Bela Bartok studied folk music of different civilizations and for this reason he rejected the idea of working in any other field but music. His obsession to learn and understand the folk music of other civilizations got him caught in complicated situations. People criticized Bela Bartok in for his keen interest in the folk music of the civilizations that were unfair to Hungary.
The oldest melodies of folk music approximately 8200 were collected by composers Bela Bartok, Laszlo Lajtha and Ziltan Kodaly. Bela Vikar also contributed to this collection of melodies who was a folklorist. Bela Bartok collected 2,700 melodies in the collection of these melodies.
Folk music was found to be the central of his own work but he was not the only composer who made use of the folk melodies in his work but he was successful in admitting the values of folk music to his work where others failed to make their distinctive style with.
By collecting folk melodies he learned many of the new elements which he later on used in his own work of melodies. The blend of folk music of different civilizations was his hallmark and he has often called as the saltando which is a musical terminology that means jumping.
Bartok’s contribution in the music was not only the collection of folk music of different civilizations but also he was the one who categorized the collected folk music into four categories in his first publication of collected folk melodies named “The Romanian Folk songs from Bihor country”. According to him this categorization lacked the major of the most important features of Romanian folk music that’s why he published another collection in the name of “Volksmusic der Romanen Von maramures” in which the categories were named in the Christmas songs, laments, songs which were beyond customs and dance tunes. These categories were further divided by him (Somfai).
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