Music of Hungary

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Music of Hungary: Topics
verbunkos táncház
csárdás nóta
History: (Timeline and Samples)
Genres Classical - Folk - Hardcore - Hip hop - Opera - Operett - Pop - Reggea - Rock - Wedding pop - Wedding rock
Organisations Mahasz
Awards Golden Giraffe
Charts MAHASZ TOP 40 album, MAHASZ Kislemez TOP 10, Dance TOP 40
Festivals Sziget, Mayday, Táncháztalálkozó, Miskolc Opera Festival
Media Radio Petőfi, Hungaroton, VIVA, Danubius Rádió, Sláger Rádió, Tilos Radio
National anthem "Himnusz"
Hungarian minorities' music abroad
Transylvania, Vojvodina, Slovakia, Transcarpathia

Hungary has made many contributions to the fields of folk, popular and classical music. Hungarian folk music is a prominent part of the national identity and continues to play a major part in Hungarian music. Hungarian folk music has been influential in neighboring areas such as Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland and especially in southern Slovakia and the Romanian region of Transylvania, both home to significant numbers of Hungarians <ref>Broughton, pg. 159 and (pdf): Brief History of Music in HungaryBroughton claims that Hungary's infectious sound has been surprisingly influential on neighbouring countries (thanks perhaps to the common Austro-Hungarian history) and it's not uncommon to hear Hungarian-sounding tunes in Romania, Slovakia and southern Poland.; the Brief History of Music in Hungary refers to the country as "widely considered" to be a "home of music"</ref>. It is also strong in the Szabolcs-Szatmár area and in the southwest part of Transdanubia, near the border with Croatia). The Busójárás Carnival in Mohács is a major Hungarian folk music event, formerly featuring the long-established and well-regarded Bogyiszló orchestra.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

Hungarian classical music has long been an "experiment, made from Hungarian antedecents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture [using the] musical world of the folk song" <ref>Szabolcsi, The Specific Conditions of Hungarian Musical Development Every experiment, made from Hungarian antedecents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture (music written by composers, as different from folk music), had instinctively or consciously striven to develop widely and universally the musical world of the folk song. Folk poetry and folk music were deeply imbedded in the collective Hungarian people’s culture, and this unity did not cease to be effective even when it was given from and expression by individual creative artists, performers and poets.</ref>. Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political connections with the rest of Europe, leading to an influx of European musical ideas, the rural peasants maintained their own traditions such that by the end of the 19th century Hungarian composers could draw on rural peasant music to (re)create a Hungarian classical style.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref> For example, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, two of Hungary's most famous composers, are known for using folk themes in their music. Bartók collected folk songs from across Eastern Europe, including Romania and Slovakia, whilst Kodály was more interested in creating a distinctively Hungarian musical style.

During the era of Communist rule in Hungary (1944-1989) a Song Committee scoured and censored popular music for traces of subversion and ideological impurity. Since then, however, the Hungarian music industry has begun to recover, producing successful performers in the fields of jazz such as trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits, pianist-composer Károly Binder and, in a modernized form of Hungarian folk, Ferenc Sebő and Márta Sebestyén. The three giants of Hungarian rock, Illés, Metró and Omega, remain very popular, especially Omega, which has followings in Germany and beyond as well as in Hungary. Older veteran underground bands such as Sziámi and Európa Kiadó from the 1980s also remain popular.<ref></ref>


[edit] Characteristics

Image:Franz Liszt photo.jpg
Franz Liszt, prominent Hungarian composer

Unlike other Eastern European peoples, the Hungarian people, Magyars, emerged from the intermingling of Finno-Ugric and Eastern Turkish peoples during the fifth to eighth centuries CE.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref> This makes the origins of their traditional music unique in Europe. According to author Simon Broughton, the composer and song collector Kodály identified songs that "apparently date back 2,500 years" in common with the Mari people of Russia;<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> and, as well as the Mari, the ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl indicates similarities in traditional Hungarian music with Mongolian and Native American musical styles.<ref name="Nettl">Nettl</ref> Bence Szabolcsi, however, claims that the Finno-Ugric and Turkish-Mongolian elements are present but "cannot be attached to certain, definite national or linguistic groups". Nonetheless, Szabolcsi claims links between Hungarian musical traditions and those of the Mari, Kalmyk, Ostyak, northwest Chinese, Tatar, Vogul, Anatolian Turkish, Bashkirian, Mongol and Chuvash musics. These, he claims, are evidence that "Asian memories slumber in the depths of Hungarian folk music and that this folk music is the last Western link in the chant of ancient Eastern cultural relations".<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref>

