AskDefine | Define lied

Dictionary Definition

lied n : a German art song of the 19th century for voice and piano [also: lieder (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Lied



  • /'laɪd/


  1. past tense of lie (to say false thing)


Past tense of lie (to say false things)


  1. past participle of lie (to say false thing)


Past participle of lie (to say false things)


  1. An art song, sung in German and accompanied on the piano




  1. song

Extensive Definition

Lied (plural Lieder), (; plural [ˈliːdɐ]) is a German word, meaning literally "song"; among English speakers, however, the word is used primarily as a term for European romantic music songs, also known as art songs. More accurately, the term perhaps is best used to describe specifically songs set to a German poem of reasonably high literary aspirations, most notably during the nineteenth century, beginning with Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf. Typically, Lieder are arranged for a single singer and piano. Sometimes Lieder are gathered in a Liederkreis or "song cycle" — a series of songs (generally three or more) tied by a single narrative or theme. The composers Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann are most closely associated with this genre of romantic music.


For German speakers the term Lied has a long history ranging from 12th century troubadour songs (Minnesang) via folk songs (Volkslieder) and church hymns (Kirchenlieder) to 20th-century workers songs (Arbeiterlieder) or protest songs (Kabarettlieder, Protestlieder).
In Germany, the great age of song came in the 19th century. German and Austrian composers had written music for voice with keyboard before this time, but it was with the flowering of German literature in the Classical and Romantic eras that composers found high inspiration in poetry that sparked the genre known as the Lied. The beginnings of this tradition are seen in the songs of Mozart and Beethoven, but it is with Schubert that a new balance is found between words and music, a new absorption into the music of the sense of the words. Schubert wrote over 600 songs, some of them in sequences or song cycles that relate a story — adventure of the soul rather than the body. The tradition was continued by Schumann, Brahms, and Hugo Wolf, and on into the 20th century by Strauss and Mahler. The body of song created in the Lied tradition, like that of the Italian madrigal three centuries before, represents one of the richest products of human sensibility.

Other national traditions

The Lied tradition is closely linked with the German language. But there are parallels elsewhere, noticeably in France, with the melodies of such composers as Berlioz, Fauré, Debussy and Francis Poulenc, and in Russia, with the songs of Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov in particular. England too had a flowering of song in the 20th century represented by Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. The Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko (1819 - 1872) composed 278 songs. 276 were compiled in 12 booklets called The Home Songbook (Śpiewnik Domowy). The songs were set to poems by the most famous Polish poets of that time, such as Adam Mickiewicz.


Hallmark, Rufus, ed. German Lieder in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Schirmer, 1996. Parsons, James, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Lied. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
lied in Catalan: Lied
lied in Danish: Lied
lied in German: Kunstlied
lied in Spanish: Lied
lied in Estonian: Lied
lied in French: Lied
lied in Galician: Lied
lied in Korean: 가곡
lied in Italian: Lied
lied in Hebrew: ליד
lied in Luxembourgish: Lied
lied in Macedonian: Лид
lied in Japanese: 歌曲
lied in Portuguese: Lied
lied in Slovenian: Samospev
lied in Finnish: Lied
lied in Swedish: Lied
lied in Chinese: 藝術歌曲

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Brautlied, Christmas carol, Kunstlied, Liebeslied, Volkslied, alba, anthem, aria, art song, aubade, ballad, ballade, ballata, barcarole, blues, blues song, boat song, bridal hymn, brindisi, calypso, canso, canticle, canzone, canzonet, canzonetta, carol, cavatina, chanson, chant, chantey, croon, croon song, descant, dirge, ditty, drinking song, epithalamium, folk song, hymeneal, hymn, lay, lilt, love song, love-lilt, matin, minstrel song, minstrelsy, national anthem, prothalamium, serena, serenade, serenata, song, theme song, torch song, war song, wedding song
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