The Barbarian (song)

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"The Barbarian"
Instrumental by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
from the album Emerson, Lake & Palmer
GenreProgressive rock, hard rock
Composer(s)Béla Bartók arr. Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer
Producer(s)Greg Lake

"The Barbarian" is the opening track on the eponymous debut album of British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1970.


The song is instrumental, and it is the shortest song on the album (4:27). Although the composition of "The Barbarian" was attributed to the three band members, it is an arrangement for rock band of Béla Bartók’s 1911 piano piece Allegro barbaro.[1] Although the original piece is for piano only, the band arranged the song for organ, piano, bass, and drums.[2] The music of the song is aggressive with a hard rock influence. Greg Lake used a fuzz box to give his bass a fuller, guitar-like sound. The band members didn't give credit to Bartók, thinking that the label would arrange the matter. Bartók's family sued ELP for copyright infringement,[1] but eventually, the band gave the credit to Bartók too.[3] The song was never included in a compilation album of the band until the album The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer.