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Origins/ADD: Die Gedanken Sind Frei

DigiTrad:
DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Die Gedanken Sind Frei


John in Brisbane 12 Oct 99 - 12:35 AM
Wolfgang 05 Nov 03 - 04:03 AM
Joe Offer 05 Nov 03 - 04:32 AM
Wolfgang 05 Nov 03 - 04:59 AM
Joan from Wigan 05 Nov 03 - 05:00 AM
Susanne (skw) 05 Nov 03 - 06:21 PM
Reiver 2 05 Nov 03 - 07:08 PM
Joe Offer 05 Nov 03 - 07:46 PM
Reiver 2 05 Nov 03 - 08:39 PM
Joe Offer 06 Nov 03 - 03:44 AM
Reiver 2 06 Nov 03 - 01:29 PM
Reiver 2 06 Nov 03 - 01:32 PM
Reiver 2 06 Nov 03 - 01:41 PM
Susanne (skw) 06 Nov 03 - 07:49 PM
Fred Miller 06 Nov 03 - 09:08 PM
Joe Offer 07 Nov 03 - 11:44 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 03 - 03:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 03 - 04:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 03 - 04:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 03 - 09:36 PM
paddymac 08 Nov 03 - 08:54 AM
Susanne (skw) 08 Nov 03 - 08:40 PM
toadfrog 08 Nov 03 - 08:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Nov 03 - 08:53 PM
Susanne (skw) 10 Nov 03 - 05:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Nov 03 - 07:50 PM
Wolfgang 11 Nov 03 - 06:18 AM
Susanne (skw) 11 Nov 03 - 06:25 PM
Wilfried Schaum 12 Nov 03 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,MJ 10 Aug 04 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,jtm 22 Aug 04 - 07:48 PM
Mrrzy 23 Aug 04 - 12:02 AM
GUEST 23 Aug 04 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,John E. Pritchard 24 Oct 05 - 07:16 PM
Joe Offer 06 Nov 07 - 04:20 AM
Megan L 06 Nov 07 - 04:35 AM
Megan L 06 Nov 07 - 04:47 AM
Wilfried Schaum 06 Nov 07 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,M Jacobs 01 Jan 13 - 01:43 AM
open mike 01 Jan 13 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 02 Jan 13 - 03:57 AM
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Subject: Tune Add: DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI (from Pete Seeger
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Oct 99 - 12:35 AM

First heard this from the singing of Pete Seeger.

ABC format:

X:1
T:DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
M:3/4
Q:1/4=100
K:C
GGc2c2|ecG4|G2F2D2|G2E2C2|G2c2c2|ecG4|G2F2D2|
G2E2C2|c2B2d2|-dBc2e2|c2B2d2|-dBc2e2|c2A2A2|
cAG4|Geedc2|B2c13/4||


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 04:03 AM

The German verses to this song in the DT are full of typos. Here is a version (hopefully) without any typo left.

Wolfgang

DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI

1. Die Gedanken sind frei,
Wer kann sie erraten,
Sie fliehen vorbei,
Wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen,
Kein Jäger erschießen
Mit Pulver und Blei.
Die Gedanken sind frei!

2. Ich denke was ich will
Und was mich beglücket,
Doch alles in der Still',
Und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch, mein Begehren
Kann niemand verwehren,
Es bleibet dabei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

3. Und sperrt man mich ein
In finsteren Kerker,
Ich spotte der Pein
Und menschlicher Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken
Zerreißen die Schranken
Und Mauern entzwei,
Die Gedanken sind frei!

4. Drum will ich auf immer
Den Sorgen entsagen
Und will dich auch nimmer
Mit Willen verklagen.
Man kann ja im Herzen
Stets lachen und scherzen
Und denken dabei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 04:32 AM

Hi, Wolfgang - I'll harvest it right away. I have to take out the umlauts because they goof up the conversion for one edition of the Digital Tradition to another.
Here's the corrected version I'd propose:


    DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
    -from the Bundshuh Rebellion March 17, 1525

    1. Die Gedanken sind frei,
    Wer kann sie erraten,
    Sie fliehen vorbei,
    Wie naechtliche Schatten.
    Kein Mensch kann sie wissen,
    Kein Jaeger erschiessen
    Mit Pulver und Blei.
    Die Gedanken sind frei!

