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Lied (German – ‘song‘; pronounced “leet”, plural – Lieder.) is the term used in English to describe a distinctive form of German art songs, which were typified by a dramatic solo vocal accompanied by piano. Leider in its earliest form began in the 15th century and was based around a pre-existing vocal line used as cantus firmus. Romantic Lied came into being as an outcome the Romantic movement of the late 18th and earlier 19th century. In Lied, the quality of the verse chosen is very important and is usually taken from the works of great poets. The treatment of the poem may either be verse-repeating or through-composed according to the dramatic demands of the poem. Beethoven is credited with being the creator of Lied, however, it was Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Gretchen am Spinnrade (1814) and Erlknig (1815) that characterized 19th-century Lieder by combining poet, singer, and dramatic lyric content into an integrated whole. Some great names in the history of lieder are Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, and Strauss.

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