use of harmonics, multiple stops, pizzicatos, and striking glissandos. The penchant for unusual combinations can be seen in his Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion as well as in Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. Timbre is so important for Bartók that he sometimes writes evocative compositions that are scarcely more than a fabric of sounds suggesting insect buzzings or bird calls. An example of such "night music" has been cited in the discussion of Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta.
The question raised by Bartók in the citation at the head of this chapter is answered by his works, for they do combine the color of Debussy, the all-pervading sense of form of Beethoven, and the contrapuntal texture of Bach. His style is original but not eccentric, for it is based on principles that have marked great music of all times. In general classification he is closer to the expressionists than he is to the neoclassicists, but at the same time, because of his strong roots in the folk idiom of his country, he does not approach Schoenberg's pinnacle of subjectivity.
The authoritative study is The Life and Music of Béla Bartók ( New York, 1953) by Halsey Stevens. A biographical study of the American years is Agatha Fassett's The Naked Face of Genius ( Boston, 1958). The Autumn and Winter, 1949, issues of Tempo are devoted to Bartók and contain biographical and analytical material, as well as a comprehensive bibliography.