Folksong arrangements hold a significant place in the oeuvre of Béla Bartók (1881–1945): more than a third of his compositions are folksong arrangements or contain movements based on folk music material. Moreover, the genre is not confined to certain style periods; it is present throughout Bartók’s career.

This website presents the folk music sources of all of Bartók’s works based on genuine folk melodies. Drawing upon data published in Folk Music in Bartók’s Compositions by Vera Lampert (Budapest: Helikon, 2008) and in the volumes of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition (Munich and Budapest: G. Henle Verlag and Editio Musica Budapest, launched in 2016), and also benefiting from facilities of a digital publication, it provides these data in a way that allows multi-criteria advanced search, and it presents all available folk music sources (sound recordings and transcriptions).

It includes the following:

  • Introduction: Vera Lampert’s essay on the sources of Bartók’s arrangements of folk music
  • Browse Bartók’s arrangements of folk music according to genres, works, and movements. Here you can find for each arrangement the folk music sources (both acoustic and written), an excerpt from the arrangement’s sound recording and score, a music example that allows comparison of the original folk music transcriptions and the version(s) used in the arrangement, and the words of vocal works.
  • Search for data of either Bartók’s works or the folk melodies used in them
  • an online Map with markings for the provenances of all folk melodies used by Bartók
  • Sources and Abbreviations explains the terms and abbreviations used in the captions of folk music sources

ATTENTION! This website is in preparation. Currently it includes data for the following works only:

Vocal works:

  • Two Romanian Folk Songs for women’s voices (BB 57)
  • Four Old Hungarian Folk Songs for men’s voices (BB 60)
  • Four Slovak Folk Songs for mixed voices and piano accompaniment (BB 77)
  • Slovak Folk Songs for four-part men’s chorus (BB 78)
  • Hungarian Folk Songs for mixed voices (BB 99)
  • Székely Folk Songs for men’s voices (BB 106)

Piano works:

  • For Children (BB 53)
  • Romanian Christmas Songs (BB 67)
  • Romanian Folk Dances (BB 68)
  • Sonatina (BB 69)
  • Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs (BB 79)
  • Three Hungarian Folk Tunes (BB 80b)
  • Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, op. 20 (BB 83)

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Copyrighted materials are included in this website by kind permission of the following institutions and persons:

  • Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute for Musicology, Budapest (transcriptions from the Bartók and Kodály Systems)
  • Budapest Museum of Ethnography (sound recordings abbreviated MH and transcriptions abbreviated MMS)
  • Kodály Zoltán Archives, Budapest (transcriptions abbreviated RMS)
  • Gábor Vásárhelyi (transcriptions abbreviated BH)
  • Peter Bartók (transcriptions abbreviated BSC)
  • Vera Lampert (Introduction)
  • Fotexnet Ltd. (recordings of Bartók’s works)
  • Universal Music Hungary Ltd. (recordings of Bartók’s works)
  • BMC Records (recordings of Bartók’s works)
  • G. Henle Verlag and Editio Musica Budapest Zeneműkiadó Ltd. (score excerpts from the Bartók Complete Critical Edition)