Folk music

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Folk music refers generally to the field of popular light music , which strongly with bonds from the folk music works and is available commercially under that term.

In addition to musical differences, folk music differs from folk music, among other things, in that it comes from musicians who are known by name and is marketed commercially. It is characterized by its concentration on maudlin, happy and homeland-related topics, while traditional folk music also includes sad, angry, political or obscene songs. Folk music is created under modern production conditions, works with acoustic effects, the songs are new and have no historical background. In contrast to strictly handmade folk music that is played completely live, full playback , the use of studio musicians as well as synthetic rhythm loops or other keyboard effects are not uncommon in folk music , which sometimes leads to controversy among the sometimes ignorant audience.


Hansi Hinterseer

Folk music is dominated by popular hits , which use the same instruments and style elements as hits in the narrower sense. The boundaries to Schlager are fluid. In typical folk pop rather come heimatlich embossed themes and motifs mood (of romantic longing to skipped happily) to the fore. Furthermore, the arrangement occasionally distinguishes it from the hit song. There are now many performers who are at home in both categories.

Folk music occurs in different forms: It ranges from brass music with or without singing to lively folk songs , from alpine music (the " Oberkrainersound " was the style-defining sound , in Switzerland you can find country motifs ) to popularly interpreted hits, which are becoming ever stronger comes to the fore. Folk music from other German regions also gave rise to commercial music styles that achieved supra-regional importance (e.g. Eberhard Hertel , Speelwark , Mühlenhof musicians , Menskes choirs , Black Forest family Seitz ).

Unlike popular hits, which increasingly work with electronic music production, the other branches of popular music are based almost exclusively on acoustic instruments (hand-made and blown music with real instruments). In addition, the other directions differentiate between vocal (sung) and purely instrumental titles. Typical instruments of the genre include a. Guitar and lute, accordion, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, but also violins and regional zither or mandolin.

Since the start of the TV show Musikantenstadl in 1981, the popular hit has developed over several stages. The Grand Prix of Folk Music , which was held annually between Germany , Austria and Switzerland from 1986 to 2010 , contributed to its success ; from 2000 South Tyrol also took part in the competition. After the victory of the Original Naabtal Duo in 1988 with the title Patrona Bavariae , the popular hit hit was very popular.


TV show Funny musicians on the market square in Goslar

The popular hit has slowly developed since the mid- 1970s and, with a few exceptions, emerged as an independent musical genre much later. Until then, it was just a variety of folk music that had been popular since the early 1960s . Popular music combines elements of genuine, down-to-earth folklore with other genres of light music , with almost all forms of light music , from swing to southern European influences, having left their mark. In the foreground, however, are familiar, native sounds in 4/4, possibly in waltz time .

As early as the late 1970s, popular entertainment programs achieved ratings successes on German television: presenters such as Elmar Gunsch or Carolin Reiber led through successful formats such as Funny Musicians or Songs that Come from the Heart , which the singing duo Maria and Margot Hellwig presented in The music comes musicians in front of the backdrop more beautiful Landscapes. Opera singers interpreted folk songs and popular operetta titles in popular entertainment shows such as Zum Blauen Bock (moderated by Heinz Schenk ) or Im Krug zum Grüne Kranze (moderated by Ruth Mönch and Willy Seiler) .

The folk music of this time also borrowed from popular styles of the light classical music and merged them with other musical elements to form a mass-effective conglomerate, which even then had a strong impact on hit music. Homely, lively and catchy melodies without corners and edges have shaped popular musical performances ever since. Successful interpreters like Heino sealed the bridge to Schlager.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the Musikantenstadl Karl Moiks began another successful epoch of popular television entertainment. Similar to the previous formats, it initially relied on tried-and-tested sounds, but over the years it has increasingly become a stage for performers of a wide variety of musical styles. In addition to big bands , pop singers, Brazilian samba groups and country bards , representatives of the folk genre were just one ingredient of the long-running musical.

It was precisely this colorful mix that was responsible for the fact that folk music opened up more and more to new influences and experienced an unprecedented boom since the late 1980s, but especially during the 1990s . Since that time, folk hits in a new guise have also been gaining ground in the classic hit field. With the exception of the “ pop ” -oriented hit area (“German Pop”), he influenced the repertoire of almost all performers.

Although a distinction is still made between German and popular hits, the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred. Performers such as Die Flippers , Andy Borg or Kristina Bach flirt completely or at times with folk motifs. At present, the possibilities of electronic sound generation are being used extensively in both genres. With the Grand Prix of Folk Music , a television competition to promote singers and musicians was held annually until 2010. In addition to folk hits, more traditional variants and other varieties of folk music were occasionally used. In 2006, Maria Hellwig was the oldest participant to date at the age of 86 and her 65-year-old daughter Margot Hellwig took part in the German qualifying round.



Popular entertainment programs were popular on television as early as the 1970s and 1980s. At the beginning of the 1990s, a wave of success began, which led to a real inflation of "folk music" shows; Inspired by the success of the Musikantenstadl , the formats shot out of the ground.

