From Academic Kids

Minnesang was the tradition of lyric and song writing in Germany which flourished in the 12th century and continued into the 14th century. People who wrote and performed Minnesang are known as Minnesingers (Minnesänger).

Minnesang had much in common with the troubadour tradition of France, and it likely stemmed from that tradition, though it developed unique features. Like the troubadors, the Minnesingers mainly sang of courtly love (this is where the Minne part of their name comes from).

Several of the best known Minnesingers are also noted for their epic poetry, among them Henric van Veldeke, Wolfram von Eschenbach and Hartmann von Aue. Other noted Minnesingers include Dietmar von Aist, Neidhart von Reuental, Heinrich von Morungen, and Walther von der Vogelweide.

A number of Minnelied melodies have survived to the present day, although 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.

In the 15th century Minnesang developed into and gave way to the tradition of the Meistersingers. The two traditions are quite different, however (Minnesingers were mainly aristocrats, while Meistersingers were merchants, for example).

At least two operas have been written about the Minnesang tradition: Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser and Richard Strauss' Guntram.


Famous Minnelied

The following love poem, of unknown authorship, is found in a latin codex of the 12th century from the Tegernsee monastery.

Middle High German original

Du bist min ich bin din.
Des sol(s)t du gewis sin.
Du bist beslozzen
In minem herzen.
Verlorn ist das slüzzelin.
Du muost immer drinne sin!

Modern German

Du bist mein! Ich bin dein.
Dessen sollst Du gewiss sein.
Du bist fest
In meinem Herzen.
Verloren ist das Schlüsselein.
Musst wohl für immer drinnen sein!


You are mine, I am yours
Of that you may be sure
Deep within my heart
You're safely locked away
But I have lost the key
And there you'll ever stay

da:Minnesang de:Geschichte des deutschen Minnesangs


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