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Minnesang
Minnesang
(German: [ˈmɪnəˌzaŋ], "love song") was a tradition of lyric- and song-writing in Germany that flourished in the Middle High German period. This period of medieval German literature began in the 12th century and continued into the 14th. People who wrote and performed Minnesang
Minnesang
were known as Minnesänger (German: [ˈmɪnəˌzɛŋɐ], minnesingers), and a single song was called a Minnelied. The name derives from minne, the Middle High German
Middle High German
word for love, as that was Minnesang's main subject. The Minnesänger were similar to the Provençal troubadours and northern French trouvères in that they wrote love poetry in the tradition of courtly love in the High Middle Ages.

Contents

1 Social status 2 History 3 Melodies 4 Later developments 5 Notable Minnesänger 6 Example of a Minnelied 7 Editions 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Social status[edit] In the absence of reliable biographical information, there has been debate about the social status of the Minnesänger. Some clearly belonged to the higher nobility – the 14th century Codex
Codex
Manesse includes songs by dukes, counts, kings, and the Emperor Henry VI. Some Minnesänger, as indicated by the title Meister (master), were clearly educated commoners, such as Meister Konrad von Würzburg. It is thought that many were ministeriales, that is, members of a class of lower nobility, vassals of the great lords. Broadly speaking, the Minnesänger were writing and performing for their own social class at court, and should be thought of as courtiers rather than professional hired musicians. Friedrich von Hausen, for example, was part of the entourage of Friedrich Barbarossa, and died on crusade. As a reward for his service, Walther von der Vogelweide
Walther von der Vogelweide
was given a fief by the Emperor Frederick II. Several of the best known Minnesänger are also noted for their epic poetry, among them Heinrich von Veldeke, Wolfram von Eschenbach
Wolfram von Eschenbach
and Hartmann von Aue. History[edit] The earliest texts date from perhaps 1150, and the earliest named Minnesänger are Der von Kürenberg
Der von Kürenberg
and Dietmar von Aist, clearly writing in a native German tradition in the third quarter of the 12th century. This is referred to as the Danubian tradition. From around 1170, German lyric poets came under the influence of the Provençal troubadours and the French trouvères. This is most obvious in the adoption of the strophic form of the canzone, at its most basic a seven-line strophe with the rhyme scheme ababcxc, and a musical AAB structure, but capable of many variations. A number of songs from this period match trouvère originals exactly in form, indicating that the German text could have been sung to an originally French tune, which is especially likely where there are significant commonalities of content. Such songs are termed contrafacta. For example, Friedrich von Hausen's "Ich denke underwilen" is regarded as a contrafactum of Guiot de Provins's "Ma joie premeraine". By around 1190, the German poets began to break free of Franco-Provençal influence. This period is regarded as the period of Classical Minnesang
Minnesang
with Albrecht von Johansdorf, Heinrich von Morungen, Reinmar von Hagenau
Reinmar von Hagenau
developing new themes and forms, reaching its culmination in Walther von der Vogelweide, regarded both in the Middle Ages and in the present day as the greatest of the Minnesänger. The later Minnesang, from around 1230, is marked by a partial turning away from the refined ethos of classical minnesang and by increasingly elaborate formal developments. The most notable of these later Minnesänger, Neidhart von Reuental
Neidhart von Reuental
introduces characters from lower social classes and often aims for humorous effects. Melodies[edit] Only a small number of Minnelied melodies have survived to the present day, mainly in manuscripts dating from the 15th century or later, which may present the songs in a form other than the original one. Additionally, it is often rather difficult to interpret the musical notation used to write them down. Although the contour of the melody can usually be made out, the rhythm of the song is frequently hard to fathom. There are a number of recordings of Minnesang
Minnesang
using the original melodies, as well as Rock groups such as Ougenweide
Ougenweide
performing songs with modern instruments. Later developments[edit] In the 15th century, Minnesang
Minnesang
developed into and gave way to the tradition of the Meistersänger. The two traditions are quite different, however; Minnesänger were mainly aristocrats, while Meistersänger usually were commoners. At least two operas have been written about the Minnesang
Minnesang
tradition: Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser
Tannhäuser
and Richard Strauss' Guntram. Notable Minnesänger[edit]

Danubian Lyric

Dietmar von Aist Der von Kürenberg Meinloh von Sevelingen

Early Courtly Lyric

Friedrich von Hausen Kaiser Heinrich VI Heinrich von Veldeke Spervogel

Classical Minnesang

Albrecht von Johansdorf Bernger von Horheim Gottfried von Strassburg Hartmann von Aue
Hartmann von Aue
(1160/1170–1210/1220) Heinrich von Morungen Reinmar von Hagenau
Reinmar von Hagenau
(ca. 1210) Walther von der Vogelweide Wolfram von Eschenbach

Later Minnesang 13th century

Otto von Botenlauben
Otto von Botenlauben
Fountain

Reinmar von Brennenberg der Regenboge Friedrich von Sonnenburg Gottfried von Neifen Heinrich von Meissen (Frauenlob) (1250/1260–1318) Hugo von Montfort Konrad von Würzburg
Konrad von Würzburg
(1220/1230–1287) Neidhart von Reuental
Neidhart von Reuental
(1st half of the 13th century) Otto von Botenlauben
Otto von Botenlauben
(1177 – before 1245) Reinmar von Zweter
Reinmar von Zweter
(1200 – after 1247) Süßkind von Trimberg Der Tannhäuser Ulrich von Liechtenstein
Ulrich von Liechtenstein
(ca. 1200–1275) Walther von Klingen (1240–1286)

Later Minnesang 14th century

Johannes Hadlaub
Johannes Hadlaub
(End of 13th century – 1340) Muskatblüt Oswald von Wolkenstein

Example of a Minnelied[edit] The following love poem, of unknown authorship, is found in a Latin codex of the 12th century from the Tegernsee
Tegernsee
monastery.

Middle High German Modern German English

Dû bist mîn, ich bin dîn: des solt dû gewis sîn. dû bist beslozzen in mînem herzen. verlorn ist das slüzzelîn: dû muost immer drinne sîn!

Du bist mein, ich bin dein: des(sen) sollst du gewiss sein. Du bist verschlossen in meinem Herzen. Verloren ist das Schlüsselein: du musst immer darin sein!

You are mine, I am yours, Thereof you may be certain. You're locked away within my heart. Lost is the key And you must ever be therein!

Editions[edit] The standard collections are

12th and early 13th Century Minnesang
Minnesang
(up to Reinmar von Hagenau):

H. Moser, H. Tervooren, Des Minnesangs Frühling.

Vol. I: Texts, 38th edn (Hirzel, 1988) ISBN 3-7776-0448-8 Vol II: Editorial Principles, Melodies, Manuscripts, Notes, 36th edn (Hirzel, 1977) ISBN 3-7776-0331-7 Vol III: Commentaries (Hirzel, 2000) ISBN 3-7776-0368-6

13th Century Minnesang
Minnesang
after Walther von der Vogelweide:

Carl v. Kraus, G. Kornrumpf, Deutsche Liederdichter des 13. Jahrhunderts (Niemeyer 1978) ISBN 3-484-10284-5.

14th and 15th centuries:

Thomas Cramer, Die kleineren Liederdichter des 14. und 15. Jhs., 4 Vols (Fink 1979-1985)

There are separate editions of Walther's works, and of a number of the most prolific Minnesänger. There are many published selections with Modern German translation. See also[edit]

Liederhandschrift

References[edit]

This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (March 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Olive Sayce, The medieval German lyric, 1150-1300: the development of its themes and forms in their European context (Oxford University Press, 1982) ISBN 0-19-815772-X Ronald J. Taylor, The Art of the Minnesinger. Songs of the thirteenth century transcribed and edited with textual and musical commentaries (University of Wales Press, 2 vols., 1968) Alwin Schultz, Das höfische Leben zur Zeit der Minnesinger (“Court life at the time of the Minnesinger,” 2 vols., 1889) Barbara Garvey Seagrave and Wesley Thomas, The Songs of the Minnesingers. Includes LP record that presents songs of many of the principal minnesingers, with instruments of the period accompanying the vocalists (University of Illinois Press, 1966)

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Minnesingers.

Media related to Minnesang
Minnesang
at Wikimedia Commons 1857 edition of Karl Lachmann Adolph Ernst Kroeger The Minnesinger of Germany 1873  "Minnesinger". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.   "Minnesinger". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.   "Minnesingers". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. 

v t e

Carmina Burana

Authors

Archpoet Peter Abelard Hugh Primas of Orléans Walter of Châtillon Peter of Blois Minnesinger Dietmar von Aist Heinrich von Morungen Walther von der Vogelweide

Poems and songs

"Dum Diane vitrea" "O Fortuna" "Phyllis and Flora"

Carl Orff

Carmina Burana Carl Orff's O Fortuna
O Fortuna
in popular culture

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