Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen

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Insbruckh ich muß dich lassen, Discantus partbook, probably Wittenberg ca. 1555,
Stadtbibliothek Ulm, Schermarsche Bibliothek Misc. 236a, Nr. 42, fol. 15v

"Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen" ("Innsbruck, I Must Leave You") is a Renaissance song written in German. It was first published as a choral movement by the Franco-Flemish composer Heinrich Isaac (1450–1517); the melody was probably written by him. The lyricist is unknown; an authorship of Emperor Maximilian I, as was previously assumed, seems highly unlikely.


There has been doubt whether the melody was in fact written by Heinrich Isaac or copied from earlier tunes. The melody was later used in a Lutheran chorale, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen".

The song exists in two different four-part settings by Heinrich Isaac: a Diskantlied with the melody in the soprano part, and a Tenorlied with the cantus firmus in the tenor part.

About this sound "Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen" 
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The hymn "In allen meinen Taten" by Paul Fleming (1609–1640) was written for the same melody. Johann Sebastian Bach used it in several cantatas, especially in the chorale cantata In allen meinen Taten, BWV 97 (1734).


The song is famously associated with the city of Innsbruck in Tyrol (in modern-day Austria). The lyrics express sorrow at having to leave a post at court, as the singer is forced to abandon his love and to depart to a foreign country. He promises her faithfulness and recommends her to God's protection. Though Heinrich Isaac indeed spent some time in Innsbruck, the text was probably not written by him.

The stanzaic form consists of six iambic trimeters with an unusual A-A-B-C-C-B rhyme scheme.

Original German lyrics

Insbruck, ich muß dich laßen
ich far dohin mein straßen,
in fremde land dohin,
mein freud ist mir genomen,
die ich nit weiß bekomen,
wo ich im elend bin.

Groß leid muß ich jetzt tragen,
das ich allein tu klagen
dem liebsten bulen mein.
ach lieb, nun laß mich armen
im herzen dein erbarmen,
daß ich muß von dannen sein.

Mein trost ob allen weiben,
dein tu ich ewig bleiben,
stet, treu, der eren frum.
nun muß dich Got bewaren,
in aller tugent sparen,
biß daß ich wider kum.

Innsbruck, I must leave you;
I will go my way
to foreign land(s).
My joy has been taken away from me,
that I cannot achieve
where I am in misery.

I must now bear great sorrow
that I can only share
with my dearest.
Oh love, hold poor me
(and) in your heart compassion
that I must part from you.

My consolation: above all other women,
I will forever be yours,
always faithful, in true honor.
And now, may God protect you,
keep you in perfect virtue,
until I shall return.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Karl Goedeke; Friedrich Julius Tittmann, eds. (1867). "Insbruck, ich muß dich laßen". Deutsche Dichter des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts (in German). 1. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus. pp. 66–67. 


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