Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Peter Amstutz

Committee Co-Chair

Cynthia Anderson

Committee Member

John Goldwasser

Committee Member

William Haller

Committee Member

James Miltenberger


This paper begins by discussing Hungarian folk music, clarifying the difference between folk and art music. There is also a distinction to make between Hungarian peasant music, with its historical origins and five-tone scale, and Gypsy music, with its Oriental scales that played a major role in Liszt's music. Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly are the two leading researchers who studied Hungarian musical folklore. The contributions of those two composers, along with those of Liszt and Dohnanyi, are discussed in individual chapters, with emphasis on selected works. Many composers intended to write in Hungarian style; but Liszt created his own "Hungarian" style in the Rhapsodies, which are primarily influenced by Gypsy style. The sounds of Hungarian instruments play an important role in Liszt's music; for example, evocations of the cimbalom appear in many of his works. The structure, ornamentation, and rhythm of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 are discussed. Dohnanyi also made important contributions to Hungarian music. His heritage is on display in the Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song, Op. 29. Bartok was hugely important as an ethnomusicologist, composer and also pianist. Three of his solo piano works are discussed: Romanian Folk Dances , Three Hungarian Folk Songs from Csik , and Sonatina. His compositional style evolved over time, but he still incorporated folk music in the Piano Concerto No. 3 . Like Bartok, Kodaly was both a researcher and also a composer. His Dances of Marosszek provide an idiomatically Hungarian portrait. The concluding chapter briefly compares the ways these four composers incorporated Hungarian elements in their music.