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The Zwiefache is a folk dance from southern Germany at a fast pace with constant alternation between the round dance and waltz dance.


The main area of ​​distribution of the double is Eastern Bavaria, especially Lower Bavaria , Holledau , Upper Palatinate and Middle Franconia , but it was and is also known in the Black Forest , Austria , Alsace , the Czech Republic and the Sudetenland .

About the name

This dance form originally had a wide variety of names in different regions, such as Schweinauer (Ries), Schleifer, Überfuaß, Mischlich (Czech Dvoják or Dvoják s trojákem), Grad and Ungrad (Swabia), entrance '(Upper Palatinate), New Bavarian and above all Bavarian (Czech Baworak), which, according to Kunz and Schmeller, originally meant peasant dance. This sometimes led to confusion with the Boarian (Bavarian polka). In the Black Forest the names Heuberger, Lange, Oberländer, Oberab or Hippentänze are common, in the Sudetenland they are called half-German or Mischlich. In the northern Upper Palatinate, the dance is also called Dableckerter or Tratzerter because it is difficult for the dancers to perform.

However, the name Zwiefacher is currently the predominant name for round dance forms including the associated melody with time changes within the phrase. This name appears in Kunz as early as 1848. It has been widely spread since 1927 by some folk dance leaders, such as Raimund Zoder , in order not to confuse these popular, mostly Bavarian dances with the equally popular Boarisch.

There are three theories for the origin of this name:

  • The word Zwiefach (first documented in 1780) originally meant the paired dancing of round dances , two people of different genders twisted tightly around each other, which was frowned upon in earlier times for reasons of morality.
  • Today it is mostly assumed that the name comes from the two types of steps (waltz, two-step) that make up most of the doubles.
  • According to Erich Sepp, it is more likely that the name comes from the most popular Bavarian with two melodies . There were single Bavarian, which consisted of only one melody, double Bavarian such as Boxhamerisch, the most common Bavarian, which consisted of two melodies, and also triple Bavarian, which consisted of three melodies.
  • In the late 1970s, Wolfgang A. Mayer introduced the Bavarian When the Farmer Goes to Wine Country at a folk dance course in Bavaria. In this course, analogous to the name Zwiefacher, the term Driefacher (trifacher) for double with three types of steps (waltz, lathe, polka) appeared, which has since become naturalized.

Dance performance

The pair turns fast, usually in closed waltz attitude, similar to the folk dance traditional waltz round dance rare, even in semi-open settings.

The special feature of this dance is the change between odd and even time , usually between 3/4 and 2/4 time, rarely also 4/4 time. The cycle change can take place regularly - z. B. two bars in each of the different rhythms - but also occur only sporadically or irregularly in the piece.

In terms of dance, the change between 3/4 and 2/4 time corresponds to an alternation between waltz steps and turning steps , more rarely also polka steps ( alternating steps ), for example with three times , with purple-pale-blue or with twice the Kuhländchen .

Some types of twofold (with notes and dance description):

  • Regular change, 2 bars each of lathe and waltz: Boxhamerisch (Alte Kath)
  • irregular alternation of waltz / lathe operator: Riki-Zwiefach by Alfred Gieger
  • Alternation between waltz, polka and lathe (triple or triple): Yes, if the farmer
  • Change between polka and turner: white-blue or purple-pale-blue
  • Alternation between waltz, turner and Boarian figure: 's Luada
  • increasing number of bars: Naglschmied (the earliest evidence of a double with a name, in which the dance execution is clear)


The musical notation is unusual :

  • In the traditional notation , the tones in the even measure were only notated with half the length, an eighth note in the even measure is played as long as a quarter note in the odd measure. This notation corresponds to the dance perspective and shows the distribution of the steps: a weight shift is carried out per quarter or a quarter note is noted per step.
  • Currently, the metric notation is common for the double , where notes of the same value are played for the same length, which corresponds more to the perspective of the musicians. Melody parts in uneven time are notated in Takt time, analogous to the waltz, melody parts in even time in 2/4 time. Musically this notation is actually flawed.
  • Erich Sepp presented a musically more correct notation and explained it in detail and comprehensibly in "Swabian-Alemannic Zwiefache". As before, he writes the odd measures in Takt time, the even measures in 2/2 or ½ time. However, this notation has not yet established itself.


Many doubles are difficult to dance. Therefore many (mostly very simple) song texts for the dance melodies have spread as a memory aid. But there are always new lyrics to the traditional melodies. For example, Josef Eberwein wrote a Suserl text for the traditional Zuserl-Zwiefacher, and more recently the group sang “ Bairisch Diatonischer Jodelwahnsinn ” to the same melody Hunger kriag i glei , a McDonald’s parody, author Otto Göttler .

In the old days the dancers would order a double by singing it to the music. If the music was unable to reproduce this, it was mocked. The texts were also necessary for this.