According to Broughton, traditional Hungarian music is "highly distinctive" like the "Hungarian language, which invariably is stressed on the first syllable, lending a strongly accented dactylic rhythm to the music".<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> Nettl identifies two "essential features" of Hungarian folk music to be the use of "pentatonic scales composed of major seconds and minor thirds" (or "gapped scales"<ref name="Nettl">Nettl</ref>) and "the practice of transposing a bit of melody several times to create the essence of a song". These transpositions are "usually up or down a fifth", a fundamental interval in the series of overtones and an indication perhaps of the "influence of Chinese musical theory in which the fifth is significant".<ref name="Nettl">Nettl</ref>

According to Szabolcsi, these 'Hungarian transpositions', along with "some melodic, rhythmical and ornamental peculiarities, clearly show on the map of Eurasia the movements of Turkish people from the East to the West".<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref> The subsequent influence on neighboring countries' music is seen in the music of Slovakia and, with intervals of the third or second, in the music of the Czech Republic. Hungarian and other Finno-Ugric musical traditions are also characterized by the use of an ABBA binary musical form, with Hungary itself especially known for the A A' A' A variant, where the B sections are the A sections transposed up or down a fifth (A').<ref name="Nettl">Nettl</ref> Modern Hungarian folk music evolved in the 19th century, and is contrasted with previous styles through the use of arched melodic lines as opposed to the more archaic descending lines.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

[edit] Music history

Main article: Music history of Hungary

15th century manuscript, depicting a movement for two voices

The earliest documentation of Hungarian music dates from the introduction of Gregorian chant in the 11th century. By that time, Hungary had begun to enter the European cultural establishment with the country's conversion to Christianity and the musically important importation of plainsong, a form of Christian chant. Though Hungary's early religious musical history is relatively well documented, secular music remains mostly unknown, though it was apparently a common feature of community festivals and other events.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref> The earliest documented instrumentation in Hungary dates back to the whistle in 1222, followed by the kobzos in 1326, the bugle in 1355, the fiddle in 1358, the bagpipe in 1402, the lute in 1427 and the trumpet in 1428. Thereafter the organ came to play a major role.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref>

The 16th century saw the rise of Transylvania (a north-eastern Hungarian region never occupied by the Turks) as a center for Hungarian music. It also saw the first publication of music in Hungary, in Kraków. At this time Hungarian instrumental music was well-known in Europe; the lutenist and composer Bálint Bakfark, for example, was famed as a virtuoso player. His compositions pioneered a new style of writing for the lute based on vocal polyphony. The lutenist Neusiedler brothers were also noted and authored an important early work in music theory, the Epithoma utriusque musices.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref>

During the 17th century Hungary was divided into three parts: an area controlled by the Turks; an area controlled by the Habsburgs; and Transylvania. Historic songs declined in popularity and were replaced by lyrical poetry, whilst minstrels were replaced by court musicians. Many courts or households maintained large ensembles of musicians who played the trumpet, whistle, cimbalom, violin or bagpipes. Some of these ensemble musicians were German, Polish, French or Italian; the court of Gábor Bethlen, Prince of Transylvania, included a Spanish guitarist. Little detail about the music played during this era survives, however.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref> Musical life in the areas controlled by the Ottoman Turks declined precipitously, with even the formerly widespread and entrenched plainsong style disappearing by the end of the 17th century. Outside of the Ottoman area, however, plainsong flourished after the established of Protestant missions in around 1540, while a similarly styled form of folk song called verse chronicles also arose.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

During the 18th century some of the students at colleges such as those in Sárospatak and Székelyudvarhely were minor nobles from rural areas who brought with them their regional styles of music. Whilst the choirs in these colleges adopted a more polyphonic style, the students' songbooks indicate a growth in the popularity of homophonic songs. Their notation, however, was relatively crude and no extensive collection appeared until the publication of Ádám Pálóczi Horváth’s Ötödfélszáz Énekek in 1853. These songs indicate that during the mid to late 18th century the previous Hungarian song styles died out and musicians looked more to other (Western) European styles for influence.

