed songs as ballads.

Romance played no part in the Italian opera buffa ; It was not until 1810 that the composer Simon Mayr (1763-1845), who came from Germany, introduced it to Italian opera. Thereafter, short, slow arias in tragic operas were referred to as romanza , for example the piece "Cinta di fiori" in the opera "The Puritans" (1835) by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835). Other successful romances were written by Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) and Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) (“Una furtiva lagrima” in the opera “L'elisir d'amore”), so that the publisher Adolph Martin Schlesinger (1769– 1838) in Berlin in 1838 was able to publish a collection of romances and arietas by both composers. The romance “Celeste Aida” from the opera “Aida” (1871) by Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) should also be mentioned. In the second half of the 19th century, such romances took on larger forms, such as the piece “Torna ai felici di” in the opera “ Le Villi ” (1884) by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924). With the advent of veristic opera , the Italian operatic romance completely disappeared.

In England the word romance was not used for the folk song, ballad or ode was used instead . According to Thomas Percy's above-mentioned treatise on "metrical romances" in the third volume of his "Reliques", it was understood to mean medieval verse narratives, and Joseph Ritson published a book with Ancient English Metrical Romances ( London 1802).

In Russia in the 18th century the expression rossiyskaya pesnja was common for songs in Russian . After the Decembrist uprising in 1825, carried by intellectual officers, with which the intellectual upper class of Russia also sympathized, a new lyric was created. This came from poets, almost all of whom had to go into exile in connection with this or later, such as Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), Wassili Schukowski (1783–1852), Afanassi Fet (1820–1892), and Michail Lermontow (1814–1841) ), Anton Delwig (1798–1831), Wilhelm Küchelbecker (1797–1846), Alexei Wassiljewitsch Kolzow (1809–1842), Nikolai Platonowitsch Ogarjow (1813–1877) and Fyodor Nikolajewitsch Glinka (1786–1880). They represented lyric poetry in a more supple language with the themes of loneliness, farewell, separation, exile and weariness of life, of friendship in times of political oppression and also of self-pity. For the art song composed on such lyricism, romans emerged as a concept of a new musical genre, to distinguish it from the folk song ( rossijskaja pesnja or narodnaja pesnja ), to the simple, popular song ( pesnja ) or to the younger urban folklore ( bytovaja pesnja or bytovoj romans ).

In the first half of the 19th century, the romances of Alexander Alexandrowitsch Aljabjew (1787-1851), Alexei Nikolajewitsch Werstowski (1799-1862), Alexander Jegorowitsch Varlamow (1801-1848), Alexander Lwowitsch Guriljow (1803-1858) , Michail Glinka (1804–1857) and Alexander Sergejewitsch Dargomyschski (1813–1869) developed a partly lyrical, partly very virtuoso genre of vocal music that was very close to the original folklore. All the composers mentioned have also arranged folk songs in a sophisticated way. These Russian romances had an impact on the singing style of the still young Russian national opera and formed a link for the “Petersburg Mighty Heap” and for Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893). The artistic self-discovery of this generation, which appeared in public in the 1860s, mostly ran through this musical direction. Dargomyschski wrote some realistic and satirical scenes with the names Meljnik ("The Miller", after Pushkin), Staryj kapral ("The old corporal") and Tschervjak ("The worm", both texts by Vasily Kurotschkin ), so to speak as a preparatory work for the recitative -opera Kamennyj gOST ( "The stone guest" by Pushkin, premiered in 1872). The publicist V. Stasov encouraged the composers of the “Mighty Heap” to use these romances as models before they ventured into operas. Particularly noteworthy examples are the songs by Alexander Borodin (1833–1887) based on his own texts with their outlook on musical impressionism and the numerous songs by Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881). These works leave the previous conventions with regard to melody, harmony and rhythm behind and pave the way for Mussorgski's operas. Mussorgsky's song cycles have the same musical historical significance, even if the term romans was not explicitly used.

Peter Tchaikovsky, and after him the younger generation of Russian composers, also use the term romans together with an elegiac- lyric tone; this generic term remained until the era of the Soviet Union and thereafter for the art song. A distinction was still made, however, between pesnja (song) for simple or folkloric texts and romans for 19th century poetry. On the other hand, since the setting of texts by Konstantin Dmitrijewitsch Balmont (1867–1942) and Anna Andrejewna Achmatowa (1889–1966) by Sergei Prokofjew (1891–1953), the expression stichotvorenie (poem) has become common for setting 20th century literature . This distinction between three types of songs, depending on the literary claim, can be seen, for example, in the songs of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975).

