Learn the German Lyrics for "Edelweiss"

Discover How Popular Songs Are Translated into German

Mary Martin and children in a publicity photo for the Sound of Music
Toni Frissell/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Are you a fan of the musical "The Sound of Music"? Then you probably have the words to "Edelweiss" memorized.  But do you know the song in English or in German? It's time to learn how to sing it in both languages.

"Edelweiss" is more than just a sweet song from a classic musical. It is also a perfect and simple example of how songs are translated into different languages. Though it was written in English for an American film, German lyrics were also written for it (by whom, we don't know).

Yet, it may surprise you to realize that the translation is not exact, in fact, it's not very close except in the general sentiment. Before we get into the translation, let's get a little background on the song itself.

Wait, "Edelweiss" Isn't German or Austrian?

The first thing you need to know about the song "Edelweiss" is that it is not an Austrian nor a German song. The only thing "German" about "Edelweiss" is its title and the Alpine flower itself.

The song was written and composed by two Americans: Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (words). Hammerstein did have a German heritage, but the song is strictly American.

A Bit of Trivia: Hammerstein's grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein I, was born in Sceczin, Pommerania in 1848, the eldest son of a German-speaking, Jewish family.

In the film version, Captain von Trapp (played by Christopher Plummer) sings an emotional version of "Edelweiss." This resounding and memorable rendition may have contributed to the false idea that it is the Austrian national anthem.

The second thing that you need to know about "Edelweiss" is that it is virtually unknown in Austria, as is the classic film, "The Sound of Music." Although Salzburg makes a good living by exploiting the film, the Austrian city's tourist customers for "The Sound of Music" tours include very few Austrians or Germans.

Edelweiß der Liedtext ("Edelweiss" Lyrics)

Music by Richard Rogers
English Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein
Deutsch: Unknown
Musical: "The Sound of Music"

"Edelweiss" is a very simple song no matter which language you choose to sing it in. It is a great way to practice your German with a tune that you probably already know and both the German and English lyrics are included below.

Notice how each language uses the song's rhythm and have the same syllables per line. Both sets of lyrics have a romantic feel, not only in the meaning of the words but in how they sound as well.

German LyricsEnglish LyricsDirect Translation
Edelweiß, Edelweiß,Edelweiss, Edelweiss,Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Du grüßt mich jeden Morgen,Every morning you greet meYou greet me every morning,
Sehe ich dich,Small and white,I see you,
Freue ich mich,clean and brightI am looking,
Und vergess' meine Sorgen.You look happy to meet me.And I forget my worries.
Schmücke das Heimatland,Blossom of snowDecorate the home country,
Schön und weiß,may you bloom and grow,Beautiful and white,
Blühest wie die Sterne.Bloom and grow forever.Flourishing like the stars.
Edelweiß, Edelweiß,Edelweiss, Edelweis,Edelweiss, Edelweiss,
Ach, ich hab dich so gerne.Bless my homeland forever.Oh, I love you so much.

NOTE: The German and English versions of the "Edelweiss" song lyrics above are provided for educational use only. No infringement of copyright is implied or intended.

A Perfect Example of How Songs Are Translated

When translating songs, how they sound and flow with the music is more important than an exact translation of the words. That is why the direct translation from German to English is significantly different from Hammerstein's English lyrics.

We do not know who wrote the German lyrics for "Edelweiss" yet they did a good job of retaining the meaning of Hammerstein's song while translating it into a completely different language. It is interesting to compare all three versions side by side so we can see how these musical translations work.