Bela Bartok (1881-1945), born in Hungary, was said to be able to play 40 folk songs on the piano by the age of four. As a young man, he was inspired by the new nationalistic fervor in eastern Europe to seek out authentic folk music. With fellow com poser Zoltitn Kodaly, in the early years of the 20th century Bartok traveled through the countryside of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and other nations in search of music as it was actually performed by everyday people. Using wax recording cylinders that could be played back on the Edison phonograph, Bartok and Kodaly recorded hundreds of folk tunes. The irregular rhythms and unusual scales and modes that they heard made their way into some of their most famous compositions.
February 23, 2013