Master Singers (Ger. Meutertanger), a class of minstrels who flourished in Germany during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. They were generally of burgher extraction, and in the reign of the emperor Charles IV. were formed into regular corporations, for admission to which a course of apprenticeship was required. Their chief seats were the imperial cities, and they flourished most at Nuremberg. The compositions of the members, consisting chiefly of devotional and Scriptural pieces, were subjected to a peculiar code of laws, and the main faults to be avoided, 32 in number, were distinguished by particular names. At public contests in Nuremberg, a board of four judges, called Merkcr, sat to hear the poems recited or sung, and mark the faults in each. The first compared the recitation with the text of the Bible lying before him, the second criticised the prosody, the third the rhymes, and the fourth the tunes. He who had the fewest marks received the prize, and the successful competitors were thereupon permitted to receive apprentices. These corporations began to decline in the 17th century, and have been succeeded in modern times by the Licderkranzt, Sanger-bunde, and other singing societies.