Sachs, Hans häns zäks [key], 1494–1576, German poet, leading meistersinger of the Nuremberg school. A shoemaker and guild master, he wrote more than 4,000 master songs in addition to some 2,000 fables, tales in verse (Schwanke), morality plays, and farces. His Shrovetide plays, humorous and dramatically effective, present an informative picture of life in 16th-century Nuremberg. An ardent follower of Luther, Sachs wrote the poem
The Nightingale of Wittenbergin Luther's honor. Many of his melodies were later adapted as Protestant hymn tunes. Hans Sachs is a principal character in several operas, notably in Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
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