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The Liedermacher.docx

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University of Waterloo
GER 100
Paul Malone

5 November 2012 The Liedermacher (“Song-Maker”) Movement November 9  1918: abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and other kings; proclamation of the Weimar Republic  1923: Attempted Hitler putsch (coup) and march on Munich  1938: Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) – coordinated attack on Jews and synagogues  1989: East German borders opened; Berlin Wall breached “Popular music in post-war Germany has been, and, to a large extent still is, clearly dominated by two genres: 1) the German ‘Schlager,’ songs with a beat, and unpretentious lyrics, generally speaking; and 2)Foreign pop music, mainly of American and British origin. However, there has always been a small group of people (mainly those familiar with the prewar folk song tradition of youth movements) who could not identify with the mainstreams in popular music. At the same time these people did not wish to revive the traditional German songs either.” “Stimulated by the Waldeck *folk music+ Festivals a growing number of talented singers (called ‘liedermacher’- songmakers) started to write songs in German which conveyed a message, and thus proved that songs more ambitious than ‘Schlager’ did indeed have a chance in their country. This phenomenon can be called the birth of the New Song. Though differing in style, content and niveau, most of the new songs had three things in common:” “1) The New Song could be seen as a rebuttal to established (cultural) values; 2) They were sung by individual artists and meant for listening rather than for audience participation; 3) They had nothing in common with traditional folk-song pathos, but tried in their lyrics to delineate and interpret personal feelings. The author’s experiences of certain aspects in society.” “The style and content of the New Song can be explained through the early works of two of the most important ‘Liedermacher’: Franz Joseph Degenhardt and Reinhard Mey. These singer/songwriters represent the two major trends in the New Song of the sixties: Degenhardt standing for the numerically dominant trend which could be called songs of social analysis, and Mey representing the trend toward highly personal chansons.” “Credibility versus worn-out cliches is an important criterion to distinguish the New Song from the ‘Schlager’ and the even more trivial ‘Schnulze’ (soppy love song). In his song ‘Almost a love song,’ Mey tells his girlfriend how difficult it is to write her a true love song, one free of conventional rhymes and trite phrases.” Reinhard Mey  “Fast ein Liebeslied” (Almost a Love Song; 1967)  Album: “Ich wollte wie Orpheus singen” o Greek Mythology of Orpheus:  Known as Friedrich Mey for his French albums “For Degenhardt the term ‘petty-bourgeoisie’ equals small-mindedness, which he not only rejects but also fears. He contends that confirmed reactionaries will certainly not learn from the past and are likely to repeat its disastrous mistakes. The second album, as its title song ‘Papa Franz’ is quick to reveal, goes 5 November 2012 even one step further. Here the biased world depicted as potentially dangerous in the earlier album opens the floodgates of prejudice. Papa Franz, the ‘sotten narrator,’ tells us the story of a fictitious suburban slum settlement and its strange inhabitants: ...” “…a homosexual communist, a sodomite (for Gemans means beastiality) zoo-director, a priest who holds black masses; a carpenter who thinks he is Jesus; and a harelipped kid. The slum was of no interest to anyone until overnight a drastic change took place. ‘Sons and daughters of the very best families’ decided to join ‘the commune’ and denounce their heritage. The citizens were disgusted, and the newspaper czar declared ‘the clean spirit of this fair city has been grossly defiled.’ They put an end to it all when 20 bulldozers encircled the commune, the bourgeoise runaways were captured in nets, disinfected and taken home, and the remaining ‘lepers’ were killed with napalm—a profoundly pessimistic, gruesome view of an intol
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