The instrumental romance in European music

From around 1750 in France, parallel to vocal romance, instrumental pieces of the same name appeared, namely as a movement of a work, mostly as a slow middle movement of a concert or symphony, but also as an independent, one-movement composition. The earliest known piece is the middle part of the final movement of the 2nd symphony (1752) by Joseph-Barnabé Saint-Sevin (called L'Abbé, 1727-1803), which he calls "Romanza minore". François Joseph Gossec (1734–1829) wrote a “Romanza andante” in his Symphony Op. 5 No. 2 (1761), an early example of such a middle movement. The typical properties of such middle movements, which are headed "Romance", are a moderately slow tempo, a vocal melody, a simple harmonic structure and a clear distinction between melody and accompaniment. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been using romances in various non-vocal works since around 1780; this includes the fifth movement of his wind serenade in B flat major "Gran Partita" KV 361 (1781), the second movement of the horn concerto in E flat major KV 447 (1783), the second movement of the horn concerto in E flat major KV 495 (1786), the second Movement of the piano concerto in D minor KV 466 (1785) as well as the second movement of “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” in G major KV 525 (1787). The composer uses the French spelling romance and writes the pieces in rondo form . There is a romance cantabile in E minor by the young Beethoven for piano, flute, bassoon and small orchestra (mentioned in WoO 37), composed around 1789, the middle movement of a composition, the remaining movements of which have been lost. The German music theorist Heinrich Christoph Koch (1749–1816) writes in his “Attempt at a Guide to Composition”, Volume 3 (Leipzig 1787): “In recent concerts, however, one often uses a so-called romance instead of the usual adagio”, and further: "... from now on it is only set in slow motion".

Even in the 19th century, romances were used as slow, cantable middle movements, with the three-part song form (ABA) often occurring in addition to the rondo form, with tonal contrasts in the middle part. For example, the romance is in the middle section of Robert Schumann's Symphony in D minor, Op. 120, in major, the two outer movements in minor. Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849) calls the second movement of his Piano Concerto in E minor op. 11 “Romance”, which is particularly close to his Nocturne op. 9 No. 2. He connects the music with a “dreaming in beautiful Lenz, but in the moonlight” ( Alfred Cortot : “Chopin. Wesen und Gestalt”, Zurich 1954). The 2nd movement of the string quartet in C minor op. 51 No. 1 (1865/73) by Johannes Brahms is also called “Romance”, while Max Reger (1873–1916) only uses this term once for multi-movement works, namely in his Suite for Organ in G minor, Op. 92.

As the title of one-movement works, "Romance" occurs much more often. After many songs for voice and piano were also arranged for piano alone in the second half of the 18th century, a great many songs found their way into the piano repertoire and thus many romances. In his piano school, the composer Daniel Gottlob Türk (1750–1813) writes of the "romance that is now also penetrating instrumental music". The instrumental ones should have the same characteristics as the vocal romances; The editor Heinrich Philipp Bosseler (1744–1812) wrote in the “Elementarbuch der Tonkunst zum Studium beym Klavier” (Volume 1, Speyer 1782): “This word describes a gentle, flowing song in the movement of an Andantino”. In the decades that followed, many composers wrote an extremely large number of “hand” and “character pieces”, including many romances, mostly for piano. A look at the Nocturnes by John Field (1782–1837), which in many cases were also published as Romances , shows that the titles were interchangeable .

The aforementioned Heinrich Christoph Koch commented in detail on the instrumental romance in 1802: "The rondo that is supposed to be performed in a timeframe peculiar to the Adagio or Largo is commonly referred to as romance". He probably saw this rondo shape and its extensions primarily in southern German composers such as Frantisek Antonín Rosetti (Franz Anton Rösler, around 1750–1792). On the other hand, JGL von Wilcke writes in the Musical Handbook (Weimar 1786) that the romance is "a special kind of cheerful soundtrack". The fact is that the many compositions that were headed Romance or Romance were so different that they could not represent a genre of their own; often this title was meant more in the sense of a character or performance designation. This interpretation is also supported in the Encyclopedic Dictionary (Volume 2, Zeitz 1823): "Pieces composed for instrumental music are often overwritten with 'romances', thereby indicating the character in which they are to be performed".

In the French salons of the late 18th and 19th centuries, in addition to the sung romance, the romance for piano soon served as pleasant utility music for the entertainment of the public, even if the latter was still relatively new here in the 1840s. To this end, H.-L. Blanchard (analogously): "... a new kind of romance, for which the pianists have teamed up to use this pleasing title for comfortable, newly created music" ( Revue et gazette musicale de Paris No. 10, 1843). As the 19th century progressed, the type of pieces called romance became more and more arbitrary, and a certain proximity to "romantic" was often enough to choose this title. This arbitrariness becomes evident, for example, in Robert Schumann's “Three Romances” for piano op. 28 (1839/40), where the third, due to its length and the two intervening interludes, goes beyond the scope of this genre.

Other instrumental line-ups, including guitar arrangements of romances such as “La Sentinelle” (composed by Alexandre-Étienne Choron ), can be found in the repertoire of the well-known performers of the 19th century.

