"Many people think it is a comparatively easy task to write a composition on found folk tunes...This way of thinking is completely erroneous. To handle folk tunes is one of the most difficult tasks; equally difficult, if not more so, than to write a major original composition. If we keep in mind that borrowing a tune means being bound by its individual peculiarity, we shall understand one part of the difficulty. Another is created by the special character of folk tune. We must penetrate it, feel it, and bring out its sharp contours by the appropriate setting...It must be a work of inspiration just as much as any other composition."
Béla Bàrtok was a composer as well as an ethnomusicologist. He studied Hungarian folk songs with Zoltan Kodaly, which they began recording on a gramophone in 1905. He also worked in the surrounding countries, recording songs from Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey. Based on his studies, he felt the Hungarian Dances were not actually from Hungary.
Bàrtok collected as many as 2700 magyar scores, 3500 magyar-Rumanian scores and hundreds of Turkish and north African magyar scores. While studying these, he found an older form of Hungarian music than was previously known to scholars. He incorporated the folk music into his compositions, creating a new form of Hungarian nationalist music.
In 1923 Bartók married a piano student, Ditta Pásztory. They had a son, Péter, born in 1924. For Péter's music lessons Bartók began composing a six-volume collection of graded piano pieces, Mikrokosmos.
Béla Bàrtok is one of my favorite composer, powerful with a never- ending variety of rhythms and melodies. His Songs For Children are romantic and more tender then his composition in the Mikrokosmos. Both will guide you to understand the complexity of his masterpieces:
A Winter Tale - Bartok - From "For Children Book 1" - Piano
Flower Song - Bartok - From "For Children Book 1" - Piano
Play Time - Bartok - From "For Children Book 1" - Piano
Spring Dance - Bartok - From "For Children Book 1" - Piano
The Lonely Traveler - Bartok - From "For Children Book 2" - Piano