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Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

I'm brand-new here, so I apologize if this has already been discussed, but I've always been curious about that title. It sounds to me like "a small night music", which seems awkward. I'd be more inclined to call it "Ein Bisschen Nachtmusik". But was that "ein klein" form, to refer to a small amount of something, standard in Mozart's time? Did the "ein bisschen" form even exist then? Does anybody know? Thanks!

January 27, 2018



Nachtmusik was a translation of the italian word Serenade (not my translation but Mozarts). Also it should be noted that back then the word Musik was used like nowadays Musikstück is used (so you could say Musik has lost one of its previous meanings in modern german). Bisschen doesnt make sense in this context. It is one thing and not a bit of something. So it should be indeed klein and not bisschen.


OK, that makes sense now. I was wondering if there was an archaic usage in there somewhere, but I wasn't thinking about the noun. Thank you!


Wow, somehow I didn't see this comment earlier. Thanks!


Welcome, someguy! That's an interesting question! I've never thought of that.

Saying "eine kleine Musik" is really a little weird. It would rather be "ein kleines Musikstück", similar to "ein kleines Gedicht". But then the "kleine Nachtmusik" consists of several pieces of music ...

Really interesting. I'll try to find an answer, or perhaps someone else has a good idea.


in english it is titled ‘a little night music’


And in French "une petite musique de nuit", literally the same :) A little piece of music… (un petit morceau de musique).


Right --that's why "ein bisschen" sounds more correct to my American, high-school-German-trained ears.

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