The singing gene
Cities have stories of their own. Heidelberg has one that most others don’t: Heidelberg is a city of song. And that story reads very much like a history of vocal music, from the Codex Manesse in the Middle Ages, the publication of »Des Knaben Wunderhorn« (The Youth’s Magic Horn) in the 19th century and the arrival of the »Zupfgeigenhansl« in the early 20th century to the evolution of a new folk-song movement and the emergence of German hip-hop. It all happened here. The city must have a singing gene in its make-up.
The song workshop
When between 1805 and 1808 Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim published their folk-song collection »Des Knaben Wunderhorn« in Heidelberg, the last thing they had in mind was to proceed in accordance with strict philological principles. Instead, they »restored« the »original« form of the songs by lavishing their attention on them as poets. This is a timely reminder that, fundamentally, the entire history of song from the troubadours’ outpourings to the pop song, from the age-old folk songs to the efforts of the singer/songwriters resembles one big workshop. Melodies change through use, folk songs become art-songs, art-songs become folk songs.