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It is a dance for couples which strongly features hopping and stamping. It was sometimes purely instrumental and sometimes had a vocal part, sometimes featuring yodeling.
When dance halls became popular in Europe in the 19th century, the Ländler was made quicker and more elegant, and the men shed the hobnail boots which they wore to dance it. Along with a number of other folk dances from Germany and Bohemia, it is thought to have contributed to the evolution of the waltz.
A number of classical composers wrote or included Ländler in their music, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner. In several of his symphonies Gustav Mahler replaced the scherzo with a Ländler. The Carinthian folk tune quoted in Alban Berg's Violin Concerto is a Ländler, and another features in Act II of his opera Wozzeck. The "German Dances" of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn also resemble Ländler. Josef Lanner (1801–1843) wrote several Ländlers. It was he--along with Johann Strauss I amd Johann Strauss II--that helped popularize the waltz in Vienna and elsewhere. The Johann Strauss Jr, Waltz, Tales from the Vienna Woods, features a zither playing in the style of a Ländler. Britten's Peter Grimes features a Ländler in the scene where a dance night is occurring in the Hall.
The Broadway musical, later film, The Sound of Music, and the 2013 TV special, The Sound of Music Live!, features a scene where the protagonists Maria and Captain von Trapp dance a Ländler. For many people,The Sound of Music is their introduction to this charming dance. The instrumental tune used in that sequence is a 3/4 time re-arrangement of the more polka-like "The Lonely Goatherd." Compare this one to the "Dornbacher" Landler by Lanner, and one will hear many similarities. The same (The Sound of Music) Ländler is played by 2 or 3 zithers, during the rehearsal for the Salzburg Music Festival as well.
- Austrian folk dances
- Austrian folk dancing
- Music of Austria
- Polska (dance)
- Blatter, Alfred (2007). Revisiting Music Theory: a guide to the practice, p. 28. ISBN 0-415-97440-2.