), (plural [ˈliːdɐ]) is a German word, meaning literally "song
"; among English speakers, however, the word is used primarily as a term for European romantic music songs
, also known as art songs
. More accurately, the term perhaps is best used to describe specifically songs set to a German poem of reasonably high literary aspirations, most notably during the nineteenth century, beginning with Franz Schubert
and culminating with Hugo Wolf
. Typically, Lieder
are arranged for a single singer and piano
. Sometimes Lieder
are gathered in a Liederkreis
or "song cycle
"—a series of songs (generally three or more) tied by a single narrative or theme. The composers Franz Schubert
and Robert Schumann
are most closely associated with this genre of romantic music. A Japanese horror anime has been made with the title Elfen Lied
(meaning 'Elf Song').
speakers the term Lied
has a long history ranging from 12th century troubadour
) via folk songs (Volkslieder
) and church hymns (Kirchenlieder
) to 20th-century workers songs (Arbeiterlieder
) or protest songs
In Germany, the great age of song came in the 19th century. German and Austrian composers had written music for voice with keyboard before this time, but it was with the flowering of German literature in the Classical and Romantic eras that composers found high inspiration in poetry that sparked the genre known as the Lied. The beginnings of this tradition are seen in the songs of Mozart and Beethoven, but it is with Schubert that a new balance is found between words and music, a new absorption into the music of the sense of the words. Schubert wrote over 600 songs, some of them in sequences or song cycles that relate a story—adventure of the soul rather than the body. The tradition was continued by Schumann, Brahms, and Hugo Wolf, and on into the 20th century by Strauss and Mahler.
Other national traditions
tradition is closely linked with the German language
. But there are parallels elsewhere, noticeably in France
, with the melodies of such composers as Berlioz
and Francis Poulenc
, and in Russia
, with the songs of Mussorgsky
in particular. England
too had a flowering of song in the 20th century represented by Vaughan Williams
and Benjamin Britten
The Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko (1819–1872) composed 278 songs. 276 were compiled in 12 booklets called The Home Songbook (Śpiewnik Domowy). The songs were set to poems by the most famous Polish poets of that time, such as Adam Mickiewicz.
- Hallmark, Rufus (1996). German Lieder in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Schirmer.
- Parsons, James (2004). The Cambridge Companion to the Lied. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.