    Die Gendanken sind frei: my thoughts freely flower
    Die Gedanken sind frei: my thoughts give me power
    No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them
    No man can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

    2. Ich denke was ich will
    Und was mich begluecket,
    Doch alles in der Still',
    Und wie es sich schicket.
    Mein Wunsch, mein Begehren
    Kann niemand verwehren,
    Es bleibet dabei:
    Die Gedanken sind frei!

    I think as I please, and this gives me pleasure
    My conscience decrees: this Right I must treasure!
    My thoughts will not cater to Duke nor Dictator
    No man can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

    3. Und sperrt man mich ein
    In finsteren Kerker,
    Ich spotte der Pein
    Und menschlicher Werke.
    Denn meine Gedanken
    Zerreissen die Schranken
    Und Mauern entzwei,
    Die Gedanken sind frei!

    And if tyrants take me and throw me in prison
    My thoughts will burst free, like blossoms in season!
    Foundations will crumble, the prison will tumble,
    And free men will cry: Die Gedanken sind frei!

    4. Drum will ich auf immer
    Den Sorgen entsagen
    Und will dich auch nimmer
    Mit Willen verklagen.
    Man kann ja im Herzen
    Stets lachen und scherzen
    Und denken dabei:
    Die Gedanken sind frei!

    (no verse translation for the last stanza)

    Translation by Arthur Kevess copyright 1950 People's Songs Inc.
    recorded by the Limeliters "Live - In Person"
    The English translation is from Volume 1, No. 6, of Sing Out! Magazine, reprinted in the blue Collected Reprints booklet.
    @German @freedom @rebel
    filename[ GEDANKEN
    WH XX

The MIDI is from John in Brisbane. It's not exactly the way I sing it, but it's close.


Click to play


Let me try translating the last verse without a dictionary:
    That is why I renounce my worry, and also why I never fight against your will and determination. One can still laugh and joke in the heart, mindful that the thoughts remain free!
Wolfgang, I think I need some help getting the meaning right. I know all the words, but putting them together is tough.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 04:59 AM

Fine, and also the combination of threads is a good work. I'll have a look for the author of the German lyrics but it might be trad.

Wolfgang


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI/THOUGHTS ARE FREE
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 05:00 AM

Here's a version with the fourth verse translated, from this website: Poems

            Die Gedanken Sind Frei (Our Thoughts Are Free)

Die Gedanken sind frei
My thoughts freely flower,
Die Gedanken sind frei
My thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them,
No hunter can trap them,
No man can deny:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

I think as I please
And this gives me pleasure,
My conscience decrees,
This right I must treasure;
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator,
No man can deny--
Die Gedanken sind frei!

And if tyrants take me
And throw me in prison
My thoughts will burst free,
Like blossoms in season.
Foundations will crumble,
The structure will tumble,
And free men will cry:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

Neither trouble or pain
Will ever touch me again.
No good comes of fretting,
My hope's in forgetting.
Within myself still
I can think as I will,
But I laugh, do not cry:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

       -- Traditional

(Old German song, translation by Arthur Kevess and Gerda Lerner)


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 06:21 PM

There are four lines in Wolfgang's version that I learned differently:

V 3, l 3-4 I know as "Das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke" - all those actions are in vain

V 4, l 3-4 "Und will mich auch nimmer mit Grillen mehr plagen" - and will never again worry myself with strange thoughts

I thought I knew a fifth verse, but can't find it just now. If it comes back to me I'll come back to this thread ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Reiver 2
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 07:08 PM

