Discussion:
Lieder vs. Gesaenge
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w***@hotmail.com
2019-09-29 16:56:18 UTC
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What is the real difference between these? If they indicate the same thing, why are there two words for the same thing, seems redundant.
Frank Berger
2019-09-29 18:14:53 UTC
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Post by w***@hotmail.com
What is the real difference between these? If they indicate the same thing, why are there two words for the same thing, seems redundant.
Perhaps you can make sense of this. I couldn't:

https://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/5832981.html
HT
2019-09-29 18:48:40 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by w***@hotmail.com
What is the real difference between these? If they indicate the same thing, why are there two words for the same thing, seems redundant.
https://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/5832981.html
According to the brothers Grimm:

GESANG refers to singing together (GESANG ... wobei ge ursprünglich die bedeutung 'zusammen' hatte, 'stimmendes zusammensingen'...)

LIED refers to performing a sequence of musical tones by voice or on instrument (lute, harp): (LIED ... erweiterte bedeutung erlangt das wort, wenn es eine abgeschlossene musicalische folge von tönen bezeichnet, mögen dieselben gesungen oder durch ein instrument hervorgebracht sein...).

Therefore - probably - Lieder ohne Wörter instead of Gesänge ohne Wörter.

Henk
Johannes Roehl
2019-10-08 17:13:45 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by w***@hotmail.com
What is the real difference between these? If they indicate the same thing, why are there two words for the same thing, seems redundant.
https://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/5832981.html
Interesting; we are certainly accustomed to combining them in different ways, e.g., liebeslieder but not liebesgesang, or sprechgesang but not sprechlied.
If either word can mean song, a couple of respondents at Frank's link are probably onto something in suggesting that of the two, only gesang means singing.
The "Ge"-prefix is usually the marker of a collective noun, e.g. "Gebirge" = range of mountains or mountainous region (with Berg = mountain). So "singing" is pretty close and correct in most cases. It can also denote ways of singing, like in "Sprechgesang" or "Rundgesang" (roundel and the way of singing it)

Not that "song" can in English also have the collective or abstracted meaning as in "Wine, woman and song" (Wein, Weib und Gesang). Lied could never have such a collective or general meaning, it must be a particular song.

The usage of "Gesang" by Mahler and others as synomymous with "Lied", i.e. a particular piece for singing voice(s) is old-fashioned and obsolete. I think it had some connotations with a more lofty kind of song whereas a lied could be a ditty. (It needn't "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" is as lofty as it gets).
s***@hotmail.com
2019-10-08 19:07:23 UTC
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I am not a native German speaker, but I think Gesänge is plural (unlike gesang but like Lieder) and can’t refer to the act of singing.

Soeren
Johannes Roehl
2019-10-09 16:18:44 UTC
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I am not a native German speaker, but I think Gesänge is plural (unlike gesang > but like Lieder) and can’t refer to the act of singing.
I am a native German speaker and you are right that Gesänge is the plural. But this is when Gesang is used basically synomymous with Lied. This is a subsidiary and less common meaning. The usual meaning of "Gesang" is singing or an act of singing, not the piece that is sung. (A "Gesangsverein" is a singing club or society)
I have no clue what kind of difference or distinction the 19th century composers and maybe poets had in mind when they called most pieces Lieder but a few of them Gesänge. I don't think that there is a principled or stylistic difference.
number_six
2019-10-12 21:03:30 UTC
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Post by Johannes Roehl
I am not a native German speaker, but I think Gesänge is plural (unlike gesang > but like Lieder) and can’t refer to the act of singing.
I am a native German speaker and you are right that Gesänge is the plural. But this is when Gesang is used basically synomymous with Lied. This is a subsidiary and less common meaning. The usual meaning of "Gesang" is singing or an act of singing, not the piece that is sung. (A "Gesangsverein" is a singing club or society)
I have no clue what kind of difference or distinction the 19th century composers and maybe poets had in mind when they called most pieces Lieder but a few of them Gesänge. I don't think that there is a principled or stylistic difference.
This thread left me wondering if a better translation of the title of that Stockhausen work would have been Singing of the Youths, not Song of the Youths...Maybe it's a very small distinction.

Music and language are given meaning both in the utterance and in the decoding by a listener...
Andrew Clarke
2019-10-08 19:57:10 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by w***@hotmail.com
What is the real difference between these? If they indicate the same thing, why are there two words for the same thing, seems redundant.
https://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/5832981.html
Interesting; we are certainly accustomed to combining them in different ways, e.g., liebeslieder but not liebesgesang, or sprechgesang but not sprechlied.
If either word can mean song, a couple of respondents at Frank's link are probably onto something in suggesting that of the two, only gesang means singing.
Compare gesang with sanger, as in sangerknaben.
Schubert wrote "Gesänge des Harfners aus "Wilhelm Meister" (op 12) and "Sieben Gesänge aus Walter Scotts "Fräulein am See" (op 52)

Brahms published "Lieder und Gesänge" (op 32) "Fünf Gesänge" (op 104) and "Vier ernste Gesänge".

In 1841 we got the "Das Lied der Deutschen" aka "Deutschlandlied". Later, we got the "Horst Wessel Lied", sadly.

It looks to me as if Schubert and Brahms made some distinction between the two, but that Lied has now become general. The Beatles sang Lieder:

<https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Lieder_der_Beatles>

as did Francoise Hardy:

<https://www.spiegel.de/kultur/musik/chanson-legende-fran-oise-hardy-mit-17-wusste-ich-nicht-woher-babys-kommen-a-706351.html>

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andrew Clarke
2019-10-09 01:32:33 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
It looks to me as if Schubert and Brahms made some distinction between the two, but that Lied has now become general.
I've just discovered the "Hildebrandslied" (ca 800 CE) a fragment of heroic alliterative verse like "Beowulf" or "The Battle of Malden" in Old English. The title was possibly added at a much latter date than when it was written down, and the translator (Leonard Foster) translates it as "The Lay of Hildebrand".

Source: The Penguin Book of German Verse.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Johannes Roehl
2019-10-09 16:24:54 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Andrew Clarke
It looks to me as if Schubert and Brahms made some distinction between the two, but that Lied has now become general.
I've just discovered the "Hildebrandslied" (ca 800 CE) a fragment of heroic alliterative verse like "Beowulf" or "The Battle of Malden" in Old English. The title was possibly added at a much latter date than when it was written down, and the translator (Leonard Foster) translates it as "The Lay of Hildebrand".
Source: The Penguin Book of German Verse.
yes "liet" in the middle ages was an epic poem, the most famous one is the "Nibelungenlied".
Frank Lekens
2019-10-09 07:10:28 UTC
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Post by w***@hotmail.com
What is the real difference between these? If they indicate the same thing, why are there two words for the same thing, seems redundant.
Yes, just like looking into the mirror when the looking glass will do.
--
Frank Lekens

http://fmlekens.home.xs4all.nl/
https://franklekens.blogspot.nl/
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