The German national anthem is called “Das Lied der Deutschen,” which translates to “The Song of the Germans” in English.
It was written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841 and was originally a poem.
The music for the anthem was composed by Joseph Haydn in 1797.
The anthem has three verses, but only the third verse is officially used as the national anthem of Germany.
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“Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!
Let us all strive for that
Brotherly with heart and hand!
Unity and justice and freedom
Are the pledge of fortune –
Bloom in the glow of this happiness,
Bloom, German fatherland!”
Music Information & History
Here are some interesting facts about the German national anthem, “Das Lied der Deutschen”:
- Authorship and History: The lyrics were written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841. He was a German poet and patriot who aimed to inspire a sense of national unity and identity during a time of political fragmentation in Germany.
- Three Verses: The anthem originally consisted of three verses. The first verse celebrates the unity of the German people, the second verse emphasizes the rule of law and the protection of the fatherland, and the third verse extols the virtues of unity, justice, and freedom.
- Connection to Haydn: The music for the anthem’s third verse was composed by Joseph Haydn in 1797. Haydn’s melody was originally used for a popular hymn, and later Fallersleben’s lyrics were set to this melody.
- Controversial Association: The first and second verses of the anthem were associated with different historical contexts and political ideologies, including the Nazi regime. Due to these associations, after World War II, the third verse was adopted as the official national anthem to distance the anthem from its darker historical connotations.
- East and West Germany: During the division of Germany into East and West, each part used the same melody for their respective national anthems but with different lyrics. The East German anthem was known as “Auferstanden aus Ruinen” (Risen from Ruins), and the West German anthem was “Das Lied der Deutschen.”
- Reunification: After the reunification of Germany in 1990, “Das Lied der Deutschen” became the official national anthem for the unified country. The third verse remains the only part used for official occasions.
- Variations: Over the years, the anthem has been performed and arranged in various musical styles, from classical to contemporary, and has been adapted by musicians and performers in different ways.
- Official Protocol: The anthem is played at various official events, such as government ceremonies, international sporting events, and other occasions where national representation is important.
- Patriotic Symbol: “Das Lied der Deutschen” is considered a symbol of German national pride and unity, reflecting the aspirations of the German people for a united and prosperous nation.
- Educational Use: The anthem is often taught in German schools and is a significant part of cultural education, promoting awareness of the country’s history and values.
In a world of ebony and ivory grace,
I sit before the keys in a quiet embrace,
With fingers poised and spirits high,
I play a song that touches the sky.
Upon the piano, a timeless array,
Notes come alive, in colors they sway,
The melody dances, the rhythm takes flight,
A symphony of emotions, woven just right.
I start to play, a familiar tune,
A song that stirs the heart, like a balloon,
Each note a whisper, each chord a sigh,
As I bring to life the anthem’s cry.
The keys beneath my hands, they sing,
A tapestry of sound, like a gentle spring,
With every touch, a story unfolds,
Of unity, freedom, the tale of old.
The melody weaves through each measure,
A bridge between past and present, a treasure,
I pour my soul into every key,
A tribute to a land proud and free.
As the final notes softly ring,
I feel the anthem’s power cling,
To every corner of the room,
A reminder of unity, dispelling gloom.
So here I am, piano and heart as one,
Playing the anthem, till the song is done,
A poet of keys, a musician of lore,
In music’s embrace, forevermore.