ⓘ Deutsches Volksliedarchiv. The Deutsche Volksliedarchiv, a research institute for Volkslied in German, was founded in 1914 and was integrated into the Universit ..


ⓘ Deutsches Volksliedarchiv

The Deutsche Volksliedarchiv, a research institute for Volkslied in German, was founded in 1914 and was integrated into the University of Freiburg in 2014, now called Zentrum fur Populare Kultur und Musik. It has extensive collections of traditional and popular songs, maintained and expanded in the new centre, and accessible to the public without restriction. Before 2014, it was independent scientific research institute of the state Baden-Wurttemberg, based in Freiburg im Breisgau.


1. History

The institution was founded in 1914 by the Germanist and folklorist John Meier, aiming to collect and document Volkslieder folk songs and to publish them in a scholarly complete edition. The publishing was successful for ballades between 1935 and 1996.

Meiers enterprise was scientifically advanced at the time, especially the recourse to the then still novel empirical methods active collection activity. It was based on national and folk-pedagogical efforts, to pass cultural heritage to people uprooted by modernity. Meier rejected the contemporary Unterhaltungsmusik entertainment music operetta, Schlager, but also collected "Kunstlied im Volksmund" art song in peoples mouth. During the period of National Socialism and World War II, the Archive continued its activities of collecting, documentation and editing. Ideologically, the national and folk-pedagogical accents already established in 1914 were reinforced, but Meyer avoided racist and antisemitic tones. During the war, there were efforts to integrate the archive into the University of Freiburg, but this step was not taken at the time.

After its founders death, the institute was taken over in 1953 by the state of Baden-Wurttemberg as a research institution, with a library dedicated to the collections. The legal basis was a donation contract: Meier had left his scientific library and collections to the state, while the institutes building – Meiers former residence – was purchased by the state and left to the archive until 2011.

During the 1960s, the scientific spectrum was expanded, in terms of both focus and research. In particular, the political songs and the singer-songwriter scene Liedermacher were included. A renewed and comprehensive modernization was undertaken in the 2000s, especially by including contemporary musical culture and by paying attention to media issues. At the same time, the Archive released new publications: the two online encyclopaedias Historisch-kritisches Liederlexikon from 2005, and Songlexikon from 2011. At the same time, the series Populare Kultur und Musik Popular Culture and Music, edited by Michael Fischer and Nils Grosch, was founded to complement and extend the older series Volksliedstudien Folk Song Studies.

In 2010, the Deutsches Musicalarchiv German Musical Archive was founded, focused on the musical genre, as a legally dependent unit of the Archive, to provide a research basis, and supported by a circle of friends and sponsors. An additional Internationales Popmusikarchiv International Pop Music Archive is planned. In 2011, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft awarded the institute the title of a "herausragende Forschungsbibliothek" outstanding research library, and provided financial support for the establishment of the pop music archive.

In 2012, the research institute moved into new premises with an area of 1.000 square metres previously only 400 square metres were available in the former Meiers residential building and new equipment in RosastraSe in Freiburg. Recently, these rooms have been supplemented by a separate external storage building.

Until 2014, the Archive was formally an "authority of the country subordinate to the Ministry of Science, Research and Art". In March 2014, the Ministry of Science decided to integrate the Archive into the University of Freiburg, named Zentrum fur Populare Kultur und Musik, as a research centre for popular culture and music in past and presence.


2. Collections, documentation and library

The archive has extensive historical and current collections on popular song and popular music, in particular about 250.000 song documents, the core of which was collected in a collection campaign carried out in all German-speaking countries from 1912 to 1930. 3.000 documents alone date from the First World War period. The centre also houses a number of special collections, for example on Soldatenlied, on industrial folk music and on individual song media (song pamphlets, handwritten and printed songbooks. Meanwhile there is an extensive sound carrier collection, about 20.000 singles with popular music as well as a unique music library of the 19th century with about 10.000 units. The collections were listed Cultural heritage in 2013.


3. Literature

  • Michael Fischer: 100 Jahre Deutsches Volksliedarchiv – Grundung des Zentrums fur Populare Kultur und Musik. In Lied und Populare Kultur / Song and Popular Culture. Jahrbuch des Zentrums fur Populare Kultur und Musik 59 2014, pp. 9–18. Available online at Digitalisat
  • Michael Fischer: Flugschrift und Volkslied. Zur Sammlungs- und Bestandsgeschichte im Deutschen Volksliedarchiv. In Albrecht Classen, Michael Fischer, Nils Grosch ed.: Kultur- und kommunikationshistorischer Wandel des Liedes im 16. Jahrhundert. Munster 2012, pp. 57–71.
  • Otto Holzapfel. Das Deutsche Volksliedarchiv Freiburg i. Br. Lang, Bern 1989.
  • Michael Fischer: Rekonstruktion und Dekonstruktion. Die Edition "Deutsche Volkslieder mit ihren Melodien" 1935–1996 und die Online-Publikation "Populare und traditionelle Lieder. Historisch-kritisches Liederlexikon" 2005.|ff. in Lied und populare Kultur / Song and Popular Culture. Jahrbuch des Deutschen Volksliedarchivs, 54 2009, pp. 33–61.

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