The 18th century also saw the rise of verbunkos, a form of music initially used by army recruiters. Like much Hungarian music of the time, melody was treated as more important than lyrics, although this balance changed as verbunkos became more established.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref>

[edit] Folk music

Main article: Hungarian folk music

Hungarian folk music changed greatly beginning in the 19th century, evolving into a new style that had little in common with the music that came before it. Modern Hungarian music was characterized by an "arched melodic line, strict composition, long phrases and extended register", in contrast to the older styles which always utilize a "descending melodic line".<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

Modern Hungarian folk music was first recorded in 1895 by Béla Vikár, setting the stage for the pioneering work of Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály and László Lajtha in musicological collecting. Modern Hungarian folk music began its history with the Habsburg Empire in the 18th century, when central European influences became paramount, including a "regular metric structure for dancing and marching instead of the free speech rhythms of the old style. Folk music at that time consisting of village bagpipers who were replaced by string-based orchestras of the Gypsy, or Roma people.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

In the 19th century, Roma orchestras became very well-known throughout Europe, and were frequently thought of as the primary musical heritage of Hungary, as in Franz Liszt's Hungarian Dances and Rhapsodies, which used Hungarian Roma music as representative of Hungarian folk music <ref>Broughton, pg. 160 Just as bagpipes mean Scotland, so Gypsy bands mean Hungary in the popular imagination. When nationalist composers like Liszt composed... they took as their models the music of the urban Gypsy orchestras.</ref> Hungarian Roma music is often represented as the only music of the Roma, though multiple forms of Roma music are common throughout Europe and are often dissimilar to Hungarian forms. In the Hungarian language, 19th century folk styles like the csardas and the verbunkos, are collectively referred to as cigányzene, which translates literally as Gypsy music.<ref name="Sarosi">Sarosi</ref>

Hungarian nationalist composers, like Bartók, rejected the conflation of Hungarian and Roma music, studying the rural peasant songs of Hungary which, according to music historian Bruno Nettl, "has little in common with" Roma music,<ref name="Nettl">Nettl</ref> a position that is held to by some modern writers, such as the Hungarian author Bálint Sárosi.<ref name="Sarosi">Sarosi</ref> Simon Broughton, however, has claimed that Roma music is "no less Hungarian and... has more in common with peasant music than the folklorists like to admit",<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> and authors Marian Cotton and Adelaide Bradburn claimed that Hungarian-Roma music was "perhaps... originally Hungarian in character, but (the Roma have made so many changes that) it is difficult to tell what is Hungarian and what is" the authentic music of the Roma.<ref name="Cotton">Cotton</ref>

Aside from the Roma and the ethnic Hungarians, Hungary's musical heritage includes the vibrant Serbian traditions of the communities of Pomáz and Szentendre. The ethnic Csángó Hungarians of Moldavia's Seret Valley have moved in large numbers to Budapest, and become a staple of the local folk scene with their distinctive instrumentation using flutes, fiddles, drums and the lute.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

[edit] Verbunkos

Main article: Verbunkos

Early 19th century lithograph depicting a recruitment with music

In the 19th century, verbunkos was the most popular style in Hungary. This consisted of a slow dance followed by a faster dance; this dichotomy, between the slower and faster dances, has been seen as the "two contrasting aspects of the Hungarian character".<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> The rhythmic patterns and embellishments of the verbunkos are distinctively Hungarian in nature, and draw heavily upon the folk music composed in the early part of the century by Antal Csermak, Ferdinand Kauer, Janos Lavotta and others.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

Verbunkos was originally played at recruitment ceremonies to convince young men to join the army, and was performed, as in so much of Hungarian music, by Roma bands. One verbunkos tune, the "Rákóczi Song" became a march that was a prominent part of compositions by both Liszt and Hector Berlioz. The 18th century origins of verbunkos are not well-known, but probably include old dances like the swine-herd dance and the Heyduck dance, as well as elements of Balkan, Slavic and Levantine music, and the cultured music of Italy and Vienna, all filtered through the Roma performers. Verbunkos became wildly popular, not just among the poor peasantry, but also among the upper-class aristocratics, who saw verbunkos as the authentic music of the Hungarian nation. Characteristics of verbunkos include the bokázó (clicking of heels) cadence-pattern, the use of the interval of the augmented second, garlands of triplets, widely-arched, free melodies without words, and alternately swift and slow tempi. By the end of the 18th century, verbunkos was in use in opera, chamber and piano music, and in song literature, and was regarded as "the continuation, the resurrection of ancient Hungarian dance and music, and its success signified the triumph of the people's art".<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref>