Even commercial broadcasters like RTL and Sat.1 had weekly “folk music” programs in their program ( Heimatmelodie , Feste celebrations , Zum Stanglwirt etc.), which were moderated by well-known interpreters such as Maria and Margot Hellwig or Marianne and Michael and achieved excellent ratings. Under the fierce competitive pressure of the public broadcasters and in view of the redefinition of the target group, the private broadcasters aimed at a young audience at the end of the 1990s and after more than a decade removed the popular TV shows from their programs.

The public broadcasters, on the other hand, retained the “folk music” and hit formats, the most important of which are among the top ratings in the evening program. The classics in the main programs of ARD and ZDF include the festivals of folk music , Welcome to Carmen Nebel , Musikantenstadl, Always on Sundays , Musikantendampfer , Grand Prix of Folk Music , Servus Hansi Hinterseer , When the music is playing , Gut Aiderbichl - A heart for animals , Open Air with Marianne & Michael, hit after hit or crown of folk music . There are also many popular music shows in the national programs of ARD (“Third”). These include: Happy everyday life , melodies of the mountains , Happy Vineyard , Lüders Krug, white-blue sounds the most beautiful, Sunday concert, Handkäs with music , etc. In recent years, several popular programs have been discontinued or replaced by new formats, z. B. Funny musicians , greetings with Marianne & Michael , musicians barn , street of songs , No beautiful country , Achim's hit parade or Magical Home .

The large cable networks and pay TV providers have been operating their own special-interest TV channels for hits and folk music for a long time. In addition to self-produced shows and magazines, the programs also offer program sections with music videos. While Gute Laune TV is broadcast on the major German cable networks , Goldstar TV broadcasts exclusively via Sky . Volksmusik TV started broadcasting in early 2007 . The program broadcasts popular and popular music magazines and related music clips.

In the radio sector, popular pop music plays an equally important role. It is strongly represented in the popular “4. Programs “from WDR , HR and SWR as well as in many other ARD hit channels. In Switzerland you can find them on DRS Musikwelle and on the private broadcaster Radio Eviva , in Austria in many national programs of Ö2 and throughout Germany on the private broadcaster Radio Melodie, which has now been discontinued . On the Internet there are a number of relevant web radios such as Radio VHR or Radio Heimatmelodie , which emerged from the former "Radio Melodie".


In recent years there has been an increasing tendency for folk and classic (“German”) hits to merge. In the area of ​​arrangements, too, the musical styles converge, with both genres adopting elements from the other. In addition, brass music and alpine music, which dominated until the 1980s, continue to develop as independent branches. Unlike Schlager, they still rank under the term folk music and in turn have an impact on folk pop music .

"Ideal world"

Folk music is often referred to simply as "folk music" for commercial reasons. This designation is factually incorrect. Folk music builds on the concept of folk music , but changes it musically and vocally; not infrequently, ideas of an ideal world are conveyed.

The popular hit is mostly described by critics as kitschy because of its deliberately kept simple lyrics and melodies . Because of the performances on TV appearances, usually via playback and with the help of the hidden use of technical aids - invisible synthesizers , concealed amplification of the voices - critics speak of an "illusion of live music-making".

For decades, critics of the popular scene have accused the popular scene of a backward-looking, conservative view of the world; this applies in particular to the image of women and families. In addition, popular hits propagate a retreat into irrationality . A sociological study carried out by the Dortmund music teacher Mechthild von Schoenebeck during the 1990s came to the conclusion that popular hits are successful in a society that is characterized by social and economic uncertainties. The target groups of popular hits represent values ​​such as the classic division of roles between men and women, ties to their homeland and traditional values, the generality of which is currently being questioned. According to the study, this target group perceives the ritualized celebration of these values ​​in shows with popular hits subjectively as coping with stress in a world marked by uncertainty.

Differentiation from folk music

Inexperienced people often confuse popular hits with traditional folk music , which often leads to prejudices and misunderstandings. Lovers of traditional folk music (especially in southern Germany) were and still have a defensive attitude towards folk music, because they feared mixing tendencies and because they feared above all that the consumer could no longer distinguish this music from actual folk music.

Must be distinguished of these is the new folk music , set in the elements of folk music in new contexts and are connected to jazz, folk, hip-hop, rock, and other styles.

Music market

The market for folk music is one of the largest music markets in the German-speaking area. Regardless of its cultural significance, “folk music” is an example of goal-oriented marketing with a high profit potential. Another advantage for the music industry is the lower potential of black copiers due to the age structure of the target group (seniors) .

Well-known artists

Germany Austria Switzerland South-Tirol




See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. FOCUS Online: Kastelruther Spatzen: 30 years nothing but dizziness? In: FOCUS Online . ( [accessed December 28, 2017]).
  2. tz .de: playback glitch at the Grand Prix , accessed on March 25, 2014
  3. Mechthild von Schoenebeck: "When the Heidschnucken look each other in the eyes ..." Political content of the popular hit. In: Contributions to popular music research 13, edited by Helmut Rösing, Baden-Baden 1994. pp. 25–45.
  4. ↑ Brief portrait of Mechthild von Schoenebeck, University of Dortmund
  5. "Adorable comes from pretending"
  6. "