Wolfgang, thanks for posting the German translation of this GREAT song. (It should be dedicated to "Big Brother" John Ashcroft!) I think I learned it back in the '50s from the singing of Pete Seeger. I've heard the German words and remember even singing them, but somehow misplaced them and can find only English verses in my old hand-printed notebook. Wait!! I found it!! I have a dozen or more of the little song books published by Lynn Rohrbough of the old Cooperative Recreation Service of Delaware, Ohio, through their Cooperative Song Service. My favorite is called "Work and Sing: An International Songbook", and it has 4 verses of Die Gedanken Sind Frei" in both German and English. In 1951, '53 and '54 I participated in summer "Work Camps" operated by the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) on Indian Reservations here in the U.S. and THAT was where I first learned it! The work camps usually had several foreign students and they would teach us songs in their languages. That was where I started collecting those song books.

Joe, your 3 verses in English are identical to mine. However, I also have 4 additional verses in English in my notebook. Is anyone familiar with these? Are they original or a recent addition? Is there a translation of these into German?

  1. My thoughts they are free as night time's quick shadows.
    Their flight none can see, there form not one soul knows.
    They fear not the arrow, no hunter can harrow,
    I'll sing it merrily; my thoughts they are free!

  2. I think as I will, what e'er gives me pleasure.
    So quiet, so still, my thoughts none can measure.
    My thoughts you can't tether, not all men together,
    I'll sing it thankfully; my thoughts they are free!

  3. What then if my foes my body imprison?
    Don't let them suppose how short is their vision.
    Walls are but a token, by thoughts quickly broken,
    I'll sing defiantly; my thoughts they are free!

  4. So I will disdain all worry and fretting.
    No thoughts entertain of sorrow's begetting.
    At heart I will smile, then, be merry the while, then,
    And sing it joyously; my thoughts they are free!


Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 07:46 PM

Hi, Reiver - the 1950 Kevess translation is a bit more poetic than the verses you posted. Your verses translate the very same German verses, in the same order I posted them (I added numbers to your verses to make that clear). Your translation sticks much closer to the literal meaning of the German words.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Reiver 2
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 08:39 PM

Hi Joe, I was getting confused between the various verses that have been posted. Yours and those from Joan of Wigan. The four that I posted earlier today are the ones in "Work and Sing." I have three other verses. There is some similarity and perhaps some overlap and/or interchanging of lines. But, at any rate, I seem to have seven verses in all. Here are the others I have in addition to those I posted earlier:

  1. Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts freely flower.
    Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts give me power.
    No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them,
    No man can deny, die gedanken sind frei!

  2. I think as I please and this gives me pleasure.
    My conscience decrees, this right I must treasure.
    My thought will not cater to Duke or dictator,
    No man can deny, die gedanken sind frei!

  3. Then should tyrants take me and throw me in prison,
    My thoughts will burst free, like blossoms in season.
    Foundations will crumble and structures will tumble,
    And free men will cry, die gedanken sind frei!


***********
There is some similarity and parts of some lines are the same in both sets of English words, but they are mostly different. This set, I believe, are the same as those of Joan of Wigan, but lacking her 4th verse. And, as I read them they're the same as the first three translations you posted to Wolfgang's German words (also lacking the 4th verse). The 4 verses I posted earlier seem to me to be different. Are you saying that the two sets of words I have are actually the same, but that one set is a better, or more accurate translation? Sorry if I'm just being dense abour this, but i know only a few words of German.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 03:44 AM

Hi, Reiver - the lyrics you posted right above are the Kevess translation that appeared in Sing Out! Magazine in 1950, and in The Collected Reprints from Sing Out!, and in Sing Out's Rise Up Singing songbook. Note that these publications end both the first and second verses with:
    Es bleibet dabei:
    Die Gedanken sind frei!
I'd guess this is a mistake, and that the lyrics Wolfgang posted are the correct ones. for the first verse, Wolfgang, posted: Why would the first two verses end the same, and all the others end differently? In the first verse, Wolfgang has:
    Kein Mensch kann sie wissen,
    Kein Jäger erschießen
    Mit Pulver und Blei.
    Die Gedanken sind frei!
    No person can know them (thoughts), no hunter can shoot them with powder and lead.


