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Music of Germany

Forms of German music include Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW), krautrock, Bavarian oom-pah and multiple varieties of folk music and volksmusik. Classical composers include Richard Wagner and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Pop and rock

The first form of German pop music is said to be cabaret, which arose during the Weimar Republic as the sensual music of late-night clubs. Marlene Dietrich and Margo Lion were among the most famous performers of the period, and became associated with both humorous satire and liberal ideas. "Wenn die beste Freundin" (1928) was an early lesbian-themed song. A more modernized version with lyrically incisive words later developed; this was called liedermacher.

Ghanaian immigrants have created a distinctive form of highlife called burger-highlife.

Folk music

Germany has many unique regions with their own folk traditions of music and dance. Much of the 20th century saw German culture appropriated for the ruling powers, and remained unhip until later in the century. Most recently, the East German regime promoted folk music as long as it was what they saw as an expression of pure German tradition, and a tool for spreading party propaganda.


Bavaria has been part of the Alpine New Wave of folk music alongside Switzerland and Austria. Drawing on pioneers like Biermosl Blosn, musicians from Munich and other cities have fused Bavarian folk with foreign genres and instruments, especially BavaRio's Brazilian samba fusion. Drawing on stubenmusik, native string bands with hammered dulcimers, zithers, guitars and harps. Other bands, like Die Interpreten, have fused jazz and saxophone music. Biermosl Blosn, however, is the most well-known band of the alternative boom; they are famous for their humorous lyrics poking fun at right-wing politicians and controversial satires, such as replacing the Bavarian national anthem's lyrics with words attacking President Franz Josef Strauss in 1980, leading to a long-time band from TV.

The 1990s saw the rise of Neue Volksmusik, or Alpine New Wave. Inspired by traditionalists like Sepp Eibl, a new group of bands brought a modern sound to traditional music. Artists included most famously Hundsbuam, who formed in 1994.

See also: List of German bands