Zoltaan Kodaaly; His Life and Work

By Lászlό EŐsze | Go to book overview

THE MUSICOLOGIST

It is often supposed that, between the scholar and the artist, there exists some essential incompatibility of function and temperament, yet Kodily is a living refutation of this view. As he himself has said, in an address to the Academy of Sciences: "Not only is there a close relation between the various sciences... but it is also true that science and art cannot do without one another. The more of the artist there is in the scientist the more fitted is he for his calling, and vice versa. Lacking intuition and imagination, the work of a scientist will at best be pedestrian; without a sense of inner order, of constructive logic, the artist will remain on the periphery of art." From this point of view Kodily was well equipped by his early training. The habit of scholarship, acquired at the University and Eövös College, has continued throughout his life, particularly in the two fields of folklore and musical criticism; and so important are the results of his study that both fields must be considered more closely.


Scholar and Folklorist

Kodály's determination to become a collector of folk songs was no sudden inspiration: it matured slowly. Already while living at Galánta he had become attached to the peasantry and their music, and as a student at Nagyszombat he had been interested in such collections of folk songs as then existed. In 1896 he first came across the name Béla Vikár, the first man to use the phonograph for recording folk songs; and it was from him, seven years later, that he was to learn how to use the wax cylinder. By that time Kodály had compared the printed versions of the songs with the phonograph recordings in the Ethnographical Museum, and found that the former had been deliberately modified, in such a way that their essentially Magyar characteristics were lost. And it was this that set him upon the path of collecting folk songs himself, for he realized that it was only in the villages that he could hope to find the genuine, unadulterated music.

It was in 1905 that he reached this conclusion, and he has described the occasion: "Knapsack on back and stick in hand, and with fifty crowns in my pocket, I set out for the Csallόköz, intending to roam about the country-

-47-

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Zoltaan Kodaaly; His Life and Work
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Table of Contents 5
  • List of Illustrations 6
  • Preface 7
  • Kodály's Life 11
  • The Musicologist 47
  • The Teacher 66
  • The Composer 88
  • By Way of Epilogue 167
  • Notes 169
  • Appendices 174
  • Index 179
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