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Béla Bartók

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  • Born: Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary
  • Died: New York, NY
  • Years Active: 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was a Hungarian composer, pianist, ethnomusicologist, and teacher whose impact on modern music was immense. Developing a personal style from the influences of Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy, the young Bartók wrote music of a strongly chromatic, richly harmonic, and intensely lyrical nature. In time, through collecting the indigenous music of Hungary and surrounding countries, Bartók expanded his musical vocabulary to include folk rhythms, melodies, and modes, and composed works imbued with a pronounced Eastern European flavor. He is best known for his six string quartets, the Concerto for orchestra, and Music for strings, percussion, and celesta.

eMusic Features


Smithsonian and Folkways: From Latin America to the Cosmos

By Richard Gehr, Contributor

According to Harold Courlander, when the ethnomusicologist asked Folkways Records founder Moses Asch sometime in the mid 40s if he'd like to release field recordings Courlander had made in Haiti, Asch replied, "I'd be crazy not to." That decision led to Courlander and Asch collaborating on what would become the Ethnic Folkways Library, a voluminous catalog of international music Asch hoped would comprise nothing less than "an encyclopedia of world sound." In his handsomely illustrated and… more »