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Colorful tiles on the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

Vienna Media News 03/2012 Wienerlied VIDEO

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The Wienerlied is much more than a musical phenomenon; it is "an integral part of the city's socio-cultural make-up", explains Susanne Schedtler, Director of the Wiener Volksliedwerk, which is dedicated to scientific research into Viennese folk music. Literary scholar Harry Zohn sees the Wienerlied, which has existed as a genre in its own right for about 150 years, as a "musical and literary means of self-romanticization for the Viennese population". The Wienerlied is characterized by a richness of chromatic and harmonic shifts, as well as numerous tempo changes. Many pieces clearly reflect a contextual proximity to the popular Alpine songwriting traditions of the 19th century. Recurring themes include love, wine, death and, of course, the peerless capital itself.

According to the Volksliedwerk, there are an estimated 70,000 examples of the Wienerlied, and any self-respecting musician in the city will have several hundred in their repertoire. The institute's archives contain several thousand flyers advertising Wienerlied songs, as well as song books, instrumental scores, audio recordings and video footage. Viennese, Austrian and international folk music have taken audiences by storm at the wean hean (Viennese dialect for Wien hören, or hear Vienna) festival since 2000. Here, old and new Wienerlied songs also play a central role. Traditional Viennese music has been in the ascendancy since the 1970s, and right now a new crop of talented young musicians in the city is putting its own stamp on the genre. Recent years have witnessed the introduction of countless new angles on the Wienerlied, with some performers choosing to stick to a more traditional path, while others are suffusing it with their own contemporary styles.

  • Wiener Volksliedwerk, Gallitzinstrasse 1, 1160 Vienna,
  • wean hean, Wienerlied Festival, Apr 19-May 23, 2012,


Vienna Tourist Board
Helena Hartlauer
Media Relations UK, USA, Canada, Australia
Tel. (+ 43 1) 211 14-364

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