Hungarian folk music

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Hungarian folk music includes a broad array of styles, including the recruitment dance verbunkos, the csárdás and nóta.

During the 20th century, Hungarian composers were influenced by the traditional music of their nation which may be considered as a repeat of the early "nationalist" movement of the early 19th century (Beethoven) but is more accurately the artists' desire to escape the hegemony of the classical tradition manifold at that time. Béla Bartók took this departure into the abstract musical world in his appropriation of traditional Hungarian as the basis for symphonic creations.

Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók observed that Hungarian "peasant music" use isometric (with an even number of structures) strophe structure and certain pentatonic (five tone) formations, along with a liking for tempo giusto (rhythm consisting chiefly of equal values). These features jointly may be considered as altogether typical, and differentiate "Hungarian peasant music" from that of any other nation. Bartók studied over 300 melodies, and noted that more modern tunes used for dancing featured pentatonic turns with frequent leaps in fourths.[1]


The following layers of Hungarian folk music are demonstrated consecutively in this short video: Old style Hungarian folk song and bagpipe music, Verbunk style tune and dance, New style folk song and csardas, Hungarian nóta [1]

Selected Clips from SEA[2] to demonstrate authentic Hungarian folk music

  • Hungarian tambura music from the Great Hungarian Plain: [2], [3]
  • Bagpipe music and song, sung by István Pál, a shepherd: [4]
  • Bagpipe imitation on fiddle interpreted by a Hungarian Gypsy musician from Gúta, Slovakia: [5]
  • Kaval (flute) music from Moldova, Romania by a Hungarian Szekler-Csango musician: [6]
  • "Fast Hungarian" dance tune from Klézse village in Moldova: [7]
  • Mountain horn signal from Gyimes, Transylvania by a Hungarian Csango villager: [8]
  • Couple dance tune from Gyimes, Transylvania by Hungarian Csango musicians: [9]
  • Old style Hungarian folk song from northeast Hungary by a Hungarian village Gypsy band: [10]
  • The Rákóczi march from Kalotaszeg, Transylvania by Miklos Nonika and his band: [11]
  • The Rákóczi march from Szék, Transylvania performed at a Hungarian wedding by a Hungarian village band: [12]
  • Hungarian nóta tunes from northeast Hungary by a Hungarian village Gypsy band: [13]

Notable Hungarian folk bands and artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dance of the Hungarians. Elizabeth C. Rearick. 1939. Teachers College, Columbia university. page 48. citing Bartók's Hungarian Folk Music, page 80.
  2. ^ Sonidus Ethnographical Archives

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 47°35′51″N 19°01′05″E / 47.59737°N 19.01798°E / 47.59737; 19.01798