NATIONALISM BASED ON FOLK MUSIC: RUSSIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, HUNGARY, NORWAY, ENGLAND, SPAIN, AMERICA
IS it not amazing that although every country had given unconscious expression in melody to its racial feelings, character, and interests, until the nineteenth century, folk music was not recognized as a means for the development of a national art?
Liszt was evidently not only the Wizard of the Piano, but also the conjurer of the genii of Nationalism. For it was he who pointed out to his apprentices from all countries, the vitality and serviceability of the materials of their own environment, showing them that in the spontaneous music of a nation may be found the germ of its developed art.
He did not invent the idea of an art based on folk music, but he was sufficiently sensitized to feel the contemporary currents of thought, and to be the medium through which they were communicated (page 50). Chopin, too, felt the call of his native Poland with its picturesque songs and dance rhythms,--felt it the more keenly because of the political disaster which had overtaken it. Before the advent of the Napoleonic wars, the national spirit was dormant and a universal musical language satisfied the nations. When the countries became more aware of political separateness, however, national thought developed and with it a national art consciousness.
An unconscious nationalism, an automatic reflection of a people's peculiarities, psychology, social customs, and esthetics, has always existed. In the twentieth century, the two types of nationalism have been blended: the folk elements, based on folk and popular music and influenced by the rhythmic and melodic elements of the language, have become assimilated to the point of being