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representatives of medieval sung poetry, the meistergesang, which developed in the second half of the 13th century from later forms of the minnesong. The meistergesang is associated with the rise of the cities and the burghers.
The first song school was founded by Frauenlob (Heinrich von Meissen; c. 1250–1318). The Meistersingers’ poetry became especially popular in southern Germany. The Nuremberg song school, of which Hans Folz and Hans Sachs were members, was particularly famous. Later, the Meistergesang spread to Austria and Bohemia. The creative work of the Meistersingers was regulated by an extensive code, the Tabulatur, which had to be strictly followed. On certain days the Meistersingers held festive poetry competitions in church or in the town hall. From the end of the 16th century their art declined, owing to the general deterioration of the craft guilds.
The Meistersingers’ repertoire was almost exclusively devoted to biblical and religious didactic themes. Secular and love songs entered the repertoire only in the 16th century. The Meistersingers wrote many Fastnachtsspiele (Shrovetide plays). Their song schools were open until the mid- 19th century. In the opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868), Wagner glorified the art of the Meistersingers but ridiculed the philistine pedantry that characterized most of their poetry.
REFERENCESKhrestomatiia po zarubezhnoi literature: Literatura srednikh vekov. Compiled by B. I. Purishev and R. O. Shor. Moscow, 1953.
Sauer, K. Die Meistersinger. Leipzig, 1935.
Schnell, F. Zur Geschichte der Augsburger Meistersingerschule. Augsburg, 1956.
Nagel, B. Meistersang. Stuttgart, 1962.