"Muss i denn"
Song
LanguageSwabian German
Published1827
GenreFolk song
Songwriter(s)Friedrich Silcher

"Muss i denn" (German for "must I, then") is a German folk-style song in the Swabian German dialect that has passed into the tradition. The present form dates back to 1827, when it was written and made public by Friedrich Silcher.[1]

The melody and some verses of this song became widely known through Elvis Presley's adaptation "Wooden Heart" in 1960, as well as Joe Dowell's version in 1961, becoming one of the most widely known German songs ever.[2]

History

"Muss i denn" is about a man – originally a journeyman embarking to his traditional "Wanderjahr" journey – who has to leave the woman he loves and vows to remain faithful until he is back to marry her. It first appeared on page sixteen of Friedrich Silcher's collection of popular songs, Volkslieder, gesammelt und für vier Männerstimmen gesetzt, Opus 8, Nr. 12 (folk songs, collected and set for four male voices). The origin of the song, however, is obscure and the original text was not recorded. Silcher mentioned to Ludwig Uhland that the melody was "an old melody from Württemberg".[1]

The song became famous beginning in the mid-19th century. It soon was especially well-liked among the German military as well as among excursion groups and thus was early on considered a patriotic song. It also became popular among German merchant seamen as a capstan shanty, and has been played as a naval quick march since the days of the Imperial German Navy. An early English translation titled "Must I, then? Must I, then? From the town must I, then?" was made by Henry William Dulcken in 1856.[3]

Some "Muss i denn" versions were widely popularized in the 20th century; those interpreted by German-American actress Marlene Dietrich[4] and by Greek singer Nana Mouskouri deserve mention.[5]

Lyrics

Muss i denn, muss i denn
zum Städtele hinaus, Städtele hinaus,
Und du, mein Schatz, bleibst hier?
Wenn i komm', wenn i komm',
wenn i wiedrum komm', wiedrum komm',
Kehr' i ein, mein Schatz, bei dir.
Kann i glei net allweil bei dir sein,
Han i doch mein Freud' an dir!
Wenn i komm', wenn i komm',
wenn i wiedrum komm', wiedrum komm',
Kehr' i ein, mein Schatz, bei dir.

Wie du weinst, wie du weinst,
Dass i wandere muss, wandere muss,
Wie wenn d' Lieb' jetzt wär' vorbei!
Sind au drauss, sind au drauss
Der Mädele viel, Mädele viel,
Lieber Schatz, i bleib dir treu.
Denk du net, wenn i 'ne Andre seh',
No sei mein' Lieb' vorbei;
Sind au drauss, sind au drauss
Der Mädele viel, Mädele viel,
Lieber Schatz, i bleib dir treu.

Über's Jahr, über's Jahr,
Wenn me Träubele schneid't, Träubele schneid't,
Stell' i hier mi wiedrum ein;
Bin i dann, bin i dann
Dein Schätzele noch, Schätzele noch,
So soll die Hochzeit sein.
Über's Jahr, do ist mein' Zeit vorbei,
Da g'hör' i mein und dein;
Bin i dann, bin i dann
Dein Schätzele noch, Schätzele noch,
So soll die Hochzeit sein.

Must I, then, must I, then
from the village must I then, village must I then,
And thou, my dear, stay here?
When I’m back, when I’m back,
When I finally return, finally return,
I’ll come straight to thee, I swear.
Though I can’t be always by thy side,
My joy is always in thee.
When I’m back, when I’m back,
When I finally return, finally return
I shall come home straight to thee.

How thou criest! How thou criest!
‘Cause I have to go away, have to go away,
As though our love were now no more.
There are out there, out there,
so many girls, ao many girls,
Beloved treasure, I will be true.
Even if I saw another lass,
do not think my love is through:
Let out there, let out there,
let out there be many girls, there be many girls,
Dearest love, I will be true.

In a year, in a year,
When the grapes are good and ripe, grapes are good and ripe,
Then here is where I shall be.
If by then, if by then,
if thy darling still I am, darling still I am
Then married we shall be.
In a year my term is o'er and done,
and then mine and thine I'll be;
If by then, if by then,
if thy darling still I am, darling still I am
Then married we shall be.

Melody

The melody as given in Silcher's publication is as follows:[2]


\new Staff
<<
  \new Voice \relative c' {
    \autoBeamOff
    \language "deutsch"
    \tempo "Moderato"
    \set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
    \tempo 4 = 60
    \key a \major
    \time 2/4 \partial 8
      a'16 h cis8 cis16 e d8 d16 [( fis )] e8 e16 d cis4
      e8\p e16 d cis8 cis16\mf [( e )] d8 d h e cis4 r8
      a16 h cis8 cis16 e d8 d16 fis e8 e16 [(d)] cis4
      e8\p e16 [(d)] cis8 cis16\mf e d8 d h e cis4 r8
    \repeat volta 2 {
      a16 cis h8. cis16 d8 h cis8. d16 e8
      e16 e fis8 fis\< a\! gis16\> [( fis )]\! e4 r8
      a,16 cis e8 e16 fis e8 e16 a
      e8 e16 [( d )] cis4 e8\p e16 [( d )] cis8 cis16\mf e
      d8 d h e cis4 r8
    }
  }

  \addlyrics {
    Muss i denn, muss i denn
    zum Stä -- dte -- le naus,
    Stä -- dte -- le naus,
    und du, mein Schatz, bleibst hier?
    \set ignoreMelismata = ##t
    Wenn i komm, wenn i komm,
    wenn i wie -- drum komm, _ wie -- drum komm, _
    kehr i ein mein Schatz, bei dir.
    Kann i glei' net all -- weil bei dir seyn,
    han i doch mein Freud' an _ dir.
    Wenn i komm, wenn i komm,
    wenn i wie -- drum _ komm, wie -- drum _ komm,
    kehr i ein mein Schatz bei dir.
  }
>>

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ a b August Bopp, Friedrich Silcher, 1916
  2. ^ a b "Muss i denn, muss i denn zum Städtele naus" by Tobias Widmaier (2010)] in: Populäre und traditionelle Lieder. Historisch-kritisches Liederlexikon des Deutschen Volksliedarchivs
  3. ^ Works by Henry William Dulcken at Project Gutenberg
  4. ^ "Muss i denn" version by Marlene Dietrich on YouTube
  5. ^ Nana Mouskouri: "Muss i denn" on YouTube