Songs of Work and Protest (Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, 1960) has the same Kevess translation of the first three verses, and the same German verses as the Sing Out! books. (I'm guessing the fourth verse, as posted by Joan from Wigan, was translated by Gerda Lerner). Here are the notes from Fowke/Glazer:
    This old German folk song is said to date back more than four hundred years. It apparently sprang from the Peasants' War of 1524-26, when the oppressed peasants revolted against increased exploitation by the nobles. Unfortunately, the peasants were routed by the princes of the Swabian League, and their defeat prolonged serfdom in Germany for nearly three centuries, stunting democratic development. However, this fine song continued to be sung whenever Germans made a new attempt to gain freedom. Schiller put it in one of his plays, and the German student movement took it up. It was widely sung in the schools of pre-Hitler Germany and German immigrants brought it with them when they came to this continent.
Reiver, your Work and Sing songbook is still in print, available from World Around Songs. The translator of "Die Gedanken Sind Frei" is identified only as "KF." Yes, it's a translation of the same (questionable) German text Kevess used - you have to stretch a bit to see it, but the two English versions are translations of the very same German text, in the very same order of verses. Both translations are quite good.

Kevess, by the way, did a very nice translation of the Yiddish song, "Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl" (I Had a Little Overcoat) and Finjan, and the definitive translation of Dona Dona.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Reiver 2
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 01:29 PM

Joe, thanks for the clarification. I was beginning to suspect that what I have is two somewhat different translations of the same German words. I can't make up my mind which version I like better... I really like them both. I guess the solution is to just sing the German words, but then English-speaking audiences miss the full impact of the song. The melody from the link you posted is exactly the way I learned it.

The version in "Work and Sing" is the one I learned first, and at the Work Camps we usually sang it in German. In the book there is a short note,"German, from Silesia, Alsace, and Switzerland, about 1500." Does anyone have any information regarding the origin of the song? Was it inspired by a historical event of some kind? I wonder who "K.F.", who translated that version, is?

The words in German in "Work and Sing" have only a few minor (?)differences from those posted by Wolfgang:

Verse 1. "Es bleibet dabei" instead of "Mit Pulver und blei."
Verse 2. "Mein Wunsch und Begehren" instead of "Mein Wunsch, mein Begehren."
Verse 3. "Das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke" instead of "Ich spotte der pein und menschlicher Werke."
Verse 4. "Und will mich auch nimmer" instead of "Und will dich auch nimmer" and "mit Grillen mehr plagen" instead of "mit Willen verklagen."

How do these differences affect the translation, or are some differences just errors? Just curious about this. It's one of my all-time favorite (non Irish or Scottish) songs. :-)

Reiver 2

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Reiver 2
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 01:32 PM

Just realized that the major differences are the same as those you posted, Susanne! Did we learn the song from the same source?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Reiver 2
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 01:41 PM

Joe, my apologies again -- you already answered most of my questions. I knew I'd read something about the historical background of the song, and looked through the entire thread several times (thinking I'd seen it early in the thread) before I went back and read your last post again. Also you note why Wolfgang's version in Verse 1 is probably correct. I'm just not paying close enough attention to what I read. I only feel I have limited time to spend at the Mudcat so always tend to be in too big of a hurry. My bad!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 07:49 PM

Reiver, I can't remember where I learnt it from. Probably from a school songbook. The booklet I thought I got it from does not list it, my favourite "Small Fat Songbook" gives a modernised version, but in "Songs of the Working Class Movement" I find the info that the song first appeared on broadsheets between 1780 and 1800 and spread quickly.

Because its implicit demand was freedom of thought (not least religious thought at a time when in Germany your religion was decided for you by your ruling princeling) and it was linked to the ideals of the French Revolution it was banned for many years before the 1848 revolution. It seems that the fifth verse I vaguely remember, starting "Ich liebe den Wein, mein Mädchen vor allem" (I love the wine and above all my sweetheart), was one of those substituted for the politically unacceptable ones. The book also mentions that this was one of the songs keeping political prisoners going in German concentration camps between 1933 and 1945.

