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Intangible cultural heritage

Traditions, knowledge, craftsmanship techniques  
Photo: © UNESCO/James Muriuki

The "Schleuniger" Dance in Abersee
Performing arts in Salzburg, Upper Austria, inscribed 2014

The Schleuniger – old manuscripts also refer to it as the "Schleiniger" – is a form of music and dance found exclusively in the Salzkammergut region. A special local variant of the Schleuniger can be found around the Wolfgangsee, which is to say: in the communities of Abersee, Strobl, St. Wolfgang and St. Gilgen. With a duration of ten to twelve minutes, this so-called Aberseer Schleuniger is a very long and complex dance.

The Schleuniger is probably Salzburg’s oldest known form of dancing and dance music. It is played, sung, and dance as a circle and chain dance at weddings as well as at marksman’s club and dancing events. Alongside the stamping steps and leaps performed by the dancers, the distinctive rhythmic element of the Schleuniger consists above all in the group’s hand-clapping (Paschen) during the dance’s middle section. Depending on the wedding guests and lead dancers, the Schleuniger can proceed in various manners—but its basic structures (jumps into the centre, chain-form, singing and clapping) are always kept.

These days, the music is usually played on the diatonic button accordion that can be joined by various accompanying instruments. But the traditional formation for playing this music consists of two violins and a Bassettl (a small bass violin) or an ensemble of Seitlpfeifen (keyless transverse flutes) specific to this region. This dance is first mentioned as the Aberseer Schleuniger in a 1933 essay that describes in a way that more or less corresponds to present-day practice. The name Schleuniger (from schleunig, which means “speedy”) refers to the music’s fast tempo. Another name for this form of dances “Pfannhauserisch”, which refers to the brew kettle workers (Pfannhauser) from the local salt mines who, during the winter months when there was less work to be done, but also perform this dance outside of Salzkammergut as a way of supplementing their incomes.



[Translate to EN:] Aberseer Schleuniger
[Translate to EN:] © Clever Contents

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