Hungarian Folk Music

Hungarian Folk Music

Hungarian Folk Music

Hungarian Folk Music


Folk-music and Peasant music.--Materials of the collection of Hungarian Peasant music.--A systematic arrangement of a bigger collection.--General classification of the Hungarian materials.

THE term 'Peasant music' connotes, broadly speaking, all the tunes which endure among the peasant class of any nation, in a more or less wide area and for a more or less long period, and constitute a spontaneous expression of the musical feeling of that class.

From the point of view of folk-lore, we may define the peasant class as follows: it is that part of the population engaged in producing prime requisites and materials, whose need for expression, physical and mental, is more or less satisfied either with forms of expression corresponding to its own tradition, or with forms which, although originating in a higher (urban) culture, have been instinctively altered so as to suit its own outlook and disposition. The indefinite expression 'more or less' is used with reference to the relativity of the very expression, 'peasant class'. For a similar reason, when defining peasant music, the question of area and period was specified but loosely; for the very definition of peasant music is elastic. It must take into account the fact that the area referred to may vary from the smallest conceivable to a very wide one; it refers to a countless series and number of tune-types, ranging from types that can hardly be considered as peasant music proper, if at all, to types that are peasant music in the narrowest sense of the term. As to the question of the origin of the tunes--viz. whether their authorship is known or they were taken from the music of another class, such as the ruling class--our definition waives it aside as non-essential.

It should be admitted that practically every recent European peasant music known to-day arose under the influence of some kind of 'national' or 'popular' art music.

Under the above term come musical products--chiefly single, unaccompanied melodies--from authors who, being musically educated up to a degree, mix in their work the idiosyncrasies of the style of the peasant music of their country with the commonplaces of the higher types of art music.

Very probably the influence of 'popular' art music upon peasant music exerted itself as follows. Let us start by admitting that among the peasant class of a certain country there exists a certain traditional, more or less primitive musical style. This peasant class is in constant contact with more cultured classes, such as, for instance, the town-dwellers (who may be using the same language or another), and also with the peasantry and perhaps the upper classes of the neighbouring countries. Two opposite tendencies . . .

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