Music of Austria

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A band performing traditional music at the Imperial Palace, Innsbruck

Vienna has been an important center of musical innovation. 18th- and 19th-century composers were drawn to the city due to the patronage of the Habsburgs, and made Vienna the European capital of classical music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Johann Strauss II, among others, were associated with the city, with Schubert being born in Vienna. During the Baroque period, Slavic and Hungarian folk forms influenced Austrian music. Vienna's status began its rise as a cultural center in the early 16th century, and was focused around instruments including the lute.


Yodeling, a form of singing that involves rapid and repeated changes of register, was developed in the Alps. What Austria called it was "juchizn" .


The most popular form of modern Austrian folk music is Viennese schrammelmusik, which is played with an accordion and a double-necked guitar. Modern performers include Roland Neuwirth, Karl Hodina and Edi Reiser.

Schrammelmusik arose as a mixture of rural Austrian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Moravian and Bavarian immigrants crowded the slums of Vienna. At the time, waltzes and ländlers mixed with the music of the immigrants absorbing sounds from all over central and eastern Europe and the Balkans. The name Schrammelmusik comes from two of the most popular and influential performers in Schrammelmusik's history, brothers Johann and Josef Schrammel. The Schrammels formed a trio called along with gitar guitarist Anton Strohmayer and helped bring the music to the middle- and upper-class Viennese, as well as people from surrounding areas. With the addition of a clarinetist, Georg Danzer, they formed the Schrammel-Quartett, and Schrammelmusik's form settled on a quartet.

Neuwirth is a younger performer who has incorporated foreign influences, most especially the blues, to some criticism from purists.

Rock and Pop music[edit]

Falco was the most popular Austrian solo artist throughout the 1980s. His song "Rock Me Amadeus" reached the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986. His sudden death in 1998 in the Dominican Republic catapulted his music from the 1980s once again into the spotlight.

Although Austria is not exactly the biggest exporter of international rock and pop-bands, there are a few notable musicians and bands.

Opus also made it in the charts worldwide as well. In the last few years, several music groups toured Europe and had commercial success in the international charts. The most prominent being Christina Stürmer, who is successful in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. SheSays, who supported Bryan Adams on his European tour and some other bands like AOR, and Cornerstone, are notable for their recent contributions.

Blackened death metal trio Belphegor currently leads the Austrian metal scene, which also includes Hollenthon, Pungent Stench, Abigor, Disharmonic Orchestra, Visions of Atlantis, Dornenreich, Summoning and Estatic Fear.

Christian Fennesz is an Austrian electronic musician who has attained worldwide prominence. Other electronic musicians who call Austria home include Allerseelen and Der Blutharsch, both active in the Neofolk scene, as are Sturmpercht.

Drummer Thomas Lang was born in Vienna in 1967 and is now world renowned for his technical abilities, having played with artists such as Robert Fripp, Geri Halliwell and Robbie Williams.

There is not a big indie rock scene in Austria. One of the few international touring bands is Killed By 9V Batteries from Vienna.

Yearly the Waves Vienna Music Festival & Conference takes place in October. This festival is a showcase festival for European pop music acts. The Donau Festival takes place in the spring each year and has a focus on experimental rock, avant garde music and other progressive genres of alternative music.

Contemporary classical music[edit]

The Vienna Philharmonic is a world-renowned classical music ensemble and tours throughout the year all over the world. Their New Year's Day concert held in Vienna every year in the Musikverein is one of Europe's most important classical concerts during the year.

Electronic music[edit]

There are some small electronic music groups and artists from Austria, such as A.G.Trio.

Neue Deutsche Härte[edit]

The Neue Deutsche Härte genre is most popular in German-speaking countries, like Austria. Stahlhammer and L'Âme Immortelle are from Austria, and Samsas Traum is now based there.

See also[edit]


"Famous Austrian Composers." Naxos. N.p., 2004. Web.

  • Wagner, Christopher. "The Alpunk Phenomenon". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 7–12. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  • Wagner, Christopher. "Soul Music of Old Vienna". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 13–15. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0

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