Incidental music

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The incidental music is the music embedded in the spectacle . Dramatic music that is produced on the stage as part of the action is called incidental music .


In the 19th century, theatrical music was very extensive and was accompanied by a larger orchestra, for example in the antics of Johann Nestroy (see Adolf Müller senior ). The incidental music included numerous interspersed songs and choirs, dance music, melodramas , background music, interludes for renovation breaks, and earlier also extensive overtures and entractes .

Many pieces of music that are played in the concert hall today are arrangements or parts of incidental music, such as the overture to The Ruins of Athens by Ludwig van Beethoven (1812, to the drama of the same name by August von Kotzebue ), Klärchen's song “Joyful and Sorrowful” and the overture from Egmont by Beethoven (1809, to the drama of the same name by Goethe ), the music to Carl Maria von Weber's Preciosa and Franz Schubert's Rosamunde , the Danish royal anthem from Elverhøj by Friedrich Kuhlau (1828, to the play by Johan Ludvig Heiberg ), the Overture Poet and Farmer by Franz von Suppè (to a folk play by Karl Elmar , 1846) or Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg (1875, to Henrik Ibsen’s dramatic poem ).


In contrast to opera , incidental music is redesigned and often composed for each production . It is a fundamental design tool and supports the desired atmospheres and moods. Due to the simplified use and processing by means of computers, today mainly existing music titles are used, which are selected by the director. If an actor is involved in the production, he takes care of the selection, compilation or composition of the music to be included.

Drama musician

In the German theater landscape , most musicians work for theater productions on a fee basis (like the director). The majority of theaters hire a drama musician for a production in consultation with the director, depending on requirements and budget. There are still a few theaters in Germany that employ a salaried drama musician , succeeding the theater Kapellmeister who once existed on almost every stage. This is referred to as the head of drama music or drama music director. He is responsible for the musical work in the drama division, is responsible for the musical education of the drama ensemble and, in addition to running the theater on the big stage, designs additional foyer and presentation programs. Part-time employees are employed in some smaller city and state theaters.

Theater with institutionalized incidental music


  • Dagmar Beck, Frank Ziegler (Ed.): Carl Maria von Weber and the drama music of his time (= Weber studies. Vol. 7). Schott, Mainz 2003, ISBN 3-7957-0383-2 .
  • Oliver Huck : From Silvana to Freischütz. The concert arias, the interludes to operas and the incidental music of Carl Maria von Weber. Schott, Mainz 1999, ISBN 3-7957-0381-6 .
  • Ursula Kramer : Theater with Music. 400 years of incidental music in European theater. Conditions - strategies - perceptions . Transcript, Bielefeld 2014, ISBN 978-3-8376-2432-8 .
  • Margareta Saary: incidental music. In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 4, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-7001-3046-5 .
  • Beate Agnes Schmidt: Music in Goethe's Faust. Dramaturgy, reception and performance practice (= music and theater . Volume 5). Studio, Sinzig 2006, ISBN 978-3-89564-122-0 .
  • Axel Schröter: Music for the plays by August von Kotzebue. On stage practice during Goethe's direction of the Weimar court theater (= music and theater . Volume 4). Studio, Sinzig 2006, ISBN 3-89564-118-9 .

Web links