As a composer and one of the founders of Modern Hungarian music, Kodály's place in the annals of music is already established by such outstanding works as the Psalmus Hungaricus, Háry János, the Spinning-Room, Dances of Marosszèk and Dances of Galánta, the Te Deum of Budavár, The Peacock, and his Concerto and Missa Brevis. As a musicologist, his collection and classification of Hungarian folk songs, his comprehensive work, The Folk Music of Hungary, and innumerable papers on various aspects of folklore have earned for him the gratitude of scientists throughout the world as one of the leading twentieth-century authorities. As a teacher, his training of several generations of Hungarian composers, and his work in reorganizing the teaching of music in schools and in developing a flourishing school of choral singing, have established his right to the appreciation and gratitude of his country as one of the most far-sighted engineers of Hungarian cultural policy.
What is it, then, that has enabled him to accomplish single-handed a three-fold task which one might surely have expected to absorb the energies of three men? Apart from his precocious talent and the variety of his interests, the answer is to be found in his deep love for his country and its people. This it is, above all, that has given him the force to carry through an undertaking that has often demanded superhuman efforts; though undoubtedly the circumstances of his education, the influences of his home and early environment, have also played their part. The first eighteen years of his life, the years when mind and character are at their most receptive, were spent in the Hungarian countryside, and the impressions he then received have exerted their influence throughout his career.
His father, Frigyes Kodály ( 1853-1926), was a railway official--a plump, reticent man of medium height, who soon won the respect of his colleagues and superiors by his honesty and efficiency. He entered the service in 1870, and by 1883 had already been promoted to the rank of station-master, in which position he continued until his retirement at the end of 1910. His life was a