There is no mention of a link to the German Peasants' Revolt of the 16th century, and though I've heard this before I'm not sure there is a provable connection.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Fred Miller
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 09:08 PM

Thanks for this. I know enough of the words to see that the first set of rhymes don't follow the meaning of flying past like nocturnal shadows. I've never quite found a way of doing this song that I'm pleased with. I can't pronounce naechtliche (or spell it off the top of my head) and can't settle on a form of it I like as much as a literal translation. I learned the es bleibet dabei (in spite of everything?) line and never heard of the powder and lead.

The first three verses seem to me the strong ones, others I've seen seem additive.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 11:44 AM

I see that Schiller put it in a play - which play? Can we find the text he used?
Apparently, from what Susanne says, the use of "Es bleibet dabei" is not only in U.S. publications.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 03:56 PM

The German website, (http:lieder.aus-germanien.de/gedanken.htm) Die Gedanken provides another verse, as the third verse:

Ich liebe den Wein, mein Mädchen vor allen
Sie tut mir allein am besten gefallen
Ich bin nicht alleine bei meinen Glas Weine
mein Mädchen dabei: die Gedanken sind frei.

es bleibt dabei is used in the last line of the second verse (it is accepted according to my Langenscheidt).

The excellent site, (http://ingeb.org/Lieder/diegedan.html) Die Gedanken gives the usual four verses, and a translation into French, "Elles sont libres les pensées.
The melody, according to them was composed about 1815- Andreas, Franz, Günter & Thomas, and the text and melody published in "Lieder der Brienzer Mädchen in Bern between 1810 and 1820; a similar printing in Hoffmann-Richters "Schlesischen Volksliedern, Leipzig, 1842.
They say that the text appeared in a south German broadside between 1780 and 1800.
The idea, but not the poem, appeared in various 13-14 c. writings; a Walther von der Vogelweide sang (ca. 1170-1230) "Sind doch Gedanken frei;" also the eastern Austrian Minnesänger Dietmar von Aist (12 c.) sang "Die Gedanken, die sind ledig frei." (Freely translated from notes at ingeb.org).


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 04:01 PM

Both of the websites mentioned above provide midis.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 04:06 PM

Many German websites, none mention the "16th c. peasant revolt." It appears on American websites and may be fakelore, since the broadside dates from the 18th c.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 09:36 PM

John in Brisbane first brought the tune to Mudcat in 1999 from the singing of Pete Seeger. Here are Pete Seeger's lyrics (can't vouch for accuracy):

DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI

Die Gedanken sind Frei
My thoughts freely flower
Die Gedanken sind Frei
My thoughts give me power
No scholar can map them
No hunter can trap them
No man can deny
Die Gedanken sind Frei.

I think as I please
And this gives me pleasure
My conscience decrees
This right I must treasure.
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator.
No man can deny
Die Gedanken sind Frei

Tyrants can take me
And throw me in prison
My thoughts will burst forth
Like blossoms in season
Foundations may crumble
And structures may tumble
But free men shall cry
Die Gedanken sind Frei.

Taken from the Univ. California at Irvine website, personal posting.
Die Gedanken

Here is Leonard Cohen's free translation:

THOUGHTS ARE FREE!

Thoughts are free!
Who can guess them?
They fly along like nightly treasures;
No man can know them
No hunter can shoot them
With powder and lead.
Thoughts are free!

I think about what I want
And what makes me happy
But everything quietly, and just how it comes
To my wish and desire
Nobody can oppose,
It stays this way:
Thoughts are free!

And if they lock me in a dark dungeon
That is something that can be forgiven
Because my thoughts
Tear up the bars and walls.
Thoughts are free!

I love wine, my girl most of all
Only me she pleases best
I am not alone
With my glass of wine
My girl is with me:
Thoughts are free!

