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Music is a huge part of life in Germany, with many German composers, bands and artists creating a new wave of movements over the centuries. With many music stylings and innovations being created through German musicians, we’ve put together a list of this strong heritage that you may find useful when you move to Germany. Music is a cultural heritage in Germany and this can also be seen at their popular annual event Oktoberfest. Many people are very passionate about their musical roots in the country, and knowing about the evolution of music in Germany can be a great talking point in your new home.


Classical music in Germany is generally defined by the three B’s: Beethoven, Bach and Brahms (with Mozart being Austrian). German classical music has enjoyed a range of several hundred years starting in the 16th century. It was these German composers that put the country on the map when it came to music. Johann Sebastian Bach is generally considered to be one of the best composers of all time, and heavily influenced the Baroque genre. Handel, Telemann and Pachelbel are other notable German composers that greatly influenced this genre. Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most famous names in the genre, and throughout musical history with his nine symphonies being considered as his greatest works. Johannes Brahms on the other hand endeavoured to live up to Beethoven, and utilised perfection, counterpoint and tradition when it came to his music.

Cabaret & Swing

Through the first and second world wars, music was drastically impacted by the political uncertainty in the country. German music saw itself transform moving away from classical music and bringing in fun. A notable name in German cabaret music is Marlene Dietrich, who rose to fame in the film The Blue Angel. Swing was a similar movement that many German teenagers began to adopt, and although it was frowned upon by the Nazi Party which made it rare in the country, many people looked to American musicians as a form of counter-culture.


Schlager is a form of German folk music which features lyrical light hearted themes, with pop rock and ballad elements intertwined throughout. This form of music became exceptionally popular in the country in the 1960s and 1970s, although it has been around since the early 20th century. Some notable names in the genre include Rex Gildo and Heino.

New Wave Pop Music

Pop music began to take over the world very quickly and in Germany, Schlager was a main part of that. However, German artists began to take over the English-speaking world with a genre known as New Wave, in which all musical styles and influences were similar, but the German lyrics were what made the genre innovative. This pop music began to become heavily synthesised, which opened the doors to electronic and techno music.

Hip Hop

The New Wave and Electronic scene led to the rise of hip hop in the country, with techno artists such as DJ Koze collaborating with hip hop groups such as Fischmob. Although hip hop was popular in New York City in 1970s, it took a few decades to reach Germany and the rest of Europe.

Rock Music

Germany is home to the world’s biggest rock festival known as Rock am Ring and Rock im Park held simultaneously in two different parts of Germany. Rock music is a movement from electronic and industrial music, and one of the biggest German names to come from the genre that have made their name across the world is Rammstein. This band, despite singing mainly in German have played at some other large festivals around the world such as Download Festival at Donnington Park in the UK. The band’s genre is known as Neue Deutsche Harte, which is a subgenre of rock music translated to New German Hardness, and they are still exceptionally popular today having headlined Download Festival this year.

For more information on the culture and things to do in Germany around the area that you will be living our orientation tour can give you everything you need. Contact a member of our local team today.


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