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Germany

Germany

Geography & Topography

Capital: Berlin

Area: 357,021 km2

Population: 82 million

Language: German

Religion: Catholic

Currency: Euro

 History

Germany, officially titled the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Europe. It has a population of almost 82 million people making it the most populous country in the European Union, which Germany is a founding member of.  The capital city of Germany is Berlin.  Of the people living in Germany 91% are German nationals, however Germany is host to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide, mainly from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The eagle is a protected bird of prey and the black eagle is the national animal. German is the official language of Germany; however minority languages include Danish, Low German, Sorbian, Romany, and Frisian.

 

 

Performing Arts

Music

Up until recently the main styles of music played in Germany were classical, opera, jazz and folk music such as waltz, although today genres such as German hip hop, goth, trance, metal, electronic, pop and rock are also popular. Internationally successful contemporary German bands include Rammstein and Kraftwerk.

 The most recognizable instruments in traditional German music are:

culturalinfusion/soundinfusion-brassBand

An Oompah band in Germany

Brass: In Germany, brass bands play ‘oom-pah’ – a type of music associated with German beer halls. A brass band is a musical group generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Instruments include soprano cornet, cornet, flugelhorn, horns, baritones, tenor and bass trombones, euphoniums, tubas and percussion.

culturalinfusion/soundinfusion-Alphorn

Alphorn, an Alpine musical instrument used in Volkstümliche Musik

 

Alphorn: The alphorn is an Alpine musical instruments used in Volkstümliche Musik, a modern variation on the traditional music of German speaking countries. The alphorn consists of a natural wooden horn with a wooden cup-shaped mouthpiece.

 

Zither: The zither is a string instrument whose strings are the same length as its soundboard. It consists of a flat sound box, usually made from wood, with 30 or 40 strings attached. The zither is placed across the player’s knees or on a table and can be played by strumming or plucking the strings like a guitar.

culturalinfusion/soundinfusion-Zither

A man playing the zither

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance

 

Typical German dance styles are usually performed at folklore events such as Oktoberfest and many more. The Schuhplattler for instance has been popular for over a millennium and with the years gone by it has become a dance mainly performed by men. Indeed, men used to dance the Schuhplattler in order to impress marriageable young ladies.

Even though the dance allegedly didn’t have any rules, it was customarily performed in ¾ time of a Ländler (Bavarian dance) where the performer would carry out various jumps and hip movements according to the music. The dancer would always strike their thighs, knees and soles as well as clapping their hands and stamping with their feet.

 

 

Some interesting facts:

  • Germany is believed to have the largest number of registered zoos and animal parks in the world (over 400).
  • Many of the best classical musicians such as Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, and Schoenberg were German.

German community in Australia:

More information on the German community: