Music Traditions in Germany



9 Questions

Which German city has developed a diverse music and entertainment industry since around 1990?

Which era saw the emergence of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Which German festival focused on political songs and was held annually beginning in 1970?

Which German subgenre of Industrial metal is known for morbid and provocative lyrical themes and over-the-top stage shows?

Which German city has the largest electronic music scene in the world?

Which German composer wrote socialist operas and cabaret-like music?

Which German festival is known for hosting large rock music festivals such as Rock am Ring and Rock im Park?

Which German composer is known for his work in the Baroque era?

Which German subgenre of folk metal blends hard rock or heavy metal music with medieval folk music?


Music Traditions in Germany

  • Germany is the largest music market in Europe and third largest in the world.

  • German classical music is one of the most performed in the world, with renowned composers including Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner.

  • German popular music includes movements like Neue Deutsche Welle, disco, metal/rock, punk, pop rock, indie, and electronic music.

  • Germany hosts many large rock music festivals, such as Rock am Ring and Rock im Park.

  • The new-old German capital Berlin has developed a diverse music and entertainment industry since around 1990.

  • The beginning of what is now considered German music could be traced back to the 12th-century compositions of mystic abbess Hildegard of Bingen.

  • The Baroque era saw the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel.

  • The Classical era saw the emergence of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

  • The Romantic era saw the emergence of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Richard Wagner.

  • In the 20th century, composers in Berlin took a more populist route, from the cabaret-like socialist operas of Kurt Weill to the Gebrauchsmusik of Paul Hindemith.

  • After the defeat of Nazi Germany, musicians were also subjected to the Allied policy of denazification.

  • Folk music in Germany has many unique regions with their own traditions of music and dance.A Brief History of German Music

  • Traditional German folk music was sunny, optimistic, and had little relation to authentic German folk traditions.

  • Germany underwent changes in the 1960s following the 1968 student revolution in West Germany, which led to new songs featuring political activism and realistic joy, sadness, and passion.

  • The Festival des politischen Liedes was an East German festival focusing on political songs, held annually beginning in 1970.

  • Bavarian folk music is associated with yodeling and schuhplattler dancers, and has played a role in the Alpine New Wave.

  • The Volkssänger was popular in Bavaria beginning in the 1880s and continued in earnest until the 1920s.

  • Swabian folk music is most popularly represented by acts like Saiten Fell and Firlefanz.

  • Some Christmas carols familiar in English are translations of German Christmas songs.

  • Cabaret arose during the Weimar Republic in the 1920s as the sensual music of late-night clubs.

  • Genuine German rock first appeared around 1968, and the first German rock bands fused psychedelic rock from abroad with electronic sounds.

  • Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW) is an outgrowth of British punk rock and new wave which appeared in the mid-to-late 1970s.

  • Hamburger Schule is an underground music movement that started in the late 1980s and was still active till around the mid-1990s.

  • In the 1990s, German-language groups had only limited popularity, and only a few artists managed to be played on the radio.Music in Germany: A Overview

  • Germany has a diverse music scene with many different genres, including R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, punk, heavy metal, Neue Deutsche Härte, medieval metal, goth, electronic, techno, and klezmer.

  • Hip hop in Germany started in the early 1980s, and Die Fantastischen Vier from Stuttgart had the first commercial success in 1992. Other notable artists include Fettes Brot, Cro, Kool Savas, and Capital Bra.

  • Punk music in Germany has a long and diverse history, with early bands heavily influenced by UK bands and new movements in the late 1970s and early 1980s led by labels like ZickZack Records. Well-known punk bands include Die Ärzte, Die Toten Hosen, and Böhse Onkelz.

  • Germany has a long and strong history with heavy metal, with early hard rock/heavy metal brought to German soil with the success of Scorpions and Accept. Notable bands include Running Wild, Blind Guardian, Helloween, Gamma Ray, and Primal Fear.

  • Neue Deutsche Härte is a popular German variant of Industrial metal, known for morbid and provocative lyrical themes and over-the-top stage shows. Famous artists include Rammstein, Oomph!, and Unheilig.

  • Medieval metal or medieval rock is a subgenre of folk metal that blends hard rock or heavy metal music with medieval folk music. Notable bands include Subway to Sally, In Extremo, Schandmaul, and Wolgemut.

  • Germany has the largest electronic music scene in the world, with a long tradition in and influence on almost all genres of electronic music. Notable bands include Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Einstürzende Neubauten, and KMFDM.

  • Trance music originated in Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with many Trance genres stemming from the original trance music. Notable artists include Paul Kalkbrenner, Paul van Dyk, and Scooter.

  • Klezmer expanded significantly in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in the mid-1980s, and Klezmer groups started to tour outside of Europe in the 1980s, with Americans gaining immediate interest in the music genre.The Evolution of Klezmer Music

  • Klezmer music originated in Eastern Europe as a form of Jewish folk music played at weddings and other celebrations.

  • Klezmer music experienced a revival in the US in the 1970s as Jewish musicians sought to reconnect with their cultural heritage.

  • American Klezmer bands added a rock influence to the traditional sound of Klezmer, which contributed to its popularity in Germany.

  • Giora Feidman is a highly influential Klezmer musician who created a new perspective for the genre and associated it with healing from the trauma of the Holocaust.

  • Klezmer music underwent significant transformation in the 1980s and experienced a new wave of change in the middle-late 1990s.

  • Klezmer became known as a political statement, a method of healing, and a way to reconnect with lost traditions.

  • Jazz has influenced Klezmer music, leading to the creation of a sub-genre called "Jewgrass."

  • Klezmer has been incorporated into world music, with Cuban-born singer Addys Mercedes gaining popularity in Germany.

  • Despite its evolution, some believe that Feidman took his ideology too far and turned Klezmer into something it never intended to become.

  • Klezmer remains a popular genre today, with festivals and concerts held around the world.

  • Klezmer has become a symbol of Jewish culture and heritage, and its popularity continues to grow.

  • Klezmer music is seen as a way to connect people of different cultures and backgrounds through a shared appreciation for music.


Are you a fan of German music? Test your knowledge with our Music Traditions in Germany quiz! Explore the history and evolution of German music, from classical composers like Bach and Beethoven to modern genres like electronic and Neue Deutsche Härte. Learn about the diverse music scene in Germany, including punk, heavy metal, hip hop, and klezmer. See how much you know about the origins and influences of popular German bands and musicians. Take the quiz and find out if you're a true

Ready to take the quiz?

Play Quiz