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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. 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; however, it is not a traditional but a choreographed form. The instrumental tune used in that sequence is a slowed-down re-arrangement of a song heard earlier in the show, "The Lonely Goatherd". The same 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.