Fraktur Typesetting and Musical Scores
A recent addition to the musical scores collection prompted this entry on the Fraktur typeface, a style of blackletter type that is frequently associated with Nazism. The name fraktur is derived from the broken edges of its letters. The typeface was originally developed in the Imperial chancery of Maximilian I in the late 15th century. Over the next several hundred years, fraktur became tightly associated with the German language, so much so that during the mounting political tensions of the early 20th century, fraktur was politicized as the “German type,” in opposition to the “foreign” type (see the Antiqua-Fraktur Dispute). When Hitler rose to power in 1933, broken type was declared to be the true German script, and all official printed matter were reset in fraktur. Curiously, in 1941, opinion on fraktur reversed itself and the typeface was banned in an edict proclaiming it to be Schwabacher Judenlettern. Some scholars have speculated that in order for Germany to dominate world politics, it needed to adopt the “world type” (roman).