In 1878, Johann Schrammel (1850–1893) and Josef Schrammel (1852-1895), violinist brothers from northwestern Austria, formed an ensemble with guitarist Anton Strohmayer, who accompanied the two violins on a double-necked contraguitar. Inspired by both urbane and rustic traditions, the three musicians performed folk songs, marches, and dance music, most often for audiences at wine taverns (Heurigen) and inns around Vienna. At first the trio called themselves the "Nussdorfers" after the village of Nussdorf where they often performed.
In 1884 clarinetist Georg Dänzer joined the group, which soon enjoyed phenomenal success under the name "Schrammel Brothers Specialities Quartet" (Specialitäten Quartett Gebrüder Schrammel). The ensemble was invited to perform in palaces and mansions as "Schrammel euphoria" gripped the Viennese elite. So great was the Schrammel brothers' popularity that some earlier folk music forms, such as the Wienerlied dialect song, came to be known as Schrammelmusik as well. The Schrammels' popularity eventually extended throughout Europe and in 1893 they were invited to perform at the international Exposition of Chicago.
The Schrammels composed more than 200 songs and music pieces in just seven years. Johann Schrammel died in 1893, followed two years later by Josef. Each brother was 43 years old at his death.
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