Österreichisches VolksLiedWerk
Volksmusikland Österreich
Music collectors
In the sway of Romanticism nobles and the gentry began to take an interest in natural phenomena, lifestyles and thus in the music of the rural population. As a consequence, folk music was no longer exclusively practised in a social context, but also deployed for representational and economic purposes. The factor that triggered this was industrialisation. Thanks to it, many people moved from the country to work in towns. They brought their vastly different musical styles with them and they in turn shaped the style of entertainment in the metropolises.
In 1850, the zither was extremely popular as a folk music counterpart to the piano of the gentry. Wind instruments could now be produced cheaply; military bands became popular, and string groups were soon replaced by louder wind ensembles (trumpet, horn, tuba, clarinet). The new inventions of hand-drawn instruments (accordion and harmonica) now made it possible for a single person to offer orchestrated entertainment. In folk music this instrument did not become popular until far later.

Trained researchers and collectors started to write down the notes of songs and dances for the first time. In 1819, the first book of "Austrian Folk Songs" was published by Zischka and Schottky. Supported by contemporary personalities such as Arch Duke Johann von Habsburg-Lothringen (1782-1859), Joseph von Sonnleithner (1766-1835), the secretary of the "Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien" (Society of Friends of Music in Vienna) organised the first targeted, systematic initiative towards collecting and analyzing folk music in the imperial monarchy.