The violinist Panna Czinka was among the most celebrated musicians of the 19th century, as was the Roma bandleader János Bihari, known as the "Napoleon of the fiddle".<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> Bihari, Antal Csermák and other composers helped make verbunkos the "most important expression of the Hungarian musical Romanticism" and have it "the role of national music". Bihari was especially important in popularizing and innovatin the verbunkos; he was the "incarnation of the musical demon of fiery imagination" <ref>Szabolcsi, The “Verbunkos”: The National Musical Style of the Nineteenth Century When around 1800 the leading role of the new dance music was taken over by János Bihari, János Lavotta and Antal Csermák... its melodic and rhythmical enrichment was such that the “verbunkos” immediately became the most important expression of the Hungarian musical Romanticism. It even assumed the role of the representative art of nineteenth-century Hungary, the role of national music.</ref>. Bihari and others after his death helped invent nóta, a popular form written by composers like Lóránt Fráter, Árpád Balázs, Pista Dankó, Béni Egressy, Márk Rózsavölgyi and Imre Farkas.<ref name="Sisa">Sisa</ref> Many of the biggest names in modern Hungarian music are the verbunkos-playing Lakatos family, including Sándor Lakatos and Roby Lakatos.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

[edit] Roma music

Main article: Roma music

Though the Roma are primarily known as the performers of Hungarian styles like verbunkos, they have their own form of folk music that is largely without instrumentation, in spite of their reputation in that field outside of the Roma community. Roma music tends to take on characteristics of whatever music the people are around, however, embellished with "twists and turns, trills and runs", making a very new, and distinctively Roma style. Though without instruments, Roma folk musicians use sticks, tapped on the ground, rhythmic grunts and a technique called oral-bassing which vocally imitates the sound of instruments. Some modern Roma musicians, like Ando Drom, Romani Rota and Kalyi Jag have added modern instruments like guitars to the Roma style, while Gyula Babos' Project Romani has used elements of avant-garde jazz.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

[edit] Hungarian music abroad

Main article: Music of Transylvania

Ethnic Hungarians live in parts of Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, the United States and elsewhere. Of these, the Hungarian population of Romania (both in the region of Transylvania and among the Csángó people) has had the most musical impact on Hungary itself. The Hungarian community in Slovakia has produced the rootsy band Ghymes, who play in the táncház tradition.<ref name="CEWtanchaz">Central Europe Review</ref> The Serbian region of Vojvodina is home to a large Hungarian minority; in this restive area, Hungarian music has been the target of attack by Serbian nationalists.<ref>Hungarian Human Rights Foundation</ref>

Transylvanian folk music remains vital part of life in modern Transylvania. Bartók and Kodály found Transylvania to be a fertile area for folk song collecting. Folk bands are usually a string trio, consisting of a violin, viola and double bass, occasionally with a cimbalom; the first violin, or primás, plays the melody, with the others accompanying and providing the rhythm.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> Transylvania is also the original home of the táncház tradition, which has since spread throughout Hungary.

[edit] Táncház

Main article: Táncház

Táncház (dance house) is a form of dance music which first appeared in the 1970s as a reaction against state-supported homogenized folk music. They have been described as a "cross between a barn dance and folk club", and generally begin with a slow tempo verbunkos or Lad's Dance, followed by swifter czárdás dances. Czárdás is a very popular Hungarian folk dance that comes in many regional varieties, and is characterized by changes in tempo. Táncház began with the folk song collecting of musicians like Béla Halmos and Ferenc Sebő, who collected rural instrumental and dance music for popular, urban consumption, along with the dance collectors György Martin and Sándor Timár. The most important rural source of these songs was Transylvania, which is actually in Romania but has a large ethnic Hungarian minority. The instrumentation of these bands, based on Transylvanian and sometimes the southern Slovak Hungarian communities, included a fiddle on lead with violin and bowed bass guitar, sometimes including a cimbalom as well.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

