Bela Bartok, ethnomusicology, Hungary, folk music, ethnic music


Béla Bartók birthed the field of ethnomusicology as an academic discipline through his tireless pursuits of folk music, his exposition of the sound of the rural people, and his incorporation of folk-style into his own personal compositions. His work revealed to the world that folk music exists, is important, and stands as an independent academic discipline. I argue that Bartók’s efforts established the field of ethnomusicology because he was one of the first musicians to branch into the study of ethnic music by travelling to collect samples of music, by aurally recording and transcribing folk-tunes, by re-writing these songs into understandable notation with new harmonization, and by then employing this folk-style in his own original compositions. His academic work re-shaped the music of his generation and opened a new field of study to the Western world.



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