Poet and Minnesinger. The 12th and 13th century German poet-musicians were called Minnesinger(Minne= chivalrous love, amour courtois). They came mostly from the South, many from Austria. They fall into thre main groups, the first from the period, 1150-90, before the French influence became strong. The second and best belongs to the end of the 12th century and the first part of the 13th, and includes Walther von der Vogelweide. The third early group is on a less exalted plane that extended to about 1318, the year of the death of Heinrich von Meisen, called Frauenlob, supposedly because in in Liederstreitwith Regenbogen, a rival Minnesinger, he championed the use of Frau(i.e.frouwe,'lady') instead of Weis(wip,'woman').
The later representatives of the Minnesinger traition, such as Frauenlob, belong to a period when the general decline of feudalism was penetrating even to Germany. Indeed, Frauenlob had already embodied the first beginnings of the burgher and didactic spirit that was to flourish increasingly with the rising prestige and importance of the towns.
The fact that Frauenlob's musical product was inferior to that of, say Adam de la Halle, who died when Frauendlob was twenty-eight years old, is but a striking indicatio of the lag that characterized the devlopment of German music for some time to come. in fairness, however, it must be pointed out that the 15th century MS that preserves works of Frauenlob was possibly 'edited' by the full-fledged Meistersinger to conform to their practice and ditorted his work.