Munich Greeter

Bavarian music – Not only traditional oompah-music

When tourists come to Germany they often have stereotypes in their heads. One of the main stereotypes is, that in Germany oompah-music is played everywhere. Let the Munich greeters tell you about music-stereotypes, oompah-music and more.

German brass music
First, let us explain the oompah-myth. If tourists think of Germany, often one specific sterotype comes in their mind. Dancing men, slapping their shoes in traditional Lederhosen.
But… this sort of traditional dance, called “Schuhplattler” (lit. shoe-slapper [dance]) is only known in southern Bavaria and parts of Austria. So it is a traditional cultural dance of the alps region. You won’t find any dancers like this north of Bavaria or in the rest of Germany. Ok and now the music… oompah music is also more a bavarian tradition. Don’t get me wrong… brass-music was common everywhere in Europe and the world in former times. From Peru to the USA to Germany to India. But oompah-music in this context means the traditional bavarian songs, played by brass-bands.
There are several songs, that are very common and often played and many native bavarians can sing or at least hum along with them, just like the
Bayerischer Defiliermarsch (bavarian parade march)
This was originally an military march, created in 1850 for the royal bavarian army. Until today this song became so popular, that many people think, this march is the official Hymn of bavaria – it isn’t.
Mia san die lustigen Holzhackerbuam (We are the funny/happy woodchopper boys)
A traditional song/dance which is sometimes performed with a specific Schuhplattler. Between the shoe-slapping the dancers chop a trunk along with the rhytm.
The “Landler”
are traditional folk dances, which can be played with brass bands. Landler are not only part of the bavarian culture, but also known in the traditional music of Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia. There are many different Landler.
Zwiefacher (lit. double/twofold)
A traditional dance where a couple can dance in circles. There are thousands of different Zwiefacher melodies.

All those songs are very traditional and they are played only on tradtional festivals like Oktoberfest, Starkbierfest (strong-beer-festival) and city-festivals.
They are not played regularly in radios (of course there are a few broadcasting stations that do ;-)) and in the streets or restaurants.

Bavarian Music nowadays
Traditional music seemed to be dead (except on festivals). But since the late 2000s more and more young bavarian bands trying to mix traditional oompah-music with modern electronic, rock or hip-hop sounds. There is a lively music scene and these bands getting more and more fans. And these bands are also played in the radio. Here are some bands who mix traditional music with modern sounds:

– La Brass Banda
As the name says, it is a brass combo who started in 2007 and making the new mixture of folk brass and rhythm popular. Especially with their song “Autobahn” (motorway) they made it to the charts. The song is about a (bavarian) man. His girlfriend cheated on him so he sits in his car and drives south over the alps to Lake Garda in Italy.

– Blumentopf
A rather well known bavarian Hip-Hop band who played around with bavarian brass music in the song “Fenster zum Berg”

– Moop Mama
A band from Munich which mixes brass sounds with rap

– Die Cuba Boarischen
As the name says, this band mixes latin music with bavarian dialect. And it sounds like they are performing in spanish, but it actually is bavarian dialect… at least one stanza.

– Kellerkommando
If you want to hear how brass and rock fits together, check them out

– Bürgermeista
Mixes raggae sounds with bavarian dialect. Funny.

– Voxxclub
A band trying to do some traditional music, mixed with modern text and a good rhytm. Their song “Rock mi” became very popular because of a flashmob performed in a Munich shopping mall and in a Munich beergarden. In 2013 this song was often played at Oktoberfest.

And last but not least:
G.Rag & Die Landlergschwister
They became very popular when they performed the song “Model” (original by Kraftwerk) in the Hofbräuhaus Munich in traditional bavarian melodies.
Sometimes they perform together with “Schlachthofbronx” two Munich DJ’s who mix world-music with electronic music such as dubstep.


  1. Dear Jacin,
    I wrote you an email. I hope you will find a workshop/class and learn a tradtitional Bavarian dance.

  2. Thank you so much for this insightful and educational post, Andy!

    I’m just curious – is there a place in Munich where one can take a workshop or class in Schuhplattler Dancing or Zwiefacher? How is the tradition usually passed on – is it traditionally through families?

    P.S. I’m asking because I’d be interested in taking a class but I couldn’t find anything on Google :/

  3. Ab jetzt darf man sich auch über das hier freuen.