Otto Holzapfel: Die Entstehung des alpenländischen Mundartliedes nach 1800 als Spiegelbild einer neuen Wertschätzung des Dialekts
Dialect texts in song fly-sheets (broadside) of the first half of the nineteenth century reveal a new attitude towards dialect, an attitude which is connected with a phase of the "discovery" of the common people in the years after 1800. The texts of the song fly-sheets conform fully to the intellectual trends of the period and present "songs of the mountain pasture" (Almlieder), the stock-in-trade of Tyrolean itinerant pedlars and "authentic" Zillertal (Tirol, Austria) "national singers" from the 1820s onwards. In the period prior to this, we have, inter alia, the dialect plays of popular theatre and the shepherds’ songs of the stage version of the Christmas story. The use of dialect here is intended to amuse or to parody the language of the lower classes. A movement in the opposite direction arose in Switzerland consequent on J. G. Herder’s initiative for a rediscovery of such forms of the "folksong". However, this did not result in the recording of the existing song corpus, but in the poetic stylization of a recreated, or indeed invented, type of song from which the supposedly "authentic" and characteristic song of the mountain pastures known in the 1850s developed. The high regard for dialect even led to the "improvement" of original texts, in order to emphasize their authenticity, and the "reconstruction" of dialect where it had previously been absent (as was still done in the 1930s by Gustav Jungbauer). The supposedly typical "maiden on the mountain pasture" with songs in dialect is an invention of the Biedermeier period.