In lute books from the 16th century, pieces of music with time changes in the manner of the double have been handed down. It is not known whether there was also dancing to this. Since the special thing about the double is the connection between cycle change and step change, these forms cannot actually be called double.

Few archival finds suggest its age. In the Amberg City Archives there is a music manuscript dated around 1730 that contains a thoroughbred double (Mandora tablature, Parthia 3tia, title Aria ). The name appears for the first time in 1780: In a court record of the court judge in Wolfersdorf ( Hallertau ) it says: This type of dance is called 'zwyfach Danzen' among the peasant people (State Archives for Upper Bavaria, Briefprotokoll Moosburg No. 646). Four farm boys disregarded the ban on dancing on November 12th, 1780 and were delighted [...] to dance indecently and angrily in the local Wirtstafern on November 12th, 1780 and to tangle their feet with those of their women . However, this meant only to zwyen , ie to dance in pairs.

According to Franz Magnus Böhme , it was danced a lot in the Upper Palatinate and ... from Nuremberg to Bamberg, but since 1830 seldom.

Johann Andreas Schmeller speaks in part 2/2 of his Bavarian dictionary published in 1837 about the double dancing, i.e. H. in the older Bavarian manner, the music of which is imitated and expressed in the well-known folk song of the nail smith. Apparently Schmeller is still referring to the couple dance, although he chooses a double as an example that is still known today.

In 1848 Konrad Max Kunz was the first to use the term '' Zwiefacher '' in its current meaning. With this term he probably meant pieces that are composed of two melodies. Kunz (1812–1875) had played in his father's watchman band as a boy, in the 1820s. He writes: There were no grades for these foolish things. Musicians and dancers learn it through tradition. The oldest people speak of them as a thing which they found in their youth as something that has always existed, of the origin of which there is no news at all. Obviously, it originated in the time before the invention of the bar line. So that would be at least the 18th century.

Intangible cultural heritage

In 2016, the German UNESCO Commission included twice that in the list of national intangible cultural heritage in Germany in the cultural form section.

Examples in art music


  • Adolf J. Eichenseer and Wolfgang A. Mayer (Eds.): Folk songs from the Upper Palatinate and neighboring areas. Volume 1: Sung Bavarian (= folk songs from the Upper Palatinate and neighboring areas 1). Mittelbayerischer Verlag, Regensburg 1976, ISBN 3-931904-78-4
  • Felix Hoerburger: The twofold. Design and redesign of the dance melodies in northern Altbayern. New edition of the Berlin 1956 edition, Laaber-Verlag, Laaber 1991, ISBN 3-89007-264-X
  • Corina Oosterveen: Zwiefacher and Polka " Raves " in Volume 5 "Music Lessons Today" (Federal Congress of the Working Group for School Music and General Music Education eV Berlin 2002), Ed. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Terhag, notation, popular music and education, 2005
  • Corina Oosterveen and Ute Walther: Zwiefache, 77 time change dances from Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, the Palatinate and Alsace. Notes, descriptions, history ; Fidula Publishing House
    • Accompanying CD of the Aller Hopp group: Zwiefache, 24 time change dances from Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, the Palatinate and Alsace - CD; Fidula Publishing House
    • as audio CD: Corina Oosterveen, Ute Walther, Aller Hopp: Zwiefache, 24 time-changing dances from Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, the Palatinate and Alsace. 48 min., FidulaFon
  • Audio CD: Bernd Dittl: Dittl zum Danzn. Twice there. 57 min., Schlachthaus Musik ALCD2001-03 LC01139
  • Fritz Kubiena: Kuhl Händler Tänze - Thirty of the most beautiful old dances from the Kuhländchen ; Self-published by Neutitschein in 1922

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Kunz, Konrad Max: Zwiefache, 12 of the most beautiful old Upper Palatinate peasant dances (national melodies). Published for the first time and arranged for the pianoforte in: Cäcilia, a magazine for the musical world. Schott-Verlag, Mainz, Volume 27, p. 224 f.
  2. a b Schmeller, Johann Andreas: Bavarian Dictionary, 2nd Edition, edited. by G. Karl Fromann, Munich, 1872–1878, Volume 2/2, Col. 1170. First published in 1837.
  3. Boxhamerisch-Zwiefach
  4. ^ Riki-Zwiefach
  5. Yes if the farmer
  6. White-blue and purple-pale-blue
  7. 's Luada
  8. Naglschmied
  9. Erich Sepp: Twice aside? In: Folk Music in Bavaria, Bavarian State Association for Home Care e. V., Volume 32/2015 / Issue 3.
  10. Swabian-Alemannic Zwiefache, arranged for two melodic instruments by Erich Sepp ( Memento from March 17, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Suserl text
  12. ^ Schmeller, Johann Andreas: Bavarian Dictionary, Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online
  13. German UNESCO Commission Zwiefacher