We are playing this music in the band. The others want to know how to say this in German. "Common" is a tricky word. I think the composer was intending to say "common" as opposed to "noble", so he meant "ordinary" or "normal".

I can't think of a way to say this in German which doesn't come across as negative. I tried "für den normalen Mann", or "gemein" or "bürgerlich", but nothing seems to fit.

edit: I checked the title, it is an allusion to vice president Henry A. Wallace proclaiming the dawning of the "Century of the Common Man" in 1942. This is probably not the place to ponder on what he meant, but the more I think the less I see it. Politik-speak. I think I'll go for Normalbürger.

  • 3
    And I thought the hard part would be to translate “man” :)
    – Carsten S
    Mar 18 '15 at 7:23
  • 1
    Fanfare für den Normalbürger?
    – guidot
    Mar 18 '15 at 7:38
  • Ja but Normalbürger sounds so boring. Otto Normalbürger.
    – RedSonja
    Mar 18 '15 at 8:08
  • 6
    One could also consider “des kleinen Mannes”.
    – Carsten S
    Mar 18 '15 at 8:59
  • 2
    Das gemeine Volk oder das grobe Pack --- beide etwas angestaubt ;-)
    – Robert
    Mar 18 '15 at 14:33

In my perception, the usual and probably also the best-fitting translation of common in such a context is einfach.

I am not entirely happy with translating the common man as der einfache Mann though, as man is less gender-specific than Mann. However, you could solve this issue by using Leute instead if the fanfare is sufficiently generic and does not address the common man as an individual.

An alternative to Leute is Mensch (thanks to Karoshi), which has the advantage of being singular. I would prefer Leute over Mensch, however, because in einfache Leute I tend to connect einfach to the status, while in einfacher Mensch, I connect einfach to the individuum, i.e., I would rather think of a uncomplicated person.

Assuming that the translation of fanfare to Fanfare is given (people more wised in music should argue about this), I would thus arrive at:

Fanfare der einfachen Leute

  • Ja, the German for Fanfare is Fanfare, at least in our band it is.
    – RedSonja
    Mar 18 '15 at 9:06
  • 3
    Isn't it possible to use "Mensch" here? Fanfare des einfachen Menschen.
    – persson
    Mar 18 '15 at 9:10
  • 2
    @karoshi: Good suggestion, though I would still prefer Leute if the context does not require a singular word. I have to think a bit about why I prefer this.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 18 '15 at 9:15
  • The better translation for man is Bürger imho. The medieval idea of Bürger as inhabitant of a city has worn out in Germany over the centuries. Everybody in Germany, except for aristocrats and the upper 10000, regards himself as Bürger in a class sense. I'm not quite sure about the anglophone world, but I guess that the word citizen hasn't worn out as much due to the presence and use of man as a very generic term. So, in this generic context, Bürger wouldn't be misinterpreted as rather citizen than man.
    – Toscho
    Mar 18 '15 at 12:42
  • 1
    @karoshi: I added a paragraph on the alternative Mensch.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 18 '15 at 15:19

In German "Fanfare" is annotated with playing a trumpet or trombone (Trompete bzw. Posaune). If neither trumpet nor trombone are used in the Fanfare of the Common Man "Hymne" might be a better translation than "Fanfare".

For "the common man" I propose "der einfachen Bürger" (plural). If you intend to make a slight ironic political statement "Fanfare der Wählerinnen und Wähler" (fanfare of the female and male voters) might be a option.

  • The Fanfare certainly makes use of trumpets and trombones. Its arranged for 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, and bass drum. You can hear the piece on Youtube: youtube.com/watch?v=4NjssV8UuVA
    – user15331
    Mar 18 '15 at 14:45
  • Fanfare has the association with brass instruments in English too, and Fanfare for the Common Man is a quintessential example in this respect; it opens with a famous solo from the trumpet section.
    – PLL
    Mar 19 '15 at 4:32
  • @MichaelT Germans can't hear it with that link since YouTube had to deny it. I assume that's caused by the GEMA/YouTube conflict.
    – harper
    Mar 19 '15 at 16:06
  • @harper that is unfortunate. It is a beautiful piece. The Wikipedia page has an exerpt of it that you could listen to if there are problems with YouTube's availability. There may also be other renditions on YouTube that are available in your location (I've seen particular videos limited to certain geographies) - I just pulled the first one since it worked for me and can't verify if it doesn't work for others.
    – user15331
    Mar 19 '15 at 16:09
  • The Wikipedia exerpt is a bit too short. I could acces this m.youtube.com/watch?v=PVgs38tpMhs from Germany.
    – harper
    Mar 19 '15 at 16:23

Perhaps Fanfare des Volkes would work?

  • I'm afraid your answer is insufficient. The answer post is not part of a chat neither a casual dialog line in a forum, but should be more like a FAQ article, based on your knowledge and sound additional research, if necessary. For your answer here, you should at least give us a hint why you think this could be a proper translation, and you should first ask yourself, not the community, whether this would work or not. Mar 18 '15 at 18:10
  • Perhaps a little explanation might be nice, but I think "Fanfare des Volkes" sounds good. I guess "Volksfanfare" sounds wrong, though. Dec 20 '18 at 17:33

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