That's why I will never worry anymore
And I will never tease myself with whims anymore
Because in one's heart
One can keep laughing and joking
While thinking
Thoughts are free!

Same website as above. Accuracy?

DIE GEDANKEN SIND PATENTIERT (parody)

Die Gedanken sind patentiert.
Wenn zwei Riesen sich treffen,
wird kreuzli zehensiert,
die Kleinen zu äffen.
Es kann nur absahnen und jeden abmahnen,
wer selbst nicht programmiert.
Die gedanken sind patentiert.

Written when the European Union allowed patents on software. Not familiar with the story.
www.elng.de/projekte/patent-party/gedanken-eins-zwe.pdf


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: paddymac
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 08:54 AM

Talk about coincidence. Our band did an a capella version of "peat bog soldiers" on a St Patrick's day show a few years ago. The house went to a dead silence while we sang, then exploded with applause. We've had some changes in personell since then, and are now in the process of working it up again. The coincidence is that we're going to pair it with "Die Gedanken sind frei." We're working them up a capella, but will probably add some soft instrumental work later on. This thread came alopng at the perfect time. T'anks, Ya'll!


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 08:40 PM

Anyone interested in the 70s parody, when fear of secret service snooping was rife in Germany? (Only it isn't called the Secret Service in Germany, but 'Protectors of the Constitution' ...)


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: toadfrog
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 08:52 PM

The Boss's songbook also has a good parody, in the spirit of the Old Left. We used to sing in the 60's:

Though your thoughts be unfurled, and ditto your chatter,
You can't fool the world with mind over matter.
But foes dare not trifle with thoughts brought by rifle!
They won't dare deny, Die Gedanken sind frei!

Now thinking is fine, but shooting is better!
So let's all toe the line, and all fire together!
The road to salvation is mass liquidation,
And when they all die, Die Gedanken sind frei!


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 08:53 PM

Suzanne, it belongs here. I am sure that there are other parodies as well that would compliment what is here.
The German university sites all seem to have versions, but I have only found the original text at those I looked at.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 05:24 PM

DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
(Parody by Olaf Cless / tune trad.)

Die Gedanken sind frei, wir tun sie erraten
Wir fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten
Kein Mensch kann uns wissen, wir sind sehr gerissen
Wir machen kein Geschrei - die Gedanken sind frei

Die Gesinnung ist frei - wir tun sie erfassen
Mit Spioniererei heran an die Massen
Wir riechen stets Lunte, auch du bist schon Kunde
In unserer Kartei - die Gedanken sind frei

Und sperrst du dich ein in deine vier Wände
Unser Schnüfflerlatein ist da nicht am Ende
Du kannst dich verschanzen, doch unsere Wanzen
Die hören allerlei - die Gedanken sind frei

Diene Meinung ist frei, wir sind stets auf Posten
Ja sprich nur ohne Scheu, das spart uns viel Kosten
Es grüßt dich die Innung 'Erkenntnisgewinnung'
Ja glaub uns, ei ei ei: Deine Meinung ist frei...
...lich in unsrer Kartei

Written in 1975


Rough and ready translation:

Your thoughts are your own, we will surely guess them
We always fly by like dark nightly shadows
No man can us know, for we are too crafty
We always keep quiet - your thoughts are your own

Your conviction's your own, and yet we record it
We spy and we spy and we spy on the masses
We soon smell a rat, and you too are listed
Deep in our files - your conviction's your own

Should you choose to hide within your four walls
You don't put a stop to our snoopery arts
Barricade yourself in, but we'll send you our bugs
They pick up a lot - your thoughts they are free

Your opinions are free, we're always on duty
Speak out as you like and save us some money
Greetings from the guild of the gainers of knowledge
Do believe us, my laddie - your opinions are free..
ly stored in our files


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 07:50 PM

Protectors of Security = Dept. of Homeland Security? Nahhh!


