German music played a significant role in the country's history, especially in the process of unification. Singers conveyed political messages, sometimes encrypted to protect themselves from repressions. The first singing societies emerged in the early 1800s as a manifestation of the growing spirit of resistance against the French occupation of German territory. They mobilized people to stand for the German idea. Male choirs drew inspiration from Russian soldier choirs. While the first choirs promoted awareness of a Prussian national character, the choirs after 1824 focused on promoting German unity and communal spirit. The singers' movement began with the founding of the male chorus of Stuttgart in 1824, and it spread to the Swabian hinterland before reaching Baden, Bavaria, Hesse, and Thuringia.



Initially, the first singing societies were exclusive clubs for the upper and educated classes. However, the events of the pre-March era and the demand for more civil freedoms within a unified German state opened the societies to the common German man. Since the 1830s, the societies had a folksy and attractive character to promote communal spirit. The first singing festival took place in Stuttgart in 1827, and other notable festivals that carried a political message were the singing festivals in Magdeburg (1828), Nuremberg (1833), and Würzburg (1845). These events emphasized unity, and singers from all corners of the German Confederation came not as strangers, but as singing warriors for the same cause. Popular songs during this time included Heinrich Marschner's "Liedesfreiheit" (freedom of songs) and Moritz Arndt's ambitious political song "Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?" (What is the German Fatherland?).



Klenke, Dietmar. Der singende "deutsche Mann"- Gesangsvereine und Deutsches Nationalbewusstsein von Napoleon bis Hitler. Münster: Waxmann Verlag GmbH, 1998.