Artistically elevated romances for piano came from Adolf Jensen (1837–1879) in his op. 19 and from Peter Tchaikovsky (op. 5). Instrumental romances for larger instrumentation have become known from Ludwig van Beethoven (the romances for violin and orchestra in G major op. 40 and F major op. 50 ) and from Carl Maria von Weber (Romanza siciliana in G minor, 1805). An increasing number of romances for orchestra comes from the second half of the 19th century, especially by Scandinavian composers, for example by Johan Severin Svendsen (1840–1911) in his op. 26, by Christian Sinding (1856–1941), Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871–1927), Wilhelm-Olaf Peterson-Berger (1867–1942) and Edvard Grieg (1843–1907). Contributions to the genre from England come, for example, from Edward Elgar (1857–1934; Romance for bassoon and orch. Op. 62), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958; Romance for harmonica and orch.) And Gerald Finzi (1901–1956, Romance for string orchestra op.11). In addition, prominent Central European composers have devoted themselves to instrumental romance, such as Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) in his op. 11, Max Bruch (1838–1920) in the romance for orchestra op. 42 (1874) and Max Reger in his Romances for violin and small orchestra op.50 (1900). What these romances have in common with a formally free structure is a melancholy and cantabulous tone of voice. Instrumental arrangements of romances for voice, especially those from operas, enjoyed great popularity throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century. The most productive processor of this type in Germany was Johann Heinrich Carl Bornhardt (1774–1843), who dominated the market with his transfers in the early 19th century. It is precisely this editing practice that shows that the connection between the vocal and the instrumental romance has always remained to a certain extent.

See also

Literature (selection)

  • François-Joseph Fétis: Sur la romance. In: La Revue musicale No. 5, 1829, pages 409-417 and 433-439
  • C. Kjui: Russkij romans (The Russian Romance), St. Petersburg 1896
  • W. Kahl: The lyrical piano piece by Schubert and his predecessors since 1810. In: Archive for Musicology No. 3, 1921, pages 54–82 and 92–112
  • F. Pedrell (editor): Cancionero musical español , 4 volumes, Vallis 1922
  • M. Ohlisch-Laeger: The Spanish Romance in Germany , Freiburg im Breisgau 1926
  • JB Trend: The Music of the Romancero in the 16th Century. In: The Musik of Spanish History to 1600, New York 1926
  • H. Gougelot: Catalog des Romances françaises parues sous la Révolution et l'Empire , 2 volumes, Melun 1937 and 1943
  • Ramón Menéndez Pidal: Romancero hispánico (hispano-portugués, americano y sefardí). Teoría e historia , 2 volumes, Madrid 1953 (Reprint 1968)
  • D. de Voto: Poésie et musique dans l'oeuvre des vihuelistes (notes méthodologiques). In: Annales musicologiques No. 4, 1956, pages 97-105
  • V. Vasina-Grossman: Russkijj Klassičeskij romans XIX veka (The Russian Classical Romance of the 19th Century), Moscow 1956
  • NM Jensen: Den danske romance , Glydendal 1964
  • HW Schwab: Singability, popularity and art song. Studies of song and song aesthetics during Goethe's middle period , Regensburg 1965
  • I. Fellinger: The terms salon and salon music. In: Studies on Trivial Music of the 19th Century, edited by Carl Dahlhaus, Regensburg 1967, pp. 131–142
  • JF Montesinos: Algunos problemas del Romancero nuevo. In: Ensayos y estudios de literatura española, Mexico 1970, pages 109-139
  • DW Foster: The Early Spanish Ballad , New York 1971
  • CA Moberg: Studies on Swedish Folk Music , Uppsala 1971
  • G. Umpierre: Songs in the Plays of Lope de Vega , London 1975
  • J. Etzion: The Spanish Polyphonic Ballad in Sixteenth-Century Vihuela Publications. In: Musica disciplina No. 35, 1981, pages 179-197
  • AB Caswell: Loïsa Puget and the French Romance. In: Music in Paris in the Eighteen-Thirties, edited by P. Bloom, Stuyvesant 1987, pp. 79-115
  • H. Gülow: Studies on instrumental romance in Germany before 1810 , Frankfurt am Main 1987
  • J. Etzion and S. Weich-Shahak: The Spanish and the Sephardic Romances: Musical Links. In: Ethnomusicology No. 32, 1988, pp. 1-37
  • Rainer Gstrein: The vocal romance in the period from 1750 to 1850 , Innsbruck 1989
  • SG Armistead: Los orígenes épicos del Romancero en una perspectiva multicultural. In: Estudios de folklore y literatura, Mexico 1992, pp. 3–16
  • J. Mongrédien (editor): Anthologie de la romance française , Paris 1994
  • Th. Binkley and M. Frenk (editors): Spanish Romances of the Sixteenth Century , Bloomington / Indiana 1995
  • D. Charlton: The Romance and Ist Cognates: Narrative, Irony and Vraisemblance in Early Opéra comique. In: H. Schneider / N. Wild (editor), The Opéra comique and its influence on European music theater in the 19th century, Hildesheim 1997, pp. 43–92


  1. Dorothé Schubarth Judith Etzion, Rainer Gstrein, Dorothea Redepenning: Romance . In: The music in past and present (MGG), subject part Volume 8, Bärenreiter and Metzler, Kassel and Basel 1998, Sp. 517-536. ISBN 3-7618-1109-8
  2. Marc Honegger, Günther Massenkeil (ed.): The great lexicon of music. Volume 7: Randhartinger - Stewart. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau a. a. 1982, ISBN 3-451-18057-X .
  3. Matanya Ophee: Who wrote La Sentinelle. In: Guitar & Laute 4, 1982, Heft 4, pp. 217-225.