Throughout this book we have endeavoured, as far as possible, to allow Kodály to speak for himself. In his case this has been all the more appropriate, since, unlike many composers, he has been a voluminous writer on a variety of subjects; and his writings tell us more about his ideas--more even about his music, perhaps--than any amount of analysis. On occasion, too, we have quoted his contemporaries, both his supporters and his opponents, for it was in the cross-fire of their opinions that his maturity as an artist was forged. Yet, as author, we ourselves have not remained completely silent. By our selection and editing of his views we have inevitably indicated our own; but, though our principal aim has been to provide some account of his manifold activities, we may hope that we have also contributed something new to the understanding of the man and the artist.
As an epigraph to the first three chapters, we might well have reprinted the following words from the book that was published as a tribute to him on his seventy-fifth birthday: "If the musical culture of Hungary has emerged from its state of semi-ignorance of fifty years ago, and is, to-day, a part of the spiritual treasury of the world, one of the noblest pledges of our status as human beings and as a nation, it is in very large measure as a result of the work of one man, Zoltán Kodály."
The final chapter, which is an independent study of his music, is an attempt to reveal the roots of his art, to trace its development, and to distinguish the main characteristics of his original and highly individual style. But here, too, we have allowed him to speak for himself, for the text is only the accompaniment, so to speak, to the musical illustrations, and it will have fulfilled its purpose if it inspires others to a more profound and penetrating study of his work.
It was not without good reason that, at the beginning of the century, Kodály evoked the hostility of conservative critics, for his music was revolutionary in its originality. To-day, a fresh debate has been provoked by the daring innovations of a younger generation of composers, which for the moment may seem to overshadow the initiative of the pioneers at the beginning of the century. But the steady glow of Kodály's noble classicism and profound humanism still persists, because its source is inexhaustible: his faith in mankind, and in the future of his own people. That faith he himself