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The lion dance is one of the most popular momentum of kagura ceremonies and folk feasts, the matsuris. It also appears in the ancient tradition of the nô theatre. The cult of the lion spread in China and it must have reached Korea and Japan by the transmission of Buddhist mythology. It was not only religion that had an intermediary role, but the practice of court music. The characteristics and musical structure of the folk or kagura variety of the lion dance are presented and analyzed.

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Already in some of Bartók's juvenile compositions, a definite attraction is manifested for the irregular rhythmics. This is an early appearance of additive metrics, opposed to the conventional divisive one. An extremely rich selection for irregular meters was offered to Bartók by Rumanian folk song material, particularly in the “colindas”. Speaking about, although Bartók used the term “Bulgarian rhythm”, although knew well this was not an exclusively Bulgarian peculiarity. The phenomenon shows clearly the existing form of the additive-substractive metrics, because the quantitatively various bar structures alternate by augmenting or diminishing by one quaver (as common nominator), a kind of “mistuning in the time”. This thinking has been well documented in a series of various examples, but the Sonata for two pianos and percussion (1937) provides an extremely rich selection of rhythm combination, in which the inner overstructurating of the bar, resp. the mistuning of the meter plays the principal role (3+3+3/8à1+2+2+2+2/8à 4+2+3/8). 

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After three decades of our personal, publicly conducted discussion with Ernő Lendvai, in 1999 at a conference organized in memory of Bence Szabolcsi, I raised again my objections related his theories. Since my lecture was given in Hungarian, and its printed version was published in Hungarian language (Muzsika 2000, Bartók-analitika 2003), I feel necessary to present some of my objetions on an international forum as well, with particular aspect to the fact that in the Bartók literature - in spite of serious criticism (Petersen, Gillies) - several analysts employ up to now Lendvai's theories in a servile way. My objections are focussed upon four points. 1. The extension of Riemann's three-function theory to the twelvetone system is a theoretical arbitrariness and an impasse. 2. The axis interpretation of the tonalities - by identification of polar keys - is in flat contradiction with Bartók's tonal thinking. 3. The pentatony interpreted as a golden section system is very much doubtful according basic experiences of the ethnomusicology. 4. The typical Bartókian chord structures - named by Lendvai  α, β etc. - are phenomenologically correct, but their interpretation by Fibonacci figures is arbitrary, because the actual intervals represent another ratios.

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Music history — Conference history

Speaking of music: Music conferences, 1835–1966 General editors: James R. Cowdery, Zdravko Blažeković, Barry S. Brook (New York: RILM, 2004)

Studia Musicologica
Author: János Kárpáti
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There are two basic types of Japanese female shamans, representing two different categories regarding their social position and their musical activities. (1) The medium type shamaness, the itako comes from a stratum of the rural society which lives in relative modesty and whose musical activities belong to folk art. The ceremony takes place in the itako’s house, in front of the house altar, kneeling on tatami. She improvises dialogs with previously living persons who speak through her mouth, or recites stories, ballads to “entertain” the deities. Among her musical instruments, the weapon-like catalpa bow holds an outstanding place. (2) The other type of shamaness, the miko is connected with the functions of shrines, their social position is basically on par with that of priests active in Shintô shrines. The miko’s main musical activity is to perform ceremonial dances in front of the shrine. Their dances are accompanied by chant and/or small instrumental groups (flute, drum). The third, indispensable instrument is the sistrum, held by the dancers themselves. The paper is based on the author’s personal field research conducted in 1988 and 1994.

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Béla Bartók: Écrits

Édités par Philippe Albèra et Peter Szendy Traduits et annotés par Peter Szendy (Genève: Éditions Contrechamps, 2006, 344 p.)

Studia Musicologica
Author: János Kárpáti
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Surprisingly little work has been dedicated to Mozart and the march genre. The literature has explored only the 17 marches which feature as introductory movements in his cassations and serenades (Neue Mozart-Ausgabe, Günter Hauswald, Wolfgang Plath). However, marches have important functions in Mozart’s operas – in his seria works as celebratory and greeting intermezzos, and at expressly key instances in his Da Ponte operas (“Non più andrai,” “Ecco la marcia, andiamo,” “È aperto a tutti quanti, viva la libertà!”, and “Bella vita militar”). The same applies to Idomeneo and The Magic Flute, where the priestly rituals are accompanied by marches, albeit of a slow variety, as is Tamino and Pamina’s trial by fire and water. Studying the marches reveals a formulaic recurring rhythmic model (a succession of eighth notes in the following pattern: 4:3:1:2:2) that acts as a thematic introduction to many works which do not conspicuously belong to the march genre – notably his piano concertos and symphonies. This model appears already in his juvenile pieces, reoccurring throughout his œuvre as a means of expressing the beginning of a purposeful action.

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