Home Slovenská hudba 2013 Slovenská hudba, Vol. 39, No 4, p.340-353

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Slovenská hudba, Vol. 39, No 4, p.340-353

Title: Béla Bartók ako teoretik
Author: László Vikárius

Abstract: Béla Bartók as a Music Theoretician
Béla Bartók, known as a taciturn composer, left a suprisingly high number of theoretical treatises. Although many of them were written as prefaces, commentaries and notes to his extensive collection of folk songs, the essays on folk and art music and music life are of such a remarkable size that the latest publication of his studies Bartók Béla Írásai (Béla Bartók’s Writings) omitting the collections of Romanian, Slovak, Yugoslavian and Turkish songs and instrumental music filled up eight volumes. In various essays Bartók tried to speculate on musical aspects of the folk music collected by him, as well as on contemporary art music. He surveyed used scales and their tones, rhythms and metres, as well as structure, form, harmony and expression. Apart from his late little-discussed theoretic exegesis on a transcription of sounding music in the preface to the first volume of Serbo-Croatian Folk Music (Bartók and Albert B. Lord, 1951) the important examples of modern harmony are presented, which are scattered into various texts (see examples 1 – 4). The treatises which purposively deal with the subject of ‘The Influence of Peasant Music on Contemporary Art Music’ are of a special significance. They originated in the years from 1920 (a contribution for Melos and Sackbut) to 1943 (Harvard Lectures). Partial incongruences in categorization of many findings regarding the influence of folk music on valuable art music are demonstrated and compared in two tables (see Table 1 and 2). Subsequently we try to track the chronologically changing subjects of Bartók’s theoretical exegeses. For instance, the interest in the issue of rhythm emerged in Bartók in 1930s and the idea of ‘polymodal chromatics’ based on the analyses of Edwin von der Nülls (1930) and opposing then fashionable polytonality emerged only in his third Harvard Lecture.

Year: 2013, Volume: 39, Issue: 4 Page From: 340, Page To: 353

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