Many of the biggest names in modern Hungarian music emerged from the táncház scene, including Muzsikás and Márta Sebestyén. Other bands include Vujicsics, Jánosi, Téka and Kalamajka, while singers include Éva Fábián and András Berecz. Famous instruments include the fiddler Csaba Ökrös, cimbalomist Kálmán Balogh, violinist Félix Lajkó (from Subotica in Serbia) and multi-instrumentalist Mihály Dresch.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

[edit] Classical music

Hungary's most important contribution to the worldwide field of European classical music is probably Franz Liszt,<ref name="Cotton">Cotton</ref> a renowned pianist in his own time and a well-regarded composer of Hungarian Rhapsody and Les Preludes. Liszt was among the major composers during the late 19th century, a time when modern Hungarian classical music was in its formative stage. Along with Liszt and his French Romantic tendencies, Ferenc Erkel's Italian and French-style operas, with Hungarian words, and Mihaly Mosonyi's German classical style, helped set the stage for future music, and their influence is "unsurpassed even by their successors, because in addition to their individual abilities they bring about an unprecedented artistic intensification of the Romantic musical idiom, which is practically consumed by this extreme passion" <ref>Szabolcsi, The Instrumental Music of the Romantic Period: Liszt and Mosonyi: The Programme of Romanticism They are thus, all three of them, “occidentalists”, but the influence of their movement on Hungarian music is unsurpassed even by their successors, because in addition to their individual abilities they bring about an unprecedented artistic intensification of the Romantic musical idiom, which is practically consumed by this extreme passion.</ref>. Elements of Hungarian folk music, especially verbunkos, became an important elements of many composers, both Hungarians like Kalman Simonffy and foreign composers like Ludwig van Beethoven.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

George Szell, conductor

Hungary has also produced Karl Goldmark, composer of the Rustic Wedding Symphony, composer and pianist Ernő Dohnányi, composer and ethnomusicologist László Lajtha, and the piano composer Stephen Heller. A number of violinists from Hungary have also achieved international renown, especially Joseph Joachim, Jenő Hubay, Edward Reményi and Leopold Auer. Hungarian-born conductors include Antal Doráti, Eugene Ormandy, Fritz Reiner, George Szell and Georg Solti.<ref name="Cotton">Cotton</ref>

[edit] Hungarian opera

Main article: Hungarian opera

The origins of Hungarian opera can be traced to the late 18th century, with the rise of imported opera and other concert styles in cities like Pozsony, Kismarton, Nagyszeben and Budapest. Operas at the time were in either the German or Italian style. The field Hungarian opera began with school dramas and interpolations of German operas, which began at the end of the 18th century. School dramas in places like the Pauline School in Sátoraljaújhely, the Calvinist School in Csurgó and the Piarist School in Beszterce.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref>

Pozsony produced the first music drama experiments in the country, though the work of Gáspár Pacha and József Chudy; it was the latter's 1793 Prince Pikkó and Jutka Perzsi that is generally considered the first opera in a distinctively Hungarian style. The text of that piece was translated from Prinz Schnudi und Prinzessin Evakathel by Philipp Hafner. This style was still strongly informed by the Viennese Zauberposse style of comedic play, and remained thusly throughout the 19th century. Though these operas used foreign styles, the "idyllic, lyric and heroic" parts of the story were always based on verbunkos, which was becoming a symbol of the Hungarian nation during this time.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> It was not until the middle of the 19th century that Ferenc Erkel wrote the first Hungarian language opera, using French and Italian models, thus launching the field of Hungarian opera.<ref name="Sisa">Sisa</ref>

[edit] Bartók and Kodály

Main articles: Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály

At the end of the 19th century, Hungarian music was dominated by compositions in the German classical style, while Viennese-style operettas gained immensely in popularity. This ended beginning in about 1905, when Endre Ady's poems were published, composer Béla Bartók was published for the first time, and Zoltán Kodály began collecting folk songs. Bartók and Kodály were two exceptional composers who created a distinctively Hungarian style. Bartók collected songs across Eastern Europe, though much of his activity was in Hungary, and he used their elements in his music. He was interested in all forms of folk music, while Kodály was more specifically Hungarian in his outlook. In contrast to previous composers who worked with Hungarian idioms, Kodály and Bartók did not conflate Roma and ethnic Hungarian music, specifically seeking out the latter at the expense of the former. Their work was a watershed that incorporated "every great tradition of the Hungarian people" and influenced all the later composers of the country <ref>Szabolcsi, New Hungarian Music Their art was not popular art. It was more than that. It was an individual avowal related to the most profound characteristics of their people, an extensive expression of creative forces. These expressions were, as a matter of course, related to every great historical tradition of the Hungarian people.</ref>.

