Definition and background:
One of a guild of German musicians of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The Meistersingers were usually of the professional class, and his musical status was strictly controled by the rules of the guild. There is no clear explanation of the source of the Meistersingers, although it is reasonable to say that they probably arose from the wandering troubadour tradition of earlier centuries. The Meistersingers also saw themselves as heirs to the aristocratic Minnesinger tradition that was declining as the Meistersingers arose. Many Meistersinger song texts survive, but only a very few melodies have been preserved.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary