German Folk Music has its roots in the German states of Bavaria, Saxony and Franconia. It is also referred to as Eben Musik or Viennese Folk Music. The term “folk” can apply to a variety of musical genres such as pop music, folk-rock, folk jazz or traditional music. It can also be used to describe any type of music that originated in the German lands and subsequently influenced other cultures.
Many scholars agree that German, traditional German music is one of the most fertile areas for studying because it is so diverse. The term “folk” can mean a broad range of instruments played on a large scale such as steel guitar, flute, folk-style acoustic guitar, folk-tune organ or any other instrument played on a large scale. But it can also mean traditional German music that originated in this area and are popular today. The range of music goes far beyond the traditional German metal and folk-style instruments.
The most popular traditional genre of German folk music is of course the folk song. Many people believe the most popular and most well-known German traditional folk song is Die Suchen Fragen (English: The Cry of Freedom). This song is often requested and performed at international events like concerts, banquets and family gatherings. The words of the original German lyrics are very poignant and can be inspirational, but the music has a big beat that can be fun to dance to. And the dance moves are often intricate and sophisticated.
Another great German folk song that many people know is Deutscher Lied (also known as German Christmas Songs). This popular song tells the story of the Christmas Truffle which was found by the daughter of the Princes in the 11th century. The legend says that the daughter wanted to celebrate her father’s golden age with her own daughter, so she took her needle and thread and made four balls out of wool and cloth. The poor prince paid no attention and thought no further of Christmas, but when his wife presented him with a gift basket containing twelve bottles of wine, he realized what he had been missing. He gathered his people together and sang the praises of the noble Christmas Shrek, until they were able to ride away on the snow.
One of the most famous songs from Germany is Petite Maisonneauswonder (lit: Petite Girl). In this version, which you will recognize if you have ever seen the movie or watched the German movie version, a little old lady gets lost in the forest. She has the help of her elderly foster son who tries to help her out but he cannot stop the little old lady from getting lost. Eventually the girl falls into a deep hole that is so deep she cannot climb out. Then, the old man says: “I have a solution for your problem”. And he pulls out a small stick from his pocket and starts to swing it around, so the little girl comes out of the hole and finds herself on top of a mountain with a well that is guarded by a giant ice statue.
Another popular German folk song that is related to Christmas is Jingle Bells. This Germany song has a very nice melody and the words are as nice as well, with the main phrase being “all types of jingle bells, chimes, tassels, bells…” It goes on to say how all types of people in all kinds of places will be calling for the homes of all types of people and they all want to ring the different bells that will alert everyone that the home is now available. One other fun thing that can be associated with this song is that it was actually used by German military forces to signal that it was time to surrender. When the soldiers were surrounded by enemy soldiers, they would blow the horn and tell the people inside that all the men and women had to leave their homes immediately. This was actually a good way to ensure that the enemy soldiers would leave the area and give the German forces free reign.