[edit] Later 20th century

For the first half of the 20th century, Bartók and Kodály were potent symbols for a generation of composers, especially Kodály. Starting in about 1947, a revival in folk choir music began, ended as an honest force by 1950, when state-run art became dominant with the rise of Communism. Under Communism, "(c)ommitment and ideological affiliation (were) measured by the musical style of a composer; the ignominious adjectives 'formalistic' and 'cosmopolitan' gain currency... (and the proper Hungarian style was) identified with the major mode, the classical aria, rondo or sonata form, the chord sequences distilled" from Kodály's works. Music was uniformly festive and optimistic, with every deviation arousing suspicion; this simplicity led to a lack of popular support from the public, who did not identify with the sterile approved styles. The most prominent composers of this period were Endre Szervánszky and Lajos Bárdos <ref>Kroó, György The ideal of popular art is from 1949 gradually replaced by state art, the practice of a controlled and administratively directed musical life. Commitment and ideological affiliation are measured by the musical style of a composer; the ignominious adjectives “formalistic” and “cosmopolitan” gain currency. That the progressive musical style is identified with the major mode, the classical aria, rondo or sonata form, the chord sequences distilled from Kodály works and proclamatory composition becomes exalted into an unwritten law.</ref>

Beginning in about 1955, a new wave of composers appeared, inspired by Bartók and breathing new life into Hungarian music. Composers from this era included Ferenc Szabó, Endre Szervánszky, Pál Kadosa, Ferenc Farkas and György Ránki. These composers both brought back old techniques of Hungarian music, as well as adapting imported avant-garde and modernist elements of Western classical music.<ref>Kroó, György</ref> The foundation of the New Music Studio in 1970 helped further modernize Hungarian classical music though promoting composers that felt audience education was as important a consideration as artistic merit in composition and performance; these Studio's well-known composers include László Vidovszky, Barnabás Dukay and Zoltán Jeney.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

[edit] Popular music

Hungarian popular music in the early 20th century consisted of light operettas and the Roma music of various styles. Nagymező utca, the "Broadway of Budapest", was a major center for popular music, and boasted enough nightclubs and theaters to earn its nickname. In 1945, however, this era abruptly ended and popular music was mostly synonymous with the patriotic songs imposed by the Russian Communists. Some operettas were still performed, though infrequently, and any music with Western influences was seen as harmful and dangerous.<ref name="CEWtanchaz">Central Europe Review</ref> In 1956, however, liberalization began with the "three Ts" (tűrés, tiltás, támogatás, meaningtoleration, prohibition, support), and a long period of cultural struggle began, starting with a battle over African American jazz.<ref name="CEWtanchaz">Central Europe Review</ref> Jazz became a part of Hungarian music in the early 20th century, but did not achieve widespread renown until the 1970s, when Hungary began producing internationally known performers like the Benko Dixieland Band and Bela Szakcsi Lakatos.<ref name-"Ministry">Brief History of Music in Hungary (pdf)</ref>

[edit] Rock

Main article: Hungarian rock

Rock and roll was an originally African American style that was later appropriated by white musicians in the United States, United Kingdom and across much of the world. In the early 1960s, Hungarian youths began listening to rock in droves, in spite of condemnation from the authorities. Three bands dominated the scene by the beginning of the 1970s, Illés, Metró and Omega, all three of which had released at least one album. A few other bands recorded a few singles, but the Record-Producing Company, a state-run record label, did not promote or support these bands, which quickly disappeared.<ref name="CEWrock">Central Europe Review: Rock</ref>

In 1968, the New Economic Mechanism was introduced, intending on revitalizing the Hungarian economy, while the band Illés won almost every prize at the prestigious Táncdal Fesztivál. In the 70s, however, the Russians cracked down on subversives in Hungary, and rock was a major target. The band Illés was banned from performing and recording, while Metró and Omega left. Some of the members of these bands formed a supergroup, Locomotiv GT, that quickly became very famous. The remaining members of Omega, meanwhile, succeeded in achieving stardom in Germany, and remained very popular for a time.<ref name="CEWrock">Central Europe Review: Rock</ref>

