Georg Forster's song books, printed in five parts between 1536 and 1556, and reprinted several times thereafter, represent remarkable witnesses of the late blossoming of medieval songs far into the early modern age. The analysis of the songs collected by Forster indicates how much the tradition of the »popular folk song« was alive far into the sixteenth-century, but it was exhausted by the 1560s. Certainly, individual song books printed afterwards confirm that some popular songs or song types continued to enjoy popularity. Nevertheless, the decisive break in this tradition seems to have occurred with the fifth part of Forster's song books. In 1565 he managed to publish the fourth edition of his second part, but since then the market interest disappeared. Forster had noticed himself how quickly the change of an entire epoch had occurred since he repeatedly appealed to his audience not to forget the old songs. But all his efforts were nothing but the proverbial »swan's song«. This allows us to identify more precisely than before the absolute closure of the Middle Ages with the final appearance of Forster's songbooks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies