Hammerschmiedgesellen (1*) Hammersmith – German

*1. 1st Generation Dances. As explained on the page “what is a Real Folk Dance“, a 1st Generation dance (1stG, a phrase coined by Don Buskirk) stems from a 1st Existence (a phrase coined by Joann Kealiinohomoku) situation.  It was originally performed in a “society in which dancing constitutes part of the living tradition” [Kealiinohomoku] (not on a stage) by people who learned the dance informally – by mimicking, or from friends or relatives (not from a teacher in a classroom situation). By my definition, no matter how “authentic” the steps or music are, their particular combination must arise from a 1st Existence situation to be called a 1st Generation dance.  If later on that same dance is seen on a stage performed by people from another culture (2nd Existence), the dance is still 1stG. Some 1stG dances are no longer performed in 1st Existence situations, even in their native land.  Nevertheless they’re treasured in their home as part of their culture’s heritage, and are performed on stage by local dance troupes (2nd Existence).   I think of them as museum pieces, but they’re still 1stG dances.

Die lustigen Hammerschmiedsgsölln, the melody, is likely Austrian

This site says: The melody appeared around 1850 as a Viennese song “A Damferl im Kopf” (in Vienna around 1840 similarly as “Zwa harbere Göden”). As a Schnadahüpfl tune in Franz Kobell’s “Oberbayrische Liedern”, 2nd edition, Munich 1871, and in Franz Friedrich Kohl’s “Echten Tiroler Liedern” I, Vienna 1899; as a Vogtland Rundâ melody in 1876 by Hermann Dunger. Also known as the Altaussee dance (Styrian waltz) “I lass ma koa Straß nit baun” and as the Erzgebirge Vugelbärbaamlied “Kan schinnern Baam gipts”. It then goes on to list 6 different sets of lyrics, including the set to the song below.

Styria (red) in Austria (yellow)
Volkslied aus der Steiermark                                      Folk song from Styria

Mir san ja die lustigen Hammaschmiedsgsölln,         I mean the funny Hammaschmiedsgsölln,
|: Hammaschmiedsgsölln, 😐                                        |: Hammaschmiedsgsölln, 😐
Kömma da bleib'n, kömma furt gehn,                        Come on stay, come on go
Kömma toan, was ma wölln,                                      Come on, what do you want?
Toan, was ma wölln, wölln.                                        Toan, what ma want, want.

Source: https://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/Lieder/mirsanja.html  Translation: Google

The Dance in German-speaking lands

There has been some controversy as to whether Der Hammerschmiedgesellen originated in Germany. Other candidates include Austria and Holland. The article below, Google translated from the German-language site dancilla notes a dance by that name published in Stuttgart in 1880, thirty years after the first published appearance of the melody in Vienna. Whatever the origin, Hammerschmiedgesellen is considered by all a dance of the German-speaking world.

Also known as Gossip Waltz, The Hammersmith, Die Hammerschmiedg’söll’n, Hammersmith journeyman, Alt-Ausseer, Zimmermannsschlag. The origin is obviously the carpenter’s gossip, a custom of the builders.

Stephen Messner writes: Fritz Frank got to know this dance in Sweden. It is probably a modification of the dance “Die Hammerschmiedgselln”, which was widespread in circles of the youth movement and was recorded in 1930 by Kurt Wager, Stuttgart. In the “Hammerschmiedgselln” the clapping is performed by four boys, after which they form a circle and dance with hopping steps in a clockwise direction. After another round of clapping, hopping steps follow, clockwise, but in a mill version. Only after the third clap does everyone get a dancer to do the round waltz dance. In the collection “Swabian Folk Dances” by H.R. August, published around 1880 in Zumsteeg near Stuttgart, issue VII, page 8, “Die Hammerschmiedgselln” can also be found. The accompanying song is included in many folk song collections. According to Kurt Wager, the clapping of the carpenters as carpenter’s gossip (see there) is said to have been carried out while sitting. However, this would not be a folk dance, but a guild custom. The carpenter’s gossip is an expression of particular joy, in which two or more journeymen sitting or standing in a row, with the support of singing, smack their thighs in time and exactly in the specified order, support their hips and clap their hands against each other. It takes place on a wide variety of occasions (topping-out ceremony, journeyman meetings, etc.). There is also clapping in difficult formations, such as three, four and seven clapping. There is also the Pfannenflicker on the big occasions, a round of gossip, where people stand in a circle and gossip with both neighbors. The opinion that this was not a folk dance is outdated. If guild customs weren’t folk dances, sword dances shouldn’t be folk dances either. Franz Fuchs also knows this carpenter’s custom from his job, it was described in a book about the loud singing of carpenter’s songs, called “Schallern”. Unfortunately, the book is nowhere to be found, but the essential content has now appeared in the web archive under Der Schallerschacht lyrics. In Styria, the presumed homeland of the melody, the text for this melody, among other things, “Ja mir san die merry Hammerschmiedgselln” or Waldhansl has been handed down. The Saxon forest officer August Max Schreyer (1845 – 1922, biography) composed the song vom Vuglbeerbaam (rowan tree) to this melody around 1887 in the Erzgebirge dialect. It is one of the best-known songs in the “new” federal states, but it is also very well known in the “old” states, but it seems to have remained completely unknown in Austria. When the Waldhansl was auditioned at a performance by an Austrian dance group in Münster in 1990 and the audience suddenly sang along to the “Vogelbeerbaum”, there were astonishing reactions.

Note there are several variations to the circling sections of the dance, especially the third, where some maintain the circle, while others break into couple waltzing.

Caption: De Hammerschmiedgesellen, http://www.dancilla.com, German Folk Dance 2010. https://www.youtube.com/wa, 2010tch?v=D3Zeqi5tFeg
Hammersmith starts at 3:23. Munich, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haXcTSoMpwA
Caption: Hessian folk dance tournament 2005. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8hc70sJm8A
Filmed in Liedolsheim, 2013. The city of Dettenheim consists of the former municipalities Liedolsheim and Rußheim (Russheim). Dettenheim is a municipality in the district of Karlsruhe in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrYqoJ0nJ2o
Entertainment for a birthday party. Caption: Of course, the guild dance “Hammerschmiedgselln” couldn’t be missing on Gisela’s 70th birthday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f70mF-TSotE
Caption: “Dance course of the Bad Ischl Guard 11/2/2007” (Austria). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfRyuG2BAqY

The Dance outside German lands

There are many communities of German ex-pats outside German-speaking countries.

Mexico, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUmR8TW00jg
Fundação Cultural de São Bento do Sul, Brazil, 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Jahl0DWZP8
Caption: Oktoberfest in Blumenau-SC (Brazil) 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjm66gfr8kU
Edelweiss Dancers, performing in Leavenworth, WA, USA. 2011. Thanks to Rosemarie Keough for identifying the location. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqAoHkAIerM

Dance among recreational dancers

Dallas, TX, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqP_m23xwAo
Israel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOcrGXHiMDY
Sunne, Värmland, Sweden https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNvFu0JMMX4
Sunne, Värmland, Sweden

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