Salon music

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Salon music is an expression for easily comprehensible, often particularly virtuoso or sentimental music .

In addition to the literary salon , there was also the musical salon, which had gained in importance since the beginning of the 19th century. In the “salon” there was a private, mostly upper-class society, which - in contrast to the concert - followed the musical performances rather superficially. In a way, salon music is the bourgeois continuation of the chamber music of the nobility in the 17th and 18th centuries. Century.

Salon music as a genre consists mainly of arrangements of opera and operetta arias as well as ballroom dances . It also consists of “poetic” instrumental pieces that tell a story or create an atmosphere. Franz Schubert wrote music for the Biedermeier salons in Vienna, which is still accepted today as concert music. With the increasing commercialization of house music towards the middle of the 19th century, a genre of salon music emerged that was no longer taken seriously and attacked by critics such as Robert Schumann or Adolf Bernhard Marx and called kitsch .

The parlor piece is embodied in the prayer of a virgin (1856) by Tekla Bądarzewska and Charles François Gounod's Méditation sur le 1er prélude de Bach (1852), once loved by many piano students . In addition to the musical amateurs who took on the salon pieces, there was professional, primarily artistic salon music: the composer Jacques Offenbach, for example, began his career in the Paris salons as a virtuoso on the cello. Franz Liszt shone as a piano virtuoso in the salons.

From the end of the 19th century, salon music became more petty-bourgeois and more public and could be heard in numerous cafes and hotel halls. In addition to the dance bands, salon orchestras were created with a special cast. The piano retained its dominant position. With the development of radio and gramophone the salon music increasingly disappeared and made newer versions of popular music space.

The historic salon music has been upgraded since around 1980 and has been supported by numerous ensembles such as the Hamburger Stadtmusikatzen , the Bremer Kaffeehaus-Orchester , the Leipziger Salonorchester Cappuccino , the Salonmusik Saitensprünge , the Salzburger I Salonieri , the Salonorchester Cölln , the Salonensemble Lundi Soir and I Salonisti from Bern been played again. Musicians like the Palast Orchester , André Rieu or Richard Clayderman present modern versions of salon music.

Famous artist

The following is a list of well-known artists in the field of salon music:


  • Mäkelä, Tomi. "We owe the living consideration, the dead only the truth. An introduction to Friedrich Wieck's world of philistine mediocrity and better salon music" Friedrich Wieck - Collected writings on music and musicians [...] , Tomi Mäkelä , Christoph Kammertöns and Lena Esther Ptasczynski (eds.), Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2019, p. 15-49, ISBN 978-3-631-76745-0 .
  • Veronika Beci : Musical salons. The heyday of a women's culture . Artemis & Winkler , Düsseldorf 2000, ISBN 3-538-07102-0 .
  • Peter E. Gradenwitz: Literature and music in a sociable circle. Taste formation, topic of conversation and musical entertainment in bourgeois salon society. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-515-05336-0 .
  • Irmgard Keldány-Mohr: Popular music as a socio-cultural phenomenon of the 19th century. Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg 1977, ISBN 3-7649-2115-3 .