display | more...

Definition

The barebone definition of Ländler, taken from the web, hardly suggests the rollicking energy and joy that inspired a number of classical composers to write in this style (Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven, to mention three).
A country dance or air in a rustic style, usually in 3/4 or 3/8 time. Originally, the ländler was a slow country dance with hopping and stomping, but it developed into a more elegant ballroom dance with a faster tempo, becoming the predecessor of the waltz.1

Description

The word itself is derived from "Land" ( = the country, as opposed to the city), suggesting a kind of folk dance. Each area of German-speaking Europe seems to claim the Ländler as its own. However, the consensus seems to be that it originated in Austria, but don't tell that to a Bavarian. Wherever the Ländler is found, you are likely to find that it is gesungen, gejodelt, geklatscht oder gestampft2. (= sung, yodeled, clapped or stomped). The dancing is often in the form of figures (like square dancing) or as a reel (=Drehtanz > drehen = to turn, spin).

The music is provided by what we as kids used to call an om-pah-pah band, taken from the sound of the tuba keeping the 3/4 beat. In many Ländler a counter rhythm is provided by slapping the shoe, thigh, arm or other part of the body. The melody is often carried by the accordion or clarinet.

Tracht3 ( = Costume)

The Trachtenträger (male in costume), to be authentic, must wear Lederhosen (leather shortpants with a bib). Of course he'll be wearing knee socks and a felt hat decorated with a brush or feather. For the women bright skirts (= Dirdl or Drindl) and apron with a Mieder ( = bodice with fishbone stays) or a vest (= Spensergewand) are essential.

Footnotes

1http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/textl/Landler.html
2http://www.aeiou.at/aeiou.encyclop.l/l143333.htm
3http://www.cvsasoccer.org/gasc/sgtevh.html

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.