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 06:18 AM

My summary of what W. Steinitz (Deutsche Volkslieder demokratischen Charakters aus sechs Jahrhunderten) writes about this song (with some additions from E. Klusen, Deutsche Lieder):

The line 'Die Gedanken sind frei' (or similar formulations) is very old and goes back to at least the 13th century. This particular song, however, has first been found on broadsides 'between 1780 and 1800' in Southern Germany. The lyrics vary, of course. The tune is said to be an Austrian folktune.
The song has probably been forbidden in the Vormaerz-time (the decades before the 1848 revolution) and the verse 'Ich liebe den Wein' is a later addition from that time, probably to evade the censorship. In many version, this is the first verse, and since most German folksongs are know by the first line, any censor who scans the first lines will be duped by 'I love the wine and the girls' and let the song pass.

Other verses from several sources cited in Steinitz are:

Beleget den Fuß mit Banden und Ketten,
dass von Verdruss er sich nicht kann retten,
so wirken die Sinnen, die dennoch durchdringen.
Es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei.

Wird gleich dem Gesicht das Sehen versaget,
so werd ich doch nicht von Sorgen geplaget.
Ich kann ja gedenken, was soll ich mich kränken?
Es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei.

I have no factual basis for the following speculation: C.F.D. Schubart was a poet, writer and editor and political prisoner in Hohenasperg prison from 1777 to 1787, the first 377 days in complete isolation. I fancy the thought he was the author of the song but didn't want it to be known for obvious reasons. The timing fits the speculation as well as the style and the location of the first occurence of the broadsides.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 06:25 PM

Q, I translated that literally. In Germany the secret service (or the one concerned with home affairs) is called Verfassungsschutz - constitution protector. Neat, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 03:36 AM

Q's verse is in our students' songbook, if I remember correctly (unfortunately not at hand). Correct spelling:
Ich liebe den Wein, mein Mädchen vor allen
Sie tut mir allein am besten gefallen.
Ich bin nicht alleine bei meinen Glas Weine,
mein Mädchen dabei: die Gedanken sind frei.
    Corrections made in Q's text, as suggested.
    -Joe offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: GUEST,MJ
Date: 10 Aug 04 - 12:46 AM

Hi folks, I stumbled across this old thread while doing a google search on my grandfather, Lynn Rohrbough, who published songbooks through his company, Cooperative Recreation Service. The initials, "K.F.", stood for my grandmother, Katherine Ferris. She translated many of the german lyrics in their books. I still have some old copies of song books and some old 7" records with many of the songs from their books, which were recorded in the home built studio in their barn, which also served as his printing shop. I'd be happy to send tapes or a CD of all of them to anyone who's interested. Contact me at: mjoyner20@rcn.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: GUEST,jtm
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 07:48 PM

This song is usually included in recordings of Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Mahler? Was it part of that collection of songs, put together by Brentano I think, or was just added to songs that Mahler included in his collection? There is an interesting story in Letters to Freya, a collections of letters Helmuth von Moltke sent to his wife about the anti-Hitler resistance movement. While he was being held in an SS prison after the failed bomb plot to kill Hitler, Moltke heard one of his friends walking thru the halls singing this song. It always seemed ironic that a patriotic/nationalistic music composed by a patriotic Jewish artist, whose music was banned by the Nazis, should end up as a rallying cry in an SS prison.
John M


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 12:02 AM

Way cool, guest MJ. Furthermore, this song has been taken up by various groups interested in the rights of the nonreligious like Freedom From Religion and Atheists Alliance as an anthem in today's world. I had no idea it was this old till I found this thread today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 09:00 PM

thanks mrrzy...rereading my note i think it may not be clear. there is a song in des knaben wunderhorn by mahler that includes some of the lyrics of this song. the song in wunderhorn is called lied des verfolgten im turme.i was curious if mahler just added other words, song by a woman sometimes, or if his version came directly out the collection of poems by brentano and armin?..the linear notes for my cd says the song had a swiss origin, with no more details

johnm


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Subject: RE: Lyr. corr.: Die Gedanken sind frei
From: GUEST,John E. Pritchard
Date: 24 Oct 05 - 07:16 PM

