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  • 1 Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Schultheiß-Koch-Platz 3, D-78647 Trossingen, Germany
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There is a gap separating Kodály's Seven Pieces for Piano, op. 11 from his Nine Pieces for Piano, op. 3. The differences of style, structure, and texture cannot be explained in terms of development, let alone progress in any sense. With op. 11, Kodály undertakes a shift of paradigms from instrumental principles to a kind of vocal orientation within instrumental music. Op. 3 stands in the tradition of autonomous instrumental music, of Liszt and French music in particular, and displays similarities to early piano works by Bartók. In op. 11, that instrumental paradigm and its core principle of indirect expression are called into question. Instead Kodály aims at direct expression, vocality on the piano. Since a piano cannot sing, the pieces op. 11 can be seen as failing in terms of Classical-Romantic composing standards. This paper argues that in dealing with the distinction between instrumental and vocal music, Kodály takes up a major topic of Musical Modernism (Carl Dahlhaus) and exposes himself deliberately to the risky question of “When is Art?” (Nelson Goodman).