Rock bands in the late 1970s had to conform to the Record Company's demands and ensure that all songs passed the inspection of the Song Committee, who scoured all songs looking for ideological disobedience. LGT was the most prominent band of a classic rock style that was very popular, along with Illés, Bergendy and Zorán, while there were other bands like The Sweet and Middle of the Road who catered to the desires of the Song Committee, producing rock-based pop music without a hint of subversion. Meanwhile, the disco style of electronic music produced such performers as the officially-sanctioned Neoton Familia, and Beatrice and Szűcs Judit, while the more critically acclaimed progressive rock scene produced bands like East, V73, Color and Panta Rhei.<ref name="CEWrock">Central Europe Review: Rock</ref>

In the early 1980s, economic and cultural depression wracked Hungary, leading to a wave of disillusioned and alienated youth, exactly the people that rock, and the burgeoning worldwide field of punk rock, spoke to the most. Major bands from this era included Beatrice, who had moved from disco to punk and folk-influenced rock and were known for their splashy, uncensored and theatrical performances, P. Mobil, Hobo Blues Band, a bluesy duo, Bizottság and Edda művek.<ref name="CEWrock">Central Europe Review: Rock</ref>

The 1980s saw the Record Production Company broken up because Hungary's authorities realized that restricting rock was not effective in reducing its effect; they instead tried to water it down by encouraging young musicians to sing about the principles of Communism and obedience. The early part of the decade saw the arrive of punk and New Wave music in full force, and the authorities quickly incorporated those styles as well. The first major prison sentences for rock-related subversion were given out, with the members of the punk band CPg sentenced to two years for political incitement.<ref name="CEWrock">Central Europe Review: Rock</ref>

By the end of the decade and into the 1990s, internal problems made it impossible for the Hungarian government to counter the activities of rock and other musical groups. After the collapse of the Communist government, the Hungarian scene become more and more like the styles played in the rest of Europe.<ref name="CEWrock">Central Europe Review: Rock</ref>

[edit] Festivals, venues and other institutions

Budapest, the capital and music center of Hungary,<ref name="Cotton">Cotton</ref> is one of the best places to go in Hungary to hear "really good folk music", says world music author Simon Broughton. The city is home to an annual folk festival called Táncháztalálkozó (Meeting of the Dance Houses), which is a major part of the modern music scene.<ref name="Broughton">Broughton, pgs. 159 - 167</ref> The Sziget Festival, held annually in July or August, is one of Europe's largest cultural festival with wide range of musical performances. Long-standing venues in Budapest include the Philharmonic Society (founded 1853), the Opera House of Budapest (founded 1884) the Academy of Music, which opened in 1875 with President Franz Liszt and Director Ferenc Erkel and which has remained the center for music education in the country since.<ref name="Szabolcsi">Szabolcsi</ref>

The Hungarian Ministry of Culture helps to fund some forms of music, as does the government-run National Cultural Fund. Non-profit organizations in Hungary include the Hungarian Jazz Alliance and the Hungarian Music Council.<ref>On the Globe</ref>

Music of Central Europe

Austria - Czech Republic - Germany - Hungary - Liechtenstein - Poland - Slovakia - Slovenia - Switzerland

Finno-Ugric music

Estonia - Finland (Karelia - Lapland) - Hungary - Khantia-Mansia - Komi Republic - Mari El - Mordovia - Nenetsia - Udmurtia

[edit] References

[edit] Notes


[edit] Further reading

  • Bartók, Béla (1981). Hungarian Folk Music. Ams Pr. ISBN 0-404-16600-8.
  • Dobszay, László (1993). A History of Hungarian Music. Corvina. ISBN 963-13-3498-8.
  • Káldy, Gyula (1902). History of Hungarian Music. Reprint Services Corp. ISBN 0-7812-0246-9.
  • Kodály, Zoltán (1960). Folk Music of Hungary. Barrie and Rockliff.
  • Sárosi, Bálint (1986). Folk Music: Hungarian Musical Idiom. Corvina. ISBN 963-13-2220-3.
  • Szitha, Tünde (2000). A magyar zene századai (The Centuries of the Hungarian Music). Magus Kiado. ISBN 963-8278-68-4.

[edit] External links

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