The song "Die Gedanken Sind Frei" was used in the TV-movie "Escape of the Bird Men" (1971), about American and British POWs in Germany who helped a scientist escape Nazi Germany by building a glider so that they can fly to Switzerland. It starred Doug McClure as the USAAF major who was insisting in building the glider, and Chuck Connors (The Rifleman, Branded) as Colonel Crawford, USAF, the senior POW officer. The POWs sang "Die Gedanken Sind Frei" just to annoy the German guards. Even Colonel Crawford sang along. I saw that film on TV, and having served as a soldier in the US Army (1967-69)as a PFC,
I really felt moved by the way the POWs sang that song in a military maznner. The song was used as both an opening and closing theme song.


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Subject: ADD Version: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 04:20 AM

The Unitarin hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, has a different translation. First verse is from Kevess; and verses 2 and 3 are translated by Elizebeth Bennett, ©: 1955 by the American Ethical Union:

Die Gedanken Sint Frei

Die Gedanken Sind Frei, my thoughts freely flower.
Die Gedanken Sind Frei, my thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them,
no one can deny: Die Gedanken Sind Frei!

My thoughts are as free as wind o'er the ocean,
and no one can see their form or their motion,
No hunter can find them, no trap ever bind them:
my lips may be still, but I think what I will.

A glimmering fire in the darkness will brighten;
my soaring desire all troubles can lighten.
Though prison enfold me, its walls cannot hold me:
no captive I'll be, for my spirit is free.


I dunno. I think I like the 100% Kevess translation better. There were mixed opinions of each translation after I sang the song at the Getaway this weekend.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 04:35 AM

Some of the dates given fit with what i was taught as a young child by an old Lutheran gentleman. He told me it was written at the time of the reformation. Luther lived between 1483 and 1546.


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 04:47 AM

By the way just found a version by The Brazillian Girls on you tube definately not for the faint hearted.


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 10:42 AM

Megan - the entire phrasing is not reformatory, but certainly 19th century. The song was recorded in Hassia and Silesia; origins about 1815.


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Subject: RE: Origins/ADD: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: GUEST,M Jacobs
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:43 AM

I learned one of the translations in 4th grade choir. I didn't know the second verse, but the first verse penetrated me. The words truly sunk into me, and I still quote the song when I feel frustrated by opinions that don't gel with mine. I find it interesting that a girl of 9 could be so impacted by the meaning of the song that it would continue to be emblazened on her mind at 65.


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Subject: RE: Origins/ADD: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: open mike
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 10:59 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbwQXVcbkU0 here is pete seeger singing his rendition of this in english.


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Subject: RE: Origins/ADD: Die Gedanken Sind Frei
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 03:57 AM

From "Kein Schöner Land in dieser Zeit"- Zupfgeigenhansel (Thomas Friz & Erich Schmeckenbecher), Pläne Verlag 1984.

A text variant of Olaf Cless' 1976 rewrite:

Die Gedanken sind frei!
Wir tun sie erraten;
Wir flihen vorbei
wie naechtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann uns wissen,
wir sind sehr gerissen,
wir machen kein Geschrei.
Die Gedanken sind frei!

Die Gedanken sind frei!
Heran an die Massen,
mit Spionierei,
krieg'n wir sie zu fasssen.
Wir riechen stets Lunte,
auch du bist schon Kunde,
in uns'rer Kartei:
Die Gedanken sind frei.

Und sperrst du dich ein
in deine vier Waende
unser Schnuefflerlatein
ist noch lang nicht am Ende.
Du kannst dich verschanzen
doch unsere Wanzen
die hoeren allerlei.
Die Gedanken sind frei.

Die Gedanken sind frei!
Wir sind stets auf Posten.
Wer spricht oder schreibt,
erspart uns viel Kosten.
Es gruesst dich die Innung
Erkenntnisgewinnung
Die Gedanken sind frei-
lich in uns'rer Kartei.


I have no idea as to whether this version is the original or whether the Zupfis made the changes.


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