The musician, Finn Martin, 49, was performing a stunt Friday that involved him sliding down the facade of a building while playing a saxophone at the street festival in Leipzig, The Local reported.
Police investigating the incident were operating under the assumption safety devices had failed, but were looking into whether participants in the stunt were intoxicated.
Martin called his stunt "Vertigo" and described it on his Web site as "an unusually emotional music aerial performance." In 2005, he performed the 15-minute act on a tower in Cologne that was nearly 492 feet tall.
Martin's cousin, Peter Martin, said the dare-devil performances helped the musician finance musical projects in West Africa.
"Finn had a passion for African music," Peter Martin said. "His art was his life and he was an artist and musician all the way to his fingertips."