I am used to expression markings being written in Italian. For example this list is mostly Italian (and English). I recently learned about a high school level music exam where they have to learn the German expressions. Apart from Brahms, which of the great composers wrote their expression markings in German?


1 Answer 1


Pretty much every German speaking composer from Beethoven onward wrote at least some markings in German. For example, Beethoven's song An die ferne Geliebte: "ziemlich langsam und mit Ausdruck." There are probably earlier examples, but I don't have time to do a thorough search just now.

  • I mainly remember the composers after Beethoven; Schumann was particularly fond of German in his music (e.g. every starting tempo in his Kreisleriana - e.g. the 7th movement's "Sehr rasch").
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 15 at 13:56
  • @Dekkadeci true enough, and it seems like one finds German expression markings more readily in Lieder. There is surely a good deal of interesting study to be done on the question. Why is it so much easier to find French and English markings in the baroque than German? Why, how, and when did this change?
    – phoog
    Jan 15 at 14:46
  • 1
    I think one thing explaining English markings in Baroque music rather than German is that the Baroque composer Handel was a (naturalized) Englishman.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 15 at 14:48

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