The central hypothesis of this paper is that rhythmic patterns in Bartók’s melodies correlate with intervallic structure. Recognition of a motif or phrase as a distinct musical idea depends on its rhythmic character as well as its ordering of pitches. Rhythmic asymmetry is also significant to the rhythm-pitch interrelation theory. In Bartók’s music, rhythm often varies while the melodic identity is retained. Equally, his use of chromaticism and inversion as forms of melodic variation often occur with the rhythmic identity intact. Many rhythmic patterns form phrases that undergo such extreme changes of pitch that the phrase is defined by rhythm. The analysis of the first movement’s exposition of the Concerto no. 1 for Piano and Orchestra (1926) examines the extent to which rhythm is organised according to melody.
Bartók’s two- and three-part choruses for children’s and female voices are his best-known choral works worldwide. Nevertheless, the cycle as a whole does not enjoy a wide popularity outside of Hungary. The reason for this lies in the fact that, being a textually inspired composition written in an inaccessible language, it is internationally rarely performed due to difficulties of pronunciation and accentuation — not to mention the difficulties of translation. Text has a very special role in Bartók’s vocal works, where words do not act only through their meaning, nor do they function merely as a supplementary element of music, but are both an essential shaping force in the field of rhythm and a fundamental factor of timbre. The subject of this paper is a survey of some difficulties in performing the Twenty-Seven Choruses with particular emphasis on the role of the text in the pieces’ rhythmic style. The relation between words and timbre and, in connection with that, the orchestral version of seven choruses are also examined.
Bartók collected folk music in Turkey in 1936, and his Turkish collection was published in 1976 almost simultaneously in Hungary and America, and in 1991 in Turkey. How Bartók's conclusions stand the test in the light of an examination on a larger Turkish material? I investigated this question in four of my books, and the detailed analysis points way beyond the scope of the present paper. This time I deal with a single melody, the No. 51 lament of Bartók's collection and with its larger Anatolian, Hungarian and other musical background. Can this melody be an important link between Hungarian and Anatolian folk music layers? If so, why did Bartók not realize this? Does Bartók's incredibly detailed way of transcription has practical benefits in the ethnomusicological research? Is the unique intonation of certain tones in some Anatolian and Hungarian laments accidental or do these tones show a consistent system? Can we find the musical form represented by this Turkish lament in the folk music of Turkic and other people; is yes, what kind of conclusion can be drown? Trying to find an answer to some of these questions I use the melodies and the results of my Turkish, Azeri, Karachay-Balkar, Kazakh, Mongolian and Kyrgyz researches of more then 7000 songs.
The article presents information concerning the New York Bartók Archives, as gleaned by the author from more than thirty years (1978–2011) of conversations with Benjamin Suchoff, his writings, and some other scholarly sources. Suchoff came into contact with Victor Bator, the executor and trustee of the Bartók estate, in 1953 as he was trying to locate the manuscripts he needed for his doctoral thesis on Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. Soon he became curator and, eventually, head of the New York Bartók Archives. The article describes Suchoff ’s career as editor, with references to the history of Bartók’s manuscripts, and to the major projects of the New York Bartók Archive such as the publication of Bartók’s works dedicated to Romanian, Turkish, Yugoslav, Hungarian, and Slovak folk music, his theoretical writings (Béla Bartók Essays), and some of his compositions (The Archive Edition series).
The inventory of Béla Bartók’s original vocal compositions produces a heterogeneous impression: as regards to scoring, form, the derivation of the text, and the attitude of expression, the opera Bluebeard’s Castle, the two collections of songs opp. 15 and 16, Cantata profana for Soli, Choir and Orchestra, and the a cappella series Elmúlt időkből (From Bygone Times) and Twenty-Seven Two- and Three-Part Choruses apparently do not form a homogeneous group. However, they do share the common characteristic of being born as original music out of pre-existing texts. Stylistic features and peculiarities in the choice and the treatment of the texts do reveal some links and parallels between the original vocal works which reflect Bartók’s principles in the setting of texts and in the treatment of voices.
When László Vikárius sent me the list of titles and abstracts to help me find a topic for the talk I had agreed to give at the “Bartók and the Piano” symposium, Virág Büky’s title (“Mozart, Ditta, and the Third Piano Concerto”) leapt out at me and
The story of Bartók’s pantomime is usually understood as the clash between the cold-blooded brutality of the city — represented by the tramps — and the force of primeval passion — represented by the mandarin. Within these opposing forces stands the girl — whose character, however, is not obvious. In the first complete manuscript version (piano four-hand), immediately before the ending of the piece, there existed a scene depicting a confrontation between the girl and the tramps. This scene, whose main actor is the girl, is crucial for the drama and reveals Bartók’s view with regard to the girl’s character. Yet when Bartók began orchestrating the work in 1924, he deleted this scene. The present article provides, for the first time, an in-depth analysis as well as dramatic interpretation of this scene. Considering also the original text by Menyhért (Melchior) Lengyel (which contains this scene) and the totality of the final version of Bartók’s pantomime, the article proposes a characterization for the girl and offers a hypothesis for the reason for the omission of this scene from the final version.
In the last years of World War I, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály compiled a folksong selection
One Hundred Hungarian Soldiers’ Songs
from their own collections, requested by the Centre for Music History of the Monarchy’s War Ministry in Vienna. The collapse after the war interrupted the publication already in press. Parts of the song collection Kodály asked back in 1921 were returned in 1940 through diplomatic intervention. Later the manuscript was lost, but some parts have been found in the Kodály estate recently. However, the tunes are still latent; not even Kodály knew in his last years where they were. The present paper discusses the circumstances of the volume’s genesis and fate, and as a new development, the process of reconstructing the music section on the basis of the segments of the manuscript found in the estate (introduction and list of sources), the folksong collections of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Bartók-and Kodály-Systems) and the earlier researchers of the author concerning Kodály’s collection. The collection is an important document of Hungarian folk music history and the history of research. It is also the only collection of the series initiated by the Centre for Music History that was ready for the press as the next volume after Bernhard Paumgartner’s
100 deutsche Soldatenlieder
published in 1918.
Bartók's “Continental” 1942 recording of Improvisations op. 20 provides us with invaluable insights into his aesthetics and nature. This is a special case study in which Bartók redesign the composition through his performance. In this rendition the simple structure of most of the eight pieces that construct the composition (alternations between arrangements of the Hungarian peasant songs and transitions section in between them), turn into temperamental micro-drama of associations, flowing without any hesitations from Bartók's mind to his fingers. The folk song arrangements are played in various performing styles, related directly to the written texture, while the transition sections played in more personal style. Here, in these transitional sections, Bartók the romantic, emotional pianist is revealed. These transitions are used by him as improvisatory pauses, used mainly for musical reflections dealing with his performance style of the preceded folk song arrangement or the one that follows. The current article introduces and examines some of the insights evoked by Bartók's recording of this composition.
Operaza e: Barutok to Barazyu no Kyodo Sakuhin toshite no ‘Aohige-Ko no Shiro’ [Staging the Mystery Play within the Opera House: Bluebeard’s Castle as a Collaboration of Bartók and Balázs] (PhD diss., University of Tokyo, March 2014) [written in Japanese].