Tag Archives: Zoltán Kodály

Zoltán Kodály, ethnomusicologist


The arc of Kodály’s career as an ethnomusicologist appears to have been a consciously, even artistically, designed path.

In the early 20th century he traveled the Hungarian countryside along with Béla Bartók to document and research Hungarian musical traditions; both composers were influenced tremendously by this pursuit.

After World War II, the focus of Kodály’s ethnomusicological activities was the publication of A magyar népzene tára/Corpus musicae popularis Hungaricae, the critical edition of all Hungarian traditional music. For this undertaking he established the first scientific research group for ethnomusicology in Hungary, the Népzenekutató Csoport, which served as a workshop for the modern Hungarian school of ethnomusicologists.

This according to Kodály, a népzenekutató és tudományos műhelye by Olga Szalay (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2004).

Today is Kodály’s 130th birthday! Below, a flash mob performance of his setting of Esti dal, a traditional song that he collected in northern Hungary in 1922.

Related article: Kodály and somatic eruption

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Ethnomusicology, Europe

Kodály and somatic eruption

There are various basic orientations, persuasions, and biases underlying specific uses of metaphors of somatic eruption. An alternative reading of body fluids as metaphoric sites of festive critique in subversively humorous discourse and art differs from more prevalent psychoanalytic interpretations.

The most appropriate musical example in this context is Kodály’s 1926 Háry János, in particular the opening sneeze.

This according to “Explosions in visual art, literature, and music” by Suzanne De Villiers-Human, an essay included in Critical theories symposium (International review of the aesthetics and sociology of music XXXVI/1 [June 2005] pp. 179–197).

Below, the celebrated sneeze depiction, which introduces both the opera and the suite derived from it.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Humor, Science