Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music


Kevin McMillan

John Peterson

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy


The history of Hungarian music and the Hungarian nation is a long and complicated one. Conquered by many different empires throughout history, Hungary faced challenges in maintaining its unique music and cultural heritage. Despite Hungary’s tumultuous changes of governance, its folksongs have evolved and flourished. Through the efforts of people such as Zoltán Kodály, Béla Bartók, and Lászlo Dobszay, these folksongs have been collected, studied, and categorized. Kodály, an accomplished musician whose research and music education philosophy can sometimes overshadow his compositional prowess, also composed folksong arrangements which embody the true nature of Hungarian music. These arrangements can be used as a departure point for Hungarian folk music to be explored and shared in a concert setting.

The purpose of this document is to create a performer’s guide to selected folksong arrangements of Zoltán Kodály. The document is an analysis of five Kodály folksong arrangements through four different lenses; (a) a theoretical analysis of the musical structure of each song with an emphasis on the musical elements which help define the essence of Hungarian music; (b) an historical analysis of the period in which these songs were arranged and its influence on the arrangements; (c) a pronunciation analysis which defines the essential elements of Hungarian lyric diction; and, (d) a musico-poetic analysis of each of the five songs to aid performers in understanding the stories, characters, and traditions which are portrayed by each folksong arrangement. Appendices with poetic translations and IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) transcriptions, as